Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (11-14, 1-5) won their second straight game Wednesday night, beating the Austin Peay Governors by a final score of 3-2 at home at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
The Raiders were paced by three home runs and solid starting pitching to hang on to the win.
The game was scoreless into the bottom of the third inning until Brad Jarreau hit his first home run of the night, giving MTSU a 1-0 lead.
Starting pitcher A.J. Spencer held APSU scoreless throughout his first five innings, while Carson Lester and Blake Stansberry held the Governors at bay through the seventh.
The game got tense in the eighth inning when Austin Peay’s Alex Robles hit an RBI triple to cut Middle Tennessee’s lead to 3-1. Tanner McDivitt limited the damage to two runs however, by inducing two fly-outs.
Drew Huff entered the game for the save in the ninth. The Governor’s got a runner on first base with one down when APSU left-fielder Cayce Bredlau hit a long fly ball to left field. Blake Benefield ran the ball down and hit the cutoff man, Ryan Kemp, who got the ball back to first baseman Kaleb King to double off APSU’s Imani Willis and win the ballgame.
Head coach Jim McGuire was proud of the power his team exhibited in the win.
“We haven’t hit many home runs,” McGuire said. “A solo home run won’t beat [teams], but if you hit three, it helps.”
McGuire went on to state that his “experiment” at the top of the lineup has helped Jarreau, as it did tonight.
“I think it helps Brad,” McGuire said. “Brad was our leadoff hitter two years ago when he was all Conference-USA.”
Spencer provides another solid start for MTSU
Coach Jim McGuire sent Spencer to the mound for the Raiders tonight, and he continued the string of solid starting pitching over the last few games for the team.
Spencer went five innings and produced a two-hit shutout while also striking out three Governors. This was the longest outing of the year for Spencer, as he also set a new season high for strikeouts.
The outing helped the Raiders get back-to-back wins for the first time since March 1o when they won their third game in a row in a matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers.
“It [felt good to get back on track],” Spencer said. “Last year I hit and pitched, and this year I haven’t done as well on the mound, but I wanted to give my team a chance to win against a really good hitting team.”
Raiders rely on long ball in win
The Blue Raiders hit a season-high three home runs tonight, all off of Austin Peay starter Josh Rye.
The first came in the third inning courtesy of Jarreau to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead. Jarreau pulled the ball over the left field fence and into the Floyd Stadium concourse for the Raiders first run and hit of the night.
In the fifth inning, Ryan Kemp recorded his first career home run to left field near the Lee Victory Wall of Champions to make it a 2-0 game. The second baseman also had a couple of long fly outs and exhibited some pop in his at-bats, going 1-for-3.
Three at-bats later, Jarreau hit his second home run of the night over the Sam’s Sports Grill billboard out in centerfield to extend the Raider lead to three. Jarreau’s two-home run night was the first of the season for him and puts the senior just one shy of his total from last season. Wednesday was also Jerreau’s first multi-home run game of his career.
He struck out on his first at-bat of the game on a questionable call, but certainly turned things around in his next two at-bats.
“In my first at-bat I [struck out looking] and knew what they were going to do to me,”Jarreau said. “The next at bat I waited on a fastball in and wasn’t going to swing until I got it, and when they threw it, I hit it.”
Final Box Score for MTSU’s dramatic win over APSU pic.twitter.com/n0ab8fTFV0
— Anthony Fiorella (@A_Fiorella74) March 30, 2017
The Raiders will travel to West Virginia to take on Conference USA foe Marshall in a three-game weekend series. First pitch Friday and Saturday are set for a 5 p.m. while Sunday’s game is set to start at noon.