Murfreesboro, Tenn. - Nick Montgomery picked up his second win of the season and Tyler Burnett collected four hits to propel Middle Tennessee past Ohio 11-6 in the home opener at Reese Smith Jr. Field on Friday.
Tyler Burnett set a new career high for hits, going 4-5 at the plate. His three runs scored tied his career high. Also contributing for Middle Tennessee (2-1) was Justin Guidry who recorded three hits and two runs scored. Stuart Meinhart and Justin Jones also notched three hits. Bryce Brentz went 2-4 and drew a walk. Several Blue Raiders delivered in the offensive outburst as all nine batters in the starting lineup recorded at least one run batted in. Six Blue Raiders turned in multi-hit games and eight scored.
Kenneth Roberts strung together three scoreless innings prior to a five-run outburst by the Ohio offense in the fourth. Nick Montgomery entered the game in the fifth, and pitched four and one-third near flawless innings, allowing only one hit.
"It was a great job by Nick," said Coach Steve Peterson. "Ohio had their bats going, and it was important for Nick to come in and finish the game."
The Blue Raiders struck early with three runs in the bottom of the first. Burnett and Guidry opened the inning with back-to-back hits and Brentz drew a walk to load the bases. Blake McDade and Drew Robertson grounded out to the shortstop on consecutive plays to score Burnett and Guidry. A Jones single brought home Brentz for the final run of the inning.
Middle Tennessee got back on the board in the following inning after an infield single by Burnett. Guidry reached on an error, allowing Burnett to advance to third. Brentz doubled off the right field wall to score Burnett and send Guidry to third. Guidry scored on a groundout by McDade to put the Blue Raiders up 5-0 after two.
Ohio (1-3) made their comeback thanks to a five-run top of the fourth. With one out already recorded, Trace Voshell doubled through the left side for the Bobcats. A Robert Maddox single in the following at bat scored Voshell. After a C.J. Maszal single, Kris McDonough doubled down the line to score Maddox. Seth Streich tripled down the left field line to plate both Maszal and McDonough. Streich ended up scoring the last run of the inning on a Wesley O'Neill groundout.
Ohio took their first lead of the game in the top portion of the fifth, 6-5. After Jerod Yakubik and Voshell strung together a pair of hits, a throwing error by Ryan Ford allowed Yakubik to score.
Middle Tennessee regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Jones and Stuart Meinhart recorded back-to-back one-out singles. Justin Miller recorded his fifth RBI of the season with a double to left field to score Jones. The Blue Raiders regained the lead on a Ford groundout in the next at bat, scoring Meinhart. A Burnett single up the middle plated Miller for the final run of the inning to put Middle Tennessee up 8-6 and the Blue Raiders would never look back.
The Blue Raiders tacked on another run in the seventh after a trio of consecutive two-out singles by Robertson, Jones and Meinhart.
Two more Blue Raider runs in the seventh provided for the final tally. A Ford walk chased Ohio pitcher Rex Ingham for Marck Paliotto. Tyler Burnett doubled to right field, and a wild pitch allowed Ford to score while Burnett advanced to third. Guidry singled to bring home Burnett for the final Middle Tennessee run of the game.
Middle Tennessee will look for its first series win Saturday afternoon when they face Ohio in game two of the series at Reese Smith Jr. Field at 2 p.m. Freshman Daniel Palo is slated to start for the Blue Raiders.