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Seventh inning rally falls short as Golden Eagles fall to MTSU

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Golden Eagles rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie a back and forth contest with the Blue Raiders, 6-6, but Will Skinner's second homer of the game answered in the top of the eighth as the eventual game-winner, fueling Middle Tennessee towards a final score of 10-6.

Middle put the first runs on the board in the top of the first; Skinner notched his first RBI on a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hank LaRue, who earned a free base, and move Justin Guidry to second after his base hit. Tyler Acker logged the Blue Raider's second hit of the inning, a double that sent Guidry home to give MTSU a 2-0 lead.

Freshman Zach Stephens got the bats going first for Tech, as he followed up Casanova Donaldson's single, Chad Oberacker's double and Ben Burgess' walk with a single to score two. Devin Rivers reached on a fielder's choice to bring Burgess around and give the Golden Eagles the 3-2 lead.

Right handed pitcher and starter for Tech, Cullen Park, went three-up three-down in the second, but lead-off man Johnny Thomas got Park for a double in the top of the third and advanced to third on LaRue's groundout. Guidry got another hit for an RBI and moved to second on a wild pitch, setting Skinner up for a two-run longball, his first of the game, making the score 5-3 in favor of MTSU.

 Austin Wulf notched an RBI in the bottom of the fourth and a fielding error in the top of the fifth yielded another for Middle to set the score at 6-4, but Tech's chance for a comeback came in the bottom of the seventh. Oberacker followed up a walk by Donaldson with his second home run of the season to tie the game at six-all.
 
Skinner had yet another answer though, as he logged his second homer of the game in the top of the eighth off of reliever Wade Bilbrey, a solo shot as the lead-off hitter that would prove to be the eventual game-winner for the Blue Raiders.
MTSU added three more in the top of the ninth to secure the win with a final score of 10-6 on hits by Thomas, LaRue, Guidry and Acker.
 
Stephens led the Golden Eagles going 2-for-3 with two RBI's on the night, while Oberacker went 2-for-5, sending two across the plate as well. Wulf and Rivers notched an RBI apiece.

"This  is a tough loss, right now we're struggling with finishing games a little bit," said head coach Matt Bragga.  "We've got a great group of guys and I believe heavily in them, and I believe that first win is coming."

Hunter Dawson was named the winning pitcher for MTSU, putting him at a record of 1-0 thus far this season, while Keaton Baker got the save. Bilbrey was tagged for the loss for Tech.

The Golden Eagles will host the Eagles of Eastern Michigan this weekend in a three game series beginning on Friday at 3 p.m.