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MTSU baseball clinches spot in C-USA tourney

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Senior right-hander Paul Mittura and junior right-hander Matt Blackham combined for a one-hit shutout, as the MTSU baseball team erupted for a 12-run seventh in a 14-0 win over Marshall Friday night at Reese Smith, Jr. Field.

In the win, the Blue Raiders improve to 29-25 and 16-13 in Conference USA and clinched a berth into the Conference USA tournament next week at Southern Mississippi. The Thundering Herd fell to 20-30 and 10-18 in C-USA.

Mittura brought a no-hitter into the seventh and tossed seven innings on just 69 pitches before a 53-minute bottom of the seventh ended his night. The Clarksville native gave up one hit and one walk while striking out five. Blackham entered in relief and threw two perfect innings.

The Blue Raiders scored single runs in the third and fifth to back Mittura's no-hit bid. Neither run came off a hit, as MT took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by junior Jared Allen before a strange play in the fifth added to the advantage. On a ball in the dirt, junior Dustin Delgado took off for second and was thrown out, but junior Jake Ingold alertly took off for the plate and scored for a 2-0 lead.

MTSU sent 18 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the seventh, scoring 12 times on the benefit of just seven hits. Nine different Blue Raiders drove in a run in the frame, including three consecutive runs brought home by pinch-hitters.

Junior Austin Bryant led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. Ingold would follow with a walk before freshman Brad Jarreau and Delgado hit back-to-back RBI singles for a 4-0 lead. Senior Hank LaRue would walk to load the bases, and with one out, the flood gates would open. Allen drew a bases-loaded walk, a run scored on an error and junior Michael Adkins singled to make it 7-0. Bryant and Ingold would then drive in two runs each for an 11-0 cushion before pinch-hitting freshmen Kevin Dupree and Kaleb King both drew bases-loaded walks and pinch-hitting sophomore Trevor Haggard singled home a run for the final 14-0 margin.

Mittura picked up the win to move to 4-3, while Chase Boster was saddled with the loss, falling to 2-3.


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