Carbondale, Ill. - Justin Miller tied a school record with three home runs as the Middle Tennessee offense overwhelmed Southern Illinois, 17-4.
Hunter Adkins also impressed in his first career start for the Blue Raiders. After the Salukis scored 39 runs in three games over the weekend, the freshman from Signal Mountain, Tenn. allowed just three hits over six innings with one earned run.
"It was as good a start that I've seen from a freshman pitcher in a long time at Middle Tennessee," said Coach Steve Peterson. "He gave up a solo home run, but it didn't bother him. He dominated their line-up."
The Blue Raiders offense starred once again with contributions from all over the line-up. Ten players hit safely and six recorded multiple hits. Middle Tennessee scored at least one run in all but one inning, including five in the sixth.
Miller's three home runs tied a school record. The junior from Knoxville went 3-4 on the day with three RBI and four runs scored while earning a pair of walks. Freshman Will Skinner also showed off some power with a grand slam in the fifth inning.
Zach Hudson went 4-6 with three runs batted in and three runs scored. Tyler Burnett went 1-2 at the plate, but earned three walks with three runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. Blake McDade finished up 3-5 with three RBI as well.
Middle Tennessee opened up the game with a run in the first inning. Burnett opened up the game by drawing a walk. After a Hudson strikeout and a Bryce Brentz walk, McDade plated Burnett with a single through the right side.
The Salukis evened the score in the bottom half of the first with a two-out solo home run by Chris Serritella.
The Blue Raiders regained the lead in the top half of the second. After an out by Skinner, Miller earned a walk. Back-to-back singles by Acker and Ford would score Miller. Burnett followed up with another single to plate Acker to put Middle Tennessee up 3-1.
Middle Tennessee tacked on three more runs in the fourth. Miller slugged his second home run of the season to open up the frame. After Acker recorded an out, Ford laid down a perfect bunt to reach first. Following a Burnett out, Hudson doubled off the wall in center to score Ford. A fielding error by Nick Johnson allowed Brentz to extend the inning and plate Hudson.
Miller struck again for the Blue Raiders in the fifth. The junior from Knoxville sent a towering solo shot over the left field wall. Miller became the first Blue Raider to homer in consecutive at bats since Rawley Bishop accomplished the feat in May of last season.
The scoring would continue for Middle Tennessee in the sixth. Burnett started the onslaught for the Blue Raiders by drawing a one-out walk and stealing second. A single by Hudson scored Burnett. Brentz benefited from an error by Saluki second baseman Brock Harding to reach first and advance Hudson to second. McDade singled down the left field line to load the bases. After an infield fly by Justin Guidry, Will Skinner hit his first career home run for a grand slam to put the Blue Raiders up 12-1.
Southern Illinois got back on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Stalter laced a two out double off the left field wall, and an error by Miller in the following at bat allowed SIU to score their second run of the game.
The Blue Raiders added another three runs in the seventh. Burnett set the table again for Middle Tennessee, leading off with a walk and stealing second. A single by Hudson advanced Burnett to third. Brentz doubled off the center field wall to score Hudson. McDade doubled in the next at bat to plate both Hudson and Brentz to put the Blue Raiders up 15-2.
Middle Tennessee tacked on a run in the eighth. After an Acker out, Robert Lawrence doubled to left center. A single by Dawson advanced Lawrence to third, and another single by Dawson brought Lawrence home.
Miller slugged out his record-tying third home run of the game with a two out solo blast in the top of the ninth.
The Salukis added two runs in the bottom half of the ninth. Consecutive one out singles by Brian Bajer and Nick Johnson were put into scoring position by a fielding error by Wes Caldwell in right field. A single by Pinnon plated both runs.
Middle Tennessee will go for its fifth consecutive win and second consecutive series win tomorrow at Abe Martin Field in Carbondale. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.