Friday, February 23, 2024

MTSU baseball heads to Houston for conference tournament

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Featured photo by Ryan Loftis

Story by Conner Smith

Houston, TX- Middle Tennessee State baseball has had an up-and-down season but now is ready to turn the page and put the conference on notice. The Blue Raiders finished the season 25-27 overall and 14-16 in conference play and qualified for the Conference USA Tournament as the seven seed. 

MTSU will start its quest for the C-USA title on Wednesday at 12:30 against the UTSA Roadrunners who had the Blue Raiders number this spring. 

“This is postseason ball, and everyone is 0-0,” MTSU head coach Jerry Meyers said. “UTSA is a very good team, but we know what kind of club we have and know we can win this thing. It’s been a dogfight between all these teams during the regular season, but we love the team we have and we’re coming with the mindset that we can win the conference.”  

All games of the double-elimination tournament are to be held at Reckling Park on the campus of Rice University in Houston. ESPN+ will broadcast each game until the winner-take-all championship matchup, which will be shown on CBS Sports Network. WGNS 101.9 FM / 1450 AM (Murfreesboro), WGNS 100.5 FM (Smyrna), GoBlueRaiders.com, and the Varsity Network App will carry the radio broadcast.  

Probable Starting Pitcher 

Right-handed flame thrower Eriq Swan gets the start against UTSA as MTSU is saving ace Jaden Hamm for game two of the tournament. 

“I have full confidence in my team, I think we can get hot at the right time and I’m going to focus on doing my job and helping my team advance.” Swan said. 

All-Conference Named 

The Blue Raiders had five players who were named All Conference, including Jaden Hamm and Brett Coker who made the conference’s first team. Patrick Johnson, Ollie Akens, and Jared Vetetoe made the All-Freshman team. 

Tournament outlook 

The top eight teams across the C-USA regular season were invited to the championships. Two separate four-team, double-elimination brackets will be played, with the winner of each side playing in a single-game championship game Sunday at 1:00 p.m.  

Middle Tennessee sees UTSA first, with the Roadrunners taking a 38-17 record and a 21-8 C-USA mark into the tournament. An NCAA Tournament at-large bubble team, UTSA is currently projected as the third team out of the field by D1 Baseball. 

MTSU was dealt with a tough side of the bracket, having to face UTSA and Charlotte If it wants to advance to Championship Sunday; but have the pieces to make a deep run in the tournament. 

“We’re shutting out everything prior to this moment, we’re ready to come into Houston and make a statement to show everyone who we really are.” First baseman DJ Wright said. 

Coming Up 

The Blue Raiders’ second game of the championships will depend on its result Wednesday, as well as how Wednesday’s game between Charlotte and LA Tech plays out. 

 If MTSU loses to UTSA, the Raiders will play an elimination game Thursday at 9:00 a.m. against the loser of the Charlotte vs. LA Tech game. Should Middle Tennessee defeat the Roadrunners on Wednesday, the Blue Raiders will move on to play the winner of Charlotte vs. LA Tech at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.  

Conner Smith is a sports reporter for MTSU Sidelines. If you have information for a story, you can contact him at cws4t@mtmail.mtsu.edu.  

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com. Also, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @mtsusidelines or on Twitter @MTSUSidelines.  

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