Zac Curtis tosses gem as Middle Tennessee beats No. 16 Rice
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Senior southpaw Zac Curtis collected his first career complete game and Michael Adkins' RBI single drove in Jared Allen for the game-winner, as Middle Tennessee knocked off No. 16 Rice in Friday's weekend opener at Reese Smith Field.
The Blue Raiders (10-13, 6-4 Conference USA) reeled off their third consecutive victory and their first top-10 win since upending No. 2 Vanderbilt on March 20, 2013. MT scored three runs on nine hits, while Rice (20-8, 8-2 C-USA) was limited to a pair of runs on five hits. Both teams committed an error.
Curtis (3-1) earned his first complete game by allowing only two runs, one earned, on five hits. The Hendersonville native struck out seven and gave up a walk in 114 pitches. He joined Johnathan Frebis as the only two Raiders with complete games this season.
Rice jumped out early with a solo home run before Middle Tennessee answered with long-bombs from Hank LaRue and Trent Miller. Rice scored the equalizer in the top of the seventh thanks to Michael Aquino's RBI double.
Jared Allen's leadoff single in the eighth gave the Raider offense some life. A LaRue groundout moved Allen into scoring position. Adkins' single up the middle drove in Allen to give the Blue Raiders' the game-winning run.
Allen finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk, while Adkins went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Dustin Delgado completed the evening 2-for-4.
Rice answered early with Skyler Ewing's bomb to left field, giving the Owls a 1-0 edge. LaRue found his first home run of the season and the 10th of his career with a long bomb to right field in the second. That launch was his 199th hit of his career.
Miller found the Blue Raiders' second homer of the night with a slam to left field. His second home run this season, extended his hit streak to 13 games.
Middle Tennessee loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with one out. However, Rice starter Zech Lemond got out of the jam with a foul fly out and a strikeout. The right-hander finished the game with two earned runs allowed on six hits in 6.1 innings pitched.
John Clay Reeves reached on base by virtue of an error in the top of the seventh. Aquino drove in the tying run with a double to left center.
In the eighth inning, Allen's leadoff single helped spark the Blue Raiders' go-ahead run. LaRue grounded out to move Allen to second. On the next at-bat, Michael Adkins' roped single up the middle scored Allen to give MT a 3-2 edge.
Rice's Matt Ditman (2-3) took the loss after giving up a run on three hits in one and two-thirds innings.