MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Golden Eagles made the short
drive to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to square off against in-state rival
Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, and the game came down to the final
batter, with the Blue Raiders taking a 9-8 decision over Tech.
The Golden Eagles (3-2) started off the scoring in the first inning when freshman Ben Burgess hit a three-run homer, the first of his career. MTSU (5-0) was quick to respond with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning.
After a scoreless second inning, Tech added a pair of runs in the third, taking a 5-3 lead. However, the Blue Raiders responded again, and tied the game in the bottom of the inning.
Senior Blake Forst got the start on the mound for the Golden Eagles, and worked 2.2 innings, giving up five earned runs before senior Ryan Dennick entered the game in relief.
In the sixth inning MTSU junior Stuart Meinhart broke the 5-5 tie with a two-out grand slam off of Dennick, putting the Blue Raiders up 9-5.
Although Tech did not commit an error in the game, a miss-played foul ball kept the sixth inning alive for MTSU.
“Defensively we have to handle the ball better,” head coach Matt Bragga said. “But tip your hat to them for taking advantage of their opportunities. Just a couple plays can change the game, it makes a real big difference.”
Tech narrowed the gap in the eighth inning when Heath Cheverton’s two-run blast made the score 9-7.
Lee Henry came in to pitch for Tech in the seventh inning, and retired six straight batters, giving Tech a chance in the ninth. With runners on first and second in the final inning, Burgess hit an RBI single, pulling Tech within one. But Coty Woods struck out Evan Webb to end the game.
“We were down 9-5, and made it 9-8, and we had the part of the order that we wanted up to bat,” Bragga said.
Tech finished the game with 11 hits and no errors, while MTSU got its nine runs on seven hits, and committed no errors.
Dennick suffered the loss for Tech, and is now 0-1 in the young season. Nick Montgomery earned the win for the Blue Raiders, while Woods got the save.