|RUSTON, La. - Middle Tennessee ended their first road series of the season on a high note on Sunday, knocking off host Louisiana Tech 9-6 at J.C. Love Field in Ruston, La.
"After having a tough loss in the first game today, I'm proud of my team for hanging in there in the second one," head coach Steve Peterson said. "We ended a losing streak, and I hope that this can start a winning streak."
Louisiana Tech entered the game with the nation's third-longest home winning streak, having won their previous 12 games in Ruston.
Tyler Acker starred at the plate for the Blue Raiders, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk. It marked the senior's fifth three-hit game of the season and his second of the series.
Robert Lawrence started and went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted it.Justin Guidry was the only other Blue Raider with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Jud Stoltz got the start on the mound for the Blue Raiders. After allowing just one run through the first four innings, the senior allowed five (three earned) before recording an out in the fifth.
Hunter Dawson pitched the next 2.2 innings, and picked up his second win of the season. Paul Mittura recorded the final seven outs of the game to earn his first career save.
For the second straight game, Middle Tennessee opened the scoring, plating two in the second inning. Acker led off with a double to right, and advanced on a groundout by Hank LaRue. Dain McNabb hit into a fielder's choice, but the Louisiana Tech defense failed to tag out Acker at third. A wild pitch allowed a run to cross, and a Lawrence double to left center brought home McNabb.
McNabb ended the day 0-for-5 but scored twice.
Louisiana Tech reclaimed a run in the bottom of the second. After loading the bases with no outs, Tyler Qualls singled to plate Alex Williams, but Skinner threw out Joey Ford at the plate. Moments later, McNabb caught Justin Gordey attempting to steal third. Austin Hedges flew out to end the frame.
The Blue Raiders sent nine hitters to the plate in the third en route to a five-run frame. Guidry reached with a one-out double. Skinner and Acker loaded the bases by walking and getting hit by a pitch, respectively, and a passed ball allowed Guidry to score. LaRue singled to bring home Skinner, and a balk scored Acker. An error by La. Tech's Ashton Hughes allowed McNabb to reach first and advanced LaRue to third. Thomas laid down a sacrifice bunt towards first to plate LaRue, and Lawrence singled home McNabb, handing Middle Tennessee a 7-1 advantage.
LaRue finished 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to one with a five-run frame of their own in the bottom of the fifth. The Blue Raiders committed two errors in the frame, and a pair of Stoltz wild pitches also allowed a pair of runs. Dawson took to the mound and recorded the frame's final three outs in order
The Blue Raiders tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth to extend the lead to three at 9-6. Acker led off with a single, and LaRue was hit by a pitch. After Johnny Thomas reached on an error, a wild pitch brought home Acker. Ryan Ford grounded out to plate LaRue.
Ford, who came on as a defensive replacement earlier in the game, was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run batted in.
Middle Tennessee will now prepare for a pair of midweek meetings, beginning with a trip to Belmont on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.