By Will Carter
MTN Sports Reporter
March 4, 2021
Coming off a series sweep, Middle Tennessee (5-2) looks to extend its win streak this weekend as they hit the road to take on the University of South Alabama (5-3) in a three-game set starting on Friday.
South Alabama is no stranger to elite competition on the diamond. Before the season was cancelled last spring, the Jaguars were (8-10) with seven of their losses being handed to them by teams ranked in the top 25 nationally. They secured a quality win against tenth ranked Arkansas last March, winning on the road 13-6.
“South Alabama is consistently in regionals, a top 25 team sometimes,” MTSU coach Jim Toman said. “They’re always very good, and we’ll have our work cut out for us. They’ll be well coached and have some good arms.”
In their last outing, the Jaguars shut out the University of New Orleans 5-0. Starting pitcher Jackson Boyd didn’t allow a hit while striking out eight batters in 3.2 innings. Miles Smith came in to relieve Boyd, allowing only two hits in 5.1 innings.
The Blue Raiders' bullpen has been dealing as of late, and they will look to stay hot this weekend.
Right-handed pitcher Zach Keenan was named Conference USA’s pitcher of the week for his performances in last week’s games. Keenan pitched eight innings in two games, striking out 12 batters and walking zero. He was awarded a win and save in his outings.
Junior Aaron Brown has also gained some national attention for his work on the mound so far. Brown is seventh in the country for strikeouts with a total of 20 this season. He has a .90 ERA in 10 innings. Led by Brown and Keenan, the Blue Raiders have reached a ranking of sixth in the country for strikeout-to-walk ratio with 86 strikeouts and only 15 walks.
Brown will get the start for the Blue Raiders on Friday in Mobile. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. start on Saturday and the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.