The Blue Raiders struggles on the diamond continued at home Wednesday night with an 11-4 drubbing by Austin Peay.
Things were going bad for Middle Tennessee from the top of the first inning when starting pitcher Jud Stoltz was crushed by the Governors’ line up.
Stoltz allowed five runs on five hits and one walk, he was able to get only one batter out before Raider coach Steve Peterson pulled the plug on Stoltz in favor of Cody Tollison.
Middle would score two in the bottom of the first, thanks in part to Austin Peay’s Andy Cox walking three consecutive batters.
Even a gift of a run from Austin Peay couldn’t help the Raiders climb back into the contest, which was virtually over by the fifth inning.
The two teams traded runs in the third and fourth innings, and the one bright spot of the game for Middle Tennessee came with Junior Matthew Drakes solo homerun.
Drake would go three for four on the day with a walk, leading the Raiders to and 11-hit day. One would expect 11 hits to be more than enough offense, but the pitching staff of Middle Tennessee could not bring things together.
Another runs should have been scored for the Raiders in the third, when a single by Dain McNabb brought Tyler Acker around from second. Acker beat the throw but did not touch home plate and was tagged out before he was able to.
In the top of the fifth, the Governors scored three runs. A pair of walks and an error on the pitcher Hunter Dawson contributed to the offensive output for Austin Peay.
The Raiders pitching staff combined to hit three batters and walk five. This, combined with 13 hits and three errors would be all Austin Peay needed.
Neither team scored in the sixth and seventh, and Brandon Hall, who pitched both innings, proved to be an effective pitcher for the Raiders on the day despite entering the game with an era of over 10.
Middle’s starting first baseman, Justin Guidry, would pitch the eighth, giving up one run on a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly ball. Paul Mittura would finish the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Raiders stranded 14 players on base in the game and lacked the timely hitting to bring runners home when in scoring positions, but the real story of the game is the continued struggles of the pitching staff for Middle Tennessee, with a staff era of 6.77.
Middle will go on the road to face Arkansas-Little Rock Friday through Sunday before returning home Tuesday, April 12, against the top team in the nation, Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt game will be played at 6 P.M. at Reese Smith Jr. Field.