Friday, September 22, 2023

Baseball: LA Tech gets the best of Blue Raiders, take home weekend series 2-1


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Photo by Jordyn Lee / MTSU Sidelines

Story by Truman Greub and Tim Carroll / Contributing Writers

On Friday, the Middle Tennessee State University (8-15, 3-3) baseball team geared up for a weekend series against Louisiana Tech (13-8) but ultimately fell to the Bulldogs 2-1 for the series. Peyton Wiggington had a stand-out performance on Saturday for game two, but it was overshadowed by an abysmal performance on the final day, as MTSU gave up 10 runs on 15 hits.

MTSU unable to get bats going, fall in game one

The game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth inning, when LA Tech scored two runs on a single, putting them up 2-0. Offensively the Raiders could not seem to get anything going as the Bulldogs took game one, 5-1.

Starting off on the mound for the Raiders was right-hander Carson Lester. Lester was solid at first on the mound. He held the Bulldogs scoreless until the top of the fourth.  In total he gave up three runs, two earned, on eight hits while striking out six batters in eight innings of action.

“Lester competed for eight innings, and he threw really well. We played decent defense behind except for the inning where we dropped two pop ups. Lester kept us in the game,” said head coach Jim Toman.

He was replaced by right-hander AJ Spencer at the top of the ninth. Spencer lasted only two batters before being replaced by lefty John Dowless, where he closed out the inning with one hit and a strikeout.

The Raiders remained hitless and scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when junior Aaron Antonini scored his second homerun of the season, making the score 2-1, Bulldogs.

Overall, the Raiders were outhit five to nine as they fell to the Bulldogs.

Blue Raiders tie LA Tech series behind Wiggington’s pitching

The Blue Raiders responded to Friday night’s loss with a 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs.

Blue Raiders sophomore Wiggington received the nod at pitcher and did not disappoint. Wiggington pitched all nine innings and allowed on seven runs while striking out nine batters. It was the second time this season that Wiggington pitched the whole nine for the Blue Raiders, and he improved to 2-1 as the starter.

The Blue Raiders took the first lead of the game in the second inning when Myles Christian powerfully connected with a pitch that got sent deep into left field, resulting in a triple. Darrell Freeman followed with a single that sent Christian to home plate.

The play of the game came in the top of the third with two outs to go when freshman third baseman JT Mabry made an outstanding catch on a foul ball while launching himself into the LA Tech dugout for the third out to end the top of the inning.

The Bulldogs capitalized on a Mason Mallard triple that was sent down the right field line with an RBI from Steele Netterville that dropped into center field, tying the game at one even. MTSU answered the lone run with one of their own on a similar play that allowed third baseman Brycen Thomas to put the Blue Raiders back on top 2-1 after five.

Thomas later made an effort play with the sun in his eyes in the sixth by sprinting to the Blue Raider dugout to catch a fly ball that hung in the air for what seemed like forever.

MTSU continued slowly increasing its lead in the seventh when Aaron Antonini hit the first homerun of the game that made the score 4-1. That score held until the final inning, and Wiggington capped off his impressive performance by striking out the Bulldog’s Seth White for the final out of the night.

LA Tech dominates in final showing of the weekend with 15 hits

MTSU jumped out to an impressive 3-0 lead, scoring a run in each of the first three innings. However, that lead didn’t hold up as the Bulldogs got hot and never looked back. LA Tech took home the final game 10-5.

The Bulldogs tied up the game by the fifth inning and surpassed the Blue Raiders with a four-run inning in the sixth.

MTSU responded in the bottom of the inning and was able to try and cut into the deficit with a Christian two-run homer. That brought the game to 7-5 going into the seventh.

However, the Blue Raiders couldn’t slow down LA Tech’s bats in the final innings, and the Bulldogs tacked on three more runs to end the game and put it out of reach for MTSU.

What’s next?

The Blue Raiders will make a short road trip to Clarksville on Tuesday to take on the Austin Peay Governors. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

To contact Sports Editor David Chamberlain, email

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

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