Sunday, October 1, 2023

Baseball: Superb pitching paves way to 9-0 Blue Raider victory


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Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (9-8) traveled to Clarksville, Tennessee, to take on in-state foe Austin Peay State University on Tuesday night. Thanks to a dominant pitching performance, the Raiders handed the Governors a 9-0 loss in one of the best all-around efforts of the year for MTSU.

Offense breaks out early

The Blue Raiders used a huge first inning to snatch all the momentum from Austin Peay. Junior Blake Benefield and senior Aaron Aucker set the tone for the day by hitting back-to-back doubles that scored three runs for an early lead.

Freshman Jake Hagenow also had a solid day at the plate, as he ripped a two-run single to extend the Raiders’ lead to 6-0 in the first.

Junior Brett Stratinsky posted a breakout day as well, hitting a two-run home run, his first of the season, to increase the Middle Tennessee lead to 8-0 in the fifth inning.

The entire lineup was successful, as every starter recorded at least one hit, and four managed to get two hits. This led to the increased run production, which also took some pressure off of the pitching staff as well.

If the Blue Raiders use this game as a template for how to approach future matchups, they could go on a long winning streak to start conference play.

Williams dominates over six shutout innings

Sophomore Grant Williams (2-1) enjoyed another dominating performance on the mound. He posted his second consecutive six-inning game without allowing a run in the winning effort.

Williams also struck out six batters in six innings and currently owns a phenomenal 1.23 ERA on the year. The biggest negative was his control, as he walked five batters. None of them came around to score however, and he earned his second win of the year behind a great effort.

The rest of the rotation also threw three scoreless innings. Tyler Holcombe, Scheldon Paulk and Zach Keenan combined to throw the final three innings.

What’s next?

The Raiders will travel this weekend to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to take on conference rivals, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. This will be the first series of conference play for the Blue Raiders to start the season.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email

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

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