Sunday, October 1, 2023

Blue Raiders sweep doubleheader, win series against Indiana


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Photo by Brent Beerends | MT Athletics

Game 1: MTSU 3, Indiana 2

Middle Tennessee (1-1) walked off against Indiana (1-1) in the bottom of the 11th inning, thanks to a questionable call by the umpire on Austin Dennis’ slide into third base.

The freshman finished 2-for-5, scoring two of the Blue Raiders’ three runs in the first game.

The Blue Raiders only tallied four hits from the sixth through the 10th inning, until the Dennis singled in the bottom of the 11th.

The umpire called Dennis safe at third base on Austin Sistrunk’s liner into center field, giving Middle Tennessee a much-needed break.

The next at bat, Indiana’s third baseman Brian Wilhite fielded Kaleb King’s ground ball and fired wide right of home plate, allowing Dennis to score easily.

The Blue Raiders were held scoreless through four innings until Dennis broke through on a Chaz Vesser dribbler back to the mound.

Tyler Troutt kept the Hoosiers at bay, only allowing one run and three hits in five and a third innings.

Kevin Dupree almost cost the Blue Raiders the game. Dupree’s first-inning error allowed the Hoosiers to take an early 1-0 lead, but the Blue Raiders were able to battle back to take the 3-2 decision in extras.

Game 2: MTSU 5, Indiana 4

Middle Tennessee (2-1) took advantage of Indiana’s (1-2) extra inning errors to sweep the doubleheader, winning both games in walk-off fashion.

The Blue Raiders had the bases load with one out in the bottom of the tenth. Kevin Dupree made up for his struggles in game one, scoring the game-winning run on an error following an Andrew Cash ground ball.

Dupree had a monster second game, hitting a two-run blast well over the left field shrubbery, tying things at three apiece in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“You saw what [Dupree] is capable of. He struggled this weekend, but then there at the end you could he’s starting to it going a little bit,”head coach Jim McGuire said. “He’s going to be important [to our offensive success].”

The Hoosiers jumped on Reid Clements early, hitting two home runs in the top of the second inning. It looked like a repeat of Friday’s 14-4 loss was in the works for Middle Tennessee.

“I’m extremely proud of how we came out and battled the entire day, after last night… The mission of the day was to play one inning at a time,” McGuire said.

The Blue Raiders were held hitless through four-plus innings until designated hitter Drew Huff tripled in the bottom of the fifth.

Vaughn Shapen blooped one in between three Indiana players in left-center field to score Huff and get the Blue Raiders on the board, trailing 3-1.

True freshman Austin Dennis had a great first collegiate series, batting .500 over the weekend series.

“I didn’t expect to come in and [bat .500]… When you play 21 innings, you zone out a little bit,” Dennis said after the game. “You just gotta keep focused and do your best to know what’s going,”

Middle Tennessee takes on Lipscomb (1-1) at home on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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