Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines
On Wednesday night, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (12-9) traveled to Nashville to take on in-state opponent Lipscomb (9-12) in a marathon match that ran into the tenth inning. It may have taken that extra frame, but Middle Tennessee came away with an 8-7 victory thanks to timely offense and excellent relief pitching.
Pitching starts off rough, smooths out with relievers
Starting on the mound for the Raiders was sophomore Grant Williams, who was coming off of back-to-back shutout performances against Memphis and Austin Peay.
He couldn’t repeat this success however, as he gave up five runs in one inning of action. Williams also struggled with command, as he walked three batters in the first.
Junior Carter Bair relieved Williams, and showed dominance in his 5.1 innings on the mound. Bair pitched a shutout with only two hits and five strikeouts in his time on the bump. His scoreless innings allowed the Raiders’ offense to bounce back and whittle down Lipscomb’s lead.
Junior Drew Huff also saw time on the mound, and earned the win by throwing two innings without allowing a score.
Blue Raider offense overcomes early deficit
With the score 5-0 in favor of Lipscomb after the first inning, MTSU faced a seemingly insurmountable task to come back and win.
Fortunately, they were up for the task and managed to deliver when needed. Middle Tennessee scored in the second and third innings to cut Lipscomb’s lead down to 5-3.
The Blue Raiders took their first lead of the game in the fifth after a three-run inning to go up 6-5. This was highlighted by a two-run single from Huff to take the lead.
However, MTSU couldn’t hold the lead and after the Bison tied the game at 7 in the ninth inning, the game went to the decisive extra innings.
This allowed Antonini to score and give the Raiders the 8-7 victory over the Bison. It was only the third time this season that the Raiders claimed a win after their opponent scored first.
The Raiders will have a few days off before their next series at home against conference foe Charlotte. The 49ers won last season’s series 3-0, so Blue Raider fans can expect a close contest with MTSU looking to avenge those losses.
Friday’s game is slated to start at 6 p.m.
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