The Bisons refused to go down without a fight, a resiliency that they have shown all season despite their 5-11 record.
In the ninth the Bisons scored eight runs on eight hits, including a two-run home run by Ryan Wilkins to left field and a three-run homer by T.J. Hoelzer to right field. It was a big inning for Hoelzer who opened the inning with a single to left.
Hoelzer, making his first appearance of the season, tied for the team lead in hits with three. He led the Bisons in runs batted in with four. Tyler Wilson also had three hits from his leadoff spot including a home run.
The runs were a team season high as well as the 20 hits. It was the first time the Bisons have had 20 hits in a game since May 25, 2008 when they pounded out 20 against Gardner-Webb.
Middle Tennessee used seven pitchers against the Bisons. Kevin Whittaker, who pitched the fifth inning, was the winner.
Middle Tennessee struck for four runs in both the first and second innings and five more in the third to set the pace for the game at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. They added one in the fourth and four more in the eighth.
The Bisons chipped away from the beginning scoring two runs in the first, one in the third, two in the fifth and one each in the sixth and seventh before the ninth inning explosion.
The 18 runs were the most scored against the Bisons this season in a game. The 19 hits allowed tied for the season high. The Bisons gave up 19 against Michigan in a 17-14 loss Saturday in Conway, S.C.
Freshman left-hander Chris Nunn started on the mound for the Bisons, his second start of the season. He threw 2.1 innings and scattered nine hits. He gave up 12 runs, all earned for his first loss of the season. He walked five and struck out four.
Senior right-hander Matt Bowling pitched 1.2 innings and gave up six hits and two runs, both earned. Freshman left-hander Blake Fonfara allowed three hits and three runs, all earned. He struck out one. Junior right-hander Mike Grace threw two-thirds of an inning. He gave up one hit and one run, earned. He walked one and struck out two. Junior left-hander Alex Ross closed the game with a scoreless and hitless inning. He struck out two.
The Bisons open Atlantic Sun Conference play this weekend at Belmont. Game times Friday and Saturday are at 3 p.m. Sunday’s game starts at 1. All three games will be played at Shelby Park.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/ Director of Media Relations