Photo by Meagan White // Staff Photographer
After upsetting the No. 2 team in the country in Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament, Middle Tennessee beat No. 5 Vanderbilt in baseball just five days later, upsetting two top five programs in the same week for the first time in school history.
MTSU (12-9) rallied Tuesday night against mid-state foe No. 5 Vanderbilt (17-4), winning 7-4 and beating the Commodores for the first time since March 20, 2013 when they were ranked No. 2 in the country.
On a night MTSU left 10 runners on base, they still managed to score seven-straight down the stretch.
The Blue Raiders didn’t get on the board until the fourth inning, coming from an Austin Norrell groundout and plating Aaron Aucker from third base.
After Riley Delgado scored on a wild pitch, Austin Aucker drove in Brad Jarreau and Austin Dennis on his first triple of the season tying the game at four.
“I was kind of sitting off speed,” said Aucker. “I just figured with the bases loaded he was going to be throwing something like that. I got a curve ball up and away and just took it down the right field line.”
Aucker finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
MTSU took their first lead moments later on a fielder’s choice and an error that plated Aucker and allowed Kevin Dupree to advance to second.
In the seventh inning, in a time where Vanderbilt needed to halt the pace of MTSU, they allowed three straight errors. This seemed to be the demise of the ‘Dores as the Blue Raiders would again score on an error by third baseman Will Toffey.
Vanderbilt uncharacteristically recorded six errors in Tuesday’s loss.
Relief pitcher A.J. Spencer picked up his third career win in terrific fashion. After MTSU came up four runs through four innings, Spencer ceased scoring altogether with three shutout innings on no hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
“I don’t feel like I’ve pitched my best my last couple of outings,” Spencer said. “So really coming out here and doing this good against a team of this quality, this high ranked up, is really a confidence booster.”
Cody Puckett came in the last inning to record his third save of the season, capping off a great second half pitching duo.
“They did a great job,” said Riley Delgado. “A.J. [Spencer] came in and shut the door and then Cody [Puckett] just came in and did his job. We needed the pitchers and they did their job. You can’t ask for much more.”
MTSU heads to Bowling Green for a three game road stint with Western Kentucky, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. CT.
To contact Sports Editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.