Senior Jake Ingold’s RBI single in the 12th inning broke a 1-1 tie and lifted Middle Tennessee past New Orleans in a pitcher’s duel Friday night. The Blue Raiders have now won four straight and improve to 6-1 overall on the season.
Starter Johnathan Frebis tossed a season-high 7.1 innings and struck out seven, tying his single-game record for the fifth time of his career. The Blue Raider ace allowed only two hits and one unearned run in the no-decision.
“This was by far his best start in three outings this year,” head coach Jim McGuire said. “And that’s what we need him to do, he’s got to be that kind of guy on Friday nights for us. He was very effective tonight.”
In a game that lasted nearly four hours, the Blue Raiders twice left the bases loaded and stranded a total of 14 runners as the Privateers turned a pair of clutch double plays in the ninth and 10th frames.
“It was a team win, we really had to grind it out,” McGuire said. “We had all kinds of opportunities where we could’ve scored, but we just couldn’t breakthrough.”
Jared Allen reached base on a dropped third strike to lead off the 12th and cleanup hitter Michael Adkins put down a sacrifice bunt to get Allen to second base. Allen immediately stole third and Ingold shot a 3-2 pitch back up the middle to plate the go-ahead run.
The Blue Raiders went down 1-0 in the second after UNO scored on an error, but a Dustin Delgado sacrifice fly tied it in the fifth.
Delgado (2-for-3; 2 BB, RBI) extended his reached-base streak to 22 games, pacing MT with two hits along with Ingold (2-for-5; 2B RBI) and leading-hitter Brad Jarreau (2-for-3; 2 BB). Kaleb King collected his second double of the season as the Blue Raiders combined for nine hits.
The Middle Tennessee bullpen was spectacular in the late innings, most notably Nathan Foriest (1.2 IP) who twice stranded the winning run and recorded four punchouts. Blake Stansberry kept the Privateers off the board in the eighth, while Sam Alton earned his first Blue Raider win in two innings of perfect relief.
New Orleans sent out five pitchers as Kevin Kelleher (0-2) was charged with the loss. Freshman Shawn Semple went toe-to-toe with Frebis, turning in a quality six innings with one run on five hits and five strikeouts. Preston Marsh led the Privateers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
MT overcame an uncharacteristic three errors in the early going and limited the home team to four hits on the night.
Austin Bryant had his 11-game hit streak snapped, while Middle Tennessee improves to 3-3 in extra-inning contests under McGuire. At six wins in seven games, the Blue Raiders are off to their best start in five years.
The series continues on Saturday with game two’s first pitch scheduled for noon. McGuire will skip Kooper Kessler in the rotation and send out Nate Hoffman for the junior transfer’s first start. The game can be heard on WMOT-2 (92.5 FM) and on GoBlueRaiders.com.