Middle Tennessee baseball falls in rain-delayed affair with Vanderbilt

Photo by Darwin Moore / MTSU Sidelines

Middle Tennessee State (19-18, 7-8) fell to the #27 Vanderbilt Commodores (23-15, 7-8)  by a score of 21-2 at home tonight after a rain delay that pushed the first pitch back an hour and 15 minutes.

The game had a lot of festivities for True Blue day on campus.

Coming into the night, MTSU men’s basketball guard Giddy Potts was scheduled to throw out the first pitch, but didn’t due to the delayed start. However, the men’s basketball team did make an appearance at the ballpark, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans as they filed into Reese Smith field.  There were also a number of local little league teams that took the field with the Raiders before the game as well.

Vanderbilt jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after the third inning and never looked back. The sequence was highlighted by a one out grand slam from Commodore first baseman Julian Infante.

MTSU erased the shutout in the bottom of the fourth inning after right fielder Austin Dennis’ RBI single brought home second baseman Ryan Kemp, who doubled to start the inning.

Aaron Aucker hit his seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning.  The solo shot was the Raider’s second run of the night and their 32nd home run as a club this season.

A total of 46 players got into the game tonight on both sides (25 for MTSU, 21 for Vanderbilt).

“I think [the rain delay] may have played a factor into affecting [starter] Grant [Williams] because he was warm and then we went back to the clubhouse ten minutes before [the original start time],” Coach Jim McGuire said.  “You have to find a way to move on and put things to the side, and get ready for Charlotte.”

 Big hits and walks doom Raiders

Vanderbilt took advantage of the amount of base runners they had tonight, efficiently scoring 21 runs off of 21 hits.  They were very patient at the plate as well and took advantage of the Blue Raider pitching staff’s inability to throw very many strikes tonight, walking ten times.  The Commodores forced Middle Tennessee to use ten pitchers.

The first big blow was Infante’s second inning grand slam with one down that opened the score up to 7-0 after just 1.1 innings.

In the third inning, designated hitter Reid Hayes connected for a three RBI triple that made the score 13-0 after just 2.1 innings.

Vanderbilt had another big inning in the eighth, as they collected five runs.  The biggest blow of the inning was a two RBI double from Hayes for his sixth RBI of the game.

Box Score

What’s Next?

Middle Tennessee’s overall season record still rest’s above .500 at 19-18, heading into their road weekend series with conference foe UNC-Charlotte. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m., Saturday’s at 1 p.m. and Sunday’s at 12 p.m.

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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