The Raiders put lefty Freshman Jonathan Frebis from Riverdale, (1-1) 2.70 ERA, on the mound to start the game, odd delivery and all. Ball State started usual Shortstop T.J. Weir with a 7.71 ERA. This game started as a classic pitchers duel - with neither pitcher giving up runs early.
Frebis would get into jams early allowing runners to reach third each of the first two innings, but was able to leave them there. Frebis didn't give up his first hit till the fourth inning on a two out single up the middle and would later be taken out after going seven innings with giving up only two hits, one run (unearned), and striking out six.
"Frebis had good command, and he was outstanding," said Coach Peterson after the game.
Middle Tennessee's bats would remain quiet until the bottom of the fifth when Matthew Drake hit, what initially looked like a lazy fly ball to left off the bat, his second home run of the season (solo) to give Middle a 1-0 lead. The power surge would continue into the sixth when Hank Larue and Ethan Williams would go back-to-back to go up 3-0 over the Cardinals.
Frebis would allow a run in the seventh on a sac fly to left which was unearned because of an error earlier by Ethan Williams allowed the runner to reach first. Frebis again would get out of trouble stranding his third runner at third base. The bullpen would allow two runs in the eighth bringing the game to a 3-3 tie and Frebis a no-decision.
Jordan Rorex would score on a double in the bottom of the eighth from Hank Larue to give the Raiders a 4-3 lead. That would quickly change after Guidry brought in another on a fielders choice to make it 5-3. The long ball would play a factor again in the eighth when Ethan Miller would hit a two run bomb down the right field line to make the score 7-3. Miller would go 4-4 at the plate.
"I've been a little bit more patient at the plate today. I've been a little bit more pitch selective. It's really paid off," said Miller after his impressive performance. "I've stayed more middle, middle. I'm not letting certain pitches go by like the inside fastball. It feels great to get hitting my first home run of the year off my back. It'd been kind of nagging on me."
The Cardinals would threaten in the ninth loading the bases and scoring on a walk, but Daniel Palo saves the day coming in and getting the final outs and recording his second save of the year. Kooper Kessler would get the W (1-0).
The bullpen looked rocky today throwing four different guys (three in the eighth) for 2 innings giving up three runs.
"Not the way we want to do it by any means at all. We have pitched very well," Coach Pete would say after the game about the struggles of the pen.
All in all it was a solid win for Middle 7-4 moving the Raiders record to 9-5. The Raiders and the Cardinals meet tomorrow in the rubber match at 1pm at Reece Smith Jr Field.
Stay tuned to BlueRaiderZone.com for more exclusive coverage of Middle Tennessee baseball.
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