Mar 22, 2013 11:07 PM by UL Sports Information
Middle Tennessee scored 10 unanswered runs over its final four at bats to rally and defeat Louisiana 12-5 here Friday evening at Reese Smith, Jr. Field in the opening game of a three-game Sun Belt Conference series.
The Blue Raiders (13-10, 1-3 Sun Belt) did their damage off the Cajuns bullpen which was charged with 10 runs after starting pitcher Ryan Wilson scattered four hits and gave up two runs over the first four innings.
Louisiana (17-4, 3-1 Sun Belt) scored in four of its first five at bats to lay claim to a 5-2 lead after 4 ½ innings. The Blue Raiders took advantage of Cajuns defensive miscues in the bottom of the fifth to draw even at 5-5.
MT broke the tie in the sixth inning after a throwing error on a steal of third base, then began to pull away when Ryan Ford's two-run home run to center field extended the hosts' lead to 8-5.
The Blue Raiders added two more runs, one a sacrifice fly and another an RBI single to double up the Cajuns after six complete. MT plated single runs in its final two at bats for the final margin.
The series continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. as sophomore Austin Robichaux (3-0, 1.95 ERA) gets the start for Louisiana and Johnathan Frebis (2-2, 3.51) takes the mound for Middle Tennessee. Jay Walker will call the action live on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM and News Talk Radio 96.5 FM.
Tyler Girouard continued his hot streak for the Cajuns, picking up his third multiple-hit game in the last four outings. Girouard went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Ford was the catalyst for the Blue Raiders as he posted a game-high four RBI in his 2-for-4 performance. Ford was one of six MT hitters with multiple hits as the hosts piled up 14 hits off Cajuns pitchers, tying the most surrendered this season (2/26 vs. LSU, 3/8 at Southern Miss).
Louisiana had its season-best six-game win streak snapped and dropped the opening game of a road series for the second time in as many road trips.
The Blue Raiders scored three runs off both Chase Traffica and Cord Cockrell and added four in the 2 2/3 innings that Kody Smith pitched to finish the game.
MT Hunter Adkins, tagged for five runs over his first five innings, held UL scoreless his final two innings and retired the last six hitters he faced to nab a win over UL for the second straight season.
The Cajuns scored just two at bats into the game as Dex Kjerstad led off with a single, stole second base and scored on a Caleb Adams double. Adams later stole home on a missed squeeze bunt attempt by Seth Harrison.
MT got one of the runs back in the bottom of the first inning when Johnny Thomas homered with two outs.
Michael Strentz had a quick response for Louisiana as he led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run over the left field wall. Ryan Wilson posted the first zero of the contest in the bottom half as the Cajuns carried a two-run lead into the third inning.
The Cajuns made it a third straight inning with a run, adding a run on a double play with bases loaded for a 4-1 edge. The Blue Raiders' second home run of the evening, courtesy Dain McNabb, returned their deficit to two runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Adams walked to lead off the fifth inning for Louisiana, then after advancing to second on an Adkins balk scored when Girouard singled up the middle, increasing UL's lead to 5-2.
The Cajuns defense committed a wild pitch, fielding error, passed ball and a balk all of which aided the Blue Raiders in pushing across three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning tying the score at 5-5.
Middle Tennessee carried the momentum shift over into the sixth inning, putting up a five spot which proved to be the difference in the outcome.
BASES NOTED: Middle Tennessee won the series opener with Louisiana for the third straight season...UL lost for only the 12th time in 37 SBC meetings with MT...The Cajuns need wins in the final two games of the series to remain perfect in weekend series in 2013...Seth Harrison saw his 12-game hit streak come to a close as he went 0-for-4...Caleb Adams' scored three of the Cajuns' five runs, tying his season-high for runs scored and marking the third time he's reached that total...The Cajuns bullpen was charged with a loss for the first time in 2013...Tyler Girouard picked up his seventh multi-hit game of the season and took over the team lead...All four of the Cajuns defeats have come by seven runs or more...Tyler Girouard is hitting .485 in March (16-of-33) and tops the team in hits (16) and RBI (11)...Chase Traffica made his first appearance on the mound since starting the opener of the Southern Miss series...Blake Trahan and Tyler Girouard took over the lead in longest active hitting streaks, both extending their current hitting streak to six games...Louisiana lost for the first time when scoring first (10-1)...Sam Carriere picked up his 10th hit of the season, giving the Cajuns their 12th player with double digit hits through 21 games...Friday's game marked the start of the final Sun Belt Conference series between Louisiana and Middle Tennessee as the Blue Raiders depart for Conference USA following the 2013 season.
Middle Tennessee 12, Louisiana 5 (Mar 22, 2013 at Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Louisiana........... 211 010 000 - 5 9 3 (17-4, 3-1 SUN BELT)
Middle Tennessee.... 101 035 11X - 12 14 2 (13-10, 1-3 SUN BELT)
Pitchers: Louisiana - Wilson, Ryan; Traffica, Chase (5); Cockrell, Cord (5); Smith, Kody (6). Middle Tennessee - Adkins, Hunter; Hyder, Aaron (8)
Win-Adkins, Hunter (4-2) Loss-Cockrell, Cord (3-1) T-2:49 A-758
HR UL - Strentz, Michael (3)
HR MT - Ford, Ryan (1); Thomas, Johnny (2); McNabb, Dain (2)
Weather: 48, cloudy, ENE @ 4 MPH