State Falls In Opener With Blue Raiders

Grant Hogue

WINCHESTER, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee slugged five home runs to cruise to a 20-5 over Mississippi State in college baseball play Tuesday night. The Bulldogs (19-29) and Blue Raiders (26-21-1) conclude the midweek series with a 6 p.m. start Wednesday at Loel Bennett Stadium.

Middle Tennessee raced to a 7-0 lead with four runs in the first inning and three more scores in the second inning. The Bulldogs climbed back into the contest with two runs in the third inning and one more score in the fourth inning. The homestanding Blue Raiders then removed all doubt with a seven-run sixth inning, extending the lead to 17-3.

The 20 runs allowed by MSU pitching was the most in a non-conference game since a 20-13 loss to New Orleans in 1984.

In the MT first inning, Zach Barrett and Rawley Bishop hit back-to-back singles after a one-out walk to Zach Hudson. Bishop's hit scored Hudson, while a follow-up three-run home run by Bryce Brentz ran the score to 4-0.

Brentz had another big hit an inning later with a two-run double running the lead to 7-0.

In the MSU third inning, Grant Hogue and Mark Goforth had back-to-back one-out singles. Tyler Moore ripped an RBI-double, while Russ Sneed followed with an RBI-single.

In the fourth inning, a pair of hit batsmen and an infield single by Hogue, combined with a balk, scored another run. However, the Bulldogs last legitimate threat ended with a stranded pair of base runners.

Middle Tennessee went back on the offensive with a three-run fifth inning and seven-run sixth inning. For the Blue Raiders, Hudson homered in back-to-back innings, hitting a two-run shot in the fifth inning and a three-run shot in the sixth inning. Bishop also hit a solo home run in the sixth inning.

In the eighth inning, each team homered. Nick Hardy hit his first of the year for MSU, while pinch-hitter Justin Jones hit a three-run shot for the Blue Raiders.

An RBI-single by MSU's Johnny Allen capped the scoring in the ninth inning.

The Bulldogs finished with 12 hits. Hogue had his second three-hit game of the season. Sneed also had multiple hits.

The Blue Raiders finished with 20 hits. Brentz had four hits and five RBI, while Hudson had three hits and five RBI. Bishop had three hits and three RBI. Blake McCade, Barrett, Grant Box and Justin Miller each had multiple hits for Middle Tennessee.

Tyler Whitney (0-2) took the loss. Whitney worked 1-2/3 innings, allowing six hits and seven runs (all earned), with three walks and two strikeouts. Lee Swindle threw 3-2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and nine runs (five earned), with no walks and one strikeout. Chad Crosswhite and Greg Houston completed the contest on the mound for the Bulldogs.

Jordan Alvis (6-2) picked up the pitching win. Alvis worked five innings, allowing eight hits and three runs (all earned), with two walks and a strikeout. Tyler Hyde worked the final four innings, allowing four hits and two runs (both earned), with no walks and one strikeout. For Hyde, it was his first save.

After the completion of the MSU-MT series, the Bulldogs remain on the road for a Southeastern Conference series at LSU. Game times for the last-ever regular season series at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge are 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. The Saturday contest will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South.

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