Eighth-inning rally helps Blue Raiders defeat Bruins 6-4

Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor

MTSU defeated the Belmont Bruins this afternoon in Nashville by a score of 6-4.

The Raiders’ eighth-inning rally proved to be too much for the Bruin’s as they were not able to claw their way back in their half of the eighth or the ninth.

MTSU was led at the plate by Austin Dennis who went 3-for-5 and knocked in the first two runs of the game for either team in the third inning, dropping a single into left field to plate Brad Jarreau and Blake Benefield.

Starting pitcher Grant Williams went for 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and striking out two.  Williams made it into the fifth inning before he allowed a run. Belmont’s Tyler Walsh hit a two-run home run that brought the Bruins to within one.

Will Small and Austin Dennis combined to shut the door on the Bruins.  Small went for three innings out of the bullpen and gave up just two hits on the day to earn the win for MTSU.  Dennis came on with two down in the ninth and runners on first and third and struck out Belmont catcher Chas Hadden to end the ballgame.

Benefield and Antonini’s eighth inning RBI’s give Raiders lead for good

The Raiders came into the eighth inning with the score tied at four and were able to produce two runs that ended up giving them the 6-4 lead which ultimately won them the game.

Benefield stepped up to the plate with two runners on base and hit a groundball to third that scored Manuel Lopez and moved Ryan Kemp over to third.

On the next at-bat, catcher Aaron Antonini picked up his second RBI of the night on a single through the right side of the Bruin infield that scored Kemp to give MT a 6-4 lead.  The two RBI’s were a career-high for the freshman Antonini.

New Lineup works well for Raiders

Head coach Jim McGuire shifted the MTSU batting lineup around tonight after the Raiders’ offense was dormant over the past weekend.

Senior Jarreau hit out of the leadoff spot Tuesday and didn’t disappoint.  He was able to go 2-for-5 while knocking in a run in the top of the sixth inning that scored designated hitter Manuel Lopez to give the Raiders a 4-2 lead.  Jarreau also scored a run of his own in the third after a Dennis two-RBI single.

Dennis was hitting out of the number two hole and went 3-for-5 on the day, including the two-RBI double he hit in the third and two singles in the first and ninth innings.

Riley Delgado and Drew Huff were the three and four hitters and they took nicely to their new spots in the order.  Delgado went 1-for-4 today with a single in the ninth to continue his hot hitting and Huff collected a single to his credit in a 1-for-4 day as well.

Benefield and Antonini rounded out the MTSU order, batting eighth and ninth respectively, by going for a combined 3-for-7 with three RBI’s and a run scored.  The move may prove to help both of these players get out of the rut they have been in at the plate these past few games.

Box Score

What’s Next?

The Raiders return home Wednesday for a game against the Austin Peay State Governors at 6 p.m. before they travel to Marshall for a three-game weekend series.

Follow MTSU Baseball beat writers Anthony Fiorella (@A_Fiorella74), Ryan Nixon (@RNixon32), and Stephen Smith (@StEvo_Shield) on Twitter for more coverage.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact Sports Editor Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35), email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

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