Thursday, June 13, 2024

Vondohlen’s record-setting game propels Blue Raiders to victory

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Featured photo by Ryan Loftis

Story by Conner Smith

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn – It was another record-setting night at Reese Smith Jr. field on Friday when Middle Tennessee baseball crushed Western Kentucky 16-9 in game one of a three-game set. The leader of that win was redshirt freshman Brett Vondohlen, who set a single-game home run and RBI record for MTSU.

“Brett’s a good young hitter, obviously you can see what he’s capable of at the plate,” MTSU head coach Jerry Meyers said. “I’m so proud of the kid, he works extremely hard. He practically lives in the batting cages, always working when we’re not doing team stuff. Just really proud of him.”

It was clear from the start what kind of game it was going to be as both teams combined for six runs after just the first frame. That continued in the second inning when they combined for nine and MTSU held a 10-5 lead. A good reason why the Blue Raiders had that lead was because of Vondohlen’s first grand slam, but things would get even better for the young righty hitter.

Western Kentucky posted four runs in the fourth and fifth to make it a one-run ballgame, but that was when Vondohlen delivered yet again.

He came up to the plate in the sixth with the bases loaded once again, and then for a second time, got a good swing off and sent the baseball 456 feet over the left-center field wall. MTSU took a five-run lead and Vondohlen became the first Blue Raider to hit two grand slams in one game. It also put him just one RBI away from tying the program’s single-game RBI record.

He came back up in the eighth inning with a man on and a prime opportunity to get that record and also put the ballgame away. Even though it seemed like there was no way he could hit a third home run, he defied the odds and mashed his third home run of the game, this one giving him his 10th RBI, an MTSU record.

“It feels great, it’s got to be my best memory in college so far,” Vondohlen said of his new record.

MTSU shut down the Hilltopper offense in the ninth and cruised to a 16-9 victory, going up one game to zero in the series.

This performance was impressive, obviously because of what Vondohlen accomplished. But also, the Blue Raiders hung 16 runs on a Western Kentucky team whose ERA was 3.78 coming into the ballgame.

“We just stuck to our at-bats, gave our focus on each pitch, and tried to win the at-bat and it worked out, we were able to have a really good game today,” Vondohlen said.

Conner Smith is a sportswriter for MTSU Sidelines. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, and follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on X and Instagram at @mtsusidelines. Also, sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

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