MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee (17-16, 4-7 SBC) topped UALR (15-15, 4-7 SBC) by a 14-6 final in game two of their series on Saturday at Reese Smith Jr. Field. The Blue Raiders scored their 14 runs on 17 hits to rebound from Friday’s loss and even the series at one game apiece.
Junior Austin Pfeiffer and seniors Chris Burk and John Clark led UALR with two hits apiece on Saturday. Pfeiffer’s day included a homer and two RBI, while Burk added two runs scored. Sophomore Sam Vogel homered for the second-straight game.
Johnathan Frebis (4-3) earned the win for the Blue Raiders after giving up two runs on four hits in 5.1 innings of work. Senior Blake Huffman was handed the loss for the Trojans after allowing five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.
After UALR went down in order in the top of the first, Middle Tennessee plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning. First, Ryan Ford led off frame with a solo homer to right center. Hank LaRue then drew a walk from Huffman and was able to advance all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt. An infield single by the next batter, Trent Miller, allowed LaRue to slide into home and give Middle Tennessee a 2-0 lead after an inning of play.
The Blue Raiders increased their lead to 4-0 with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the third. Ryan Stephens led off the inning with a single to right, but Huffman was able to retire the next two MT hitters to put two outs on the board. However, three-straight two-out singles by Johnny Thomas, Michael Adkins and Jake Ellison brought in two more runs for the Blue Raiders, increasing their lead to 4-0.
Vogel’s solo homer in the top of the fifth put the Trojans on the board and made it a 5-1 game. UALR added two more runs in the top of the sixth. After Johnson singled to right field, Burk tripled to center field and came home on an error by the Middle Tennessee center fielder to pull the Trojans within two at 5-3.
However, Middle Tennessee responded by putting up seven runs in the bottom of the sixth. After the Blue Raiders were able to push across the first run of the inning on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ryan Stephens, a three-run homer by LaRue put MT up 9-3. Later in the frame with the bases loaded, Michael Adkins hit a two-RBI single to right field to give the Blue Raiders an 11-3 lead after six innings of play.
Middle Tennessee added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to go up 14-3, UALR responded with two runs of its own in the top of the eighth. A solo homer by Pfieffer tallied the first UALR run of the frame, and an RBI single by Clark later in the inning scored Burk to make it a 14-5 game.
An RBI double by Pfeiffer in the top of the ninth would bring the game to its 14-6 final score.
UALR and Middle Tennessee will play game three of their series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Junior right-hander Ethan Schlechte will be on the hill for the Trojans, while left-hander Zac Curtis will be pitching for the Blue Raiders.