Photo Courtesy: Brent Beerends // MT Athletic Communications
In a game that took three ties, four lead changes, a 49-minute rain delay, and a 48-minute rain delay to determine a winner, third baseman Austin Sistrunk had the last word, driving in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Sistrunk singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Kevin Dupree. Sistrunk finished Tuesday 2-for-5 with three RBI, en rout to Middle Tennessee’s (3-1) 9-6 win over the Lipscomb Bison (2-2).
“I’m very proud of what they did,”head coach Jim McGuire said. ” They should a lot of toughness and a lot of grit. It’s difficult to play under those conditions, the way the weather was and the way the field was starting to become. It was getting wetter and wetter as it went… I’m really proud of the toughness we showed. ”
“We’re just resilient,” Sistrunk said. “We’re a pack of dirtbags. If they’re going to mess up, we’re going to make them pay for it.”
Sophomore second baseman Kevin Sullivan recorded his first hit of the season, after being blanked in 10 at-bats against Big Ten power Indiana.
Sullivan finished 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk and two runs scored, while Chaz Vesser went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“I was very, very excited,” McGuire said with a smile on his face. “I’m very happy for him. He works very hard and he takes it very personal. He did not have a good weekend at all, but was much much better tonight. The ball that he drove into left-center, once he can start doing that, I know he’s where he needs to be.”
Sullivan got the scoring started for the Blue Raiders in the bottom of the second inning, singling to shortstop.
The ball kicked off of short stop Hunter Hanks’ glove and went into left field, allowing Kaleb King to score easily from second. King finished 2-for-4 and two runs scored.
Jake Wyrick gave up two hits and two earned runs, striking out four in three innings of work in his first start of the 2016 season.
The Blue Raiders pitching staff had a conference-worst 5.12 ERA in 2015, and the Middle Tennessee bullpen continued their lack of reliance in relief of Wyrick Tuesday evening.
Sam Alton and Cody Puckett gave up a combined four earned runs, giving up the lead twice against Lipscomb.
However, after two rain delays, A.J. Spencer blanked the Bison in the eighth and ninth inning, not allowing a hit and striking out three batters to get the two-inning save.
“The bullpen is going to be the key to our success. I like the starters we have, but it’s going to be the bullpen and the depth that’s going to make the difference,” McGuire said.
Middle Tennessee looks for their fourth-straight win on Friday afternoon against Army West Point (1-3) at 3 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
To contact Sports Editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org.