MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Volunteers battled Middle Tennessee through a back-and-forth contest on Tuesday night but came up short, as the Blue Raiders took a 7-5 victory at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
With the loss, Tennessee moves to 15-17 on the season and is now 10-7 against non-conference opponents in 2015. Middle Tennessee improves to 20-16 with the win.
Tennessee took the early advantage in the first inning, as first baseman Andrew Lee blasted a two-run homer over the left field wall. The home run marked Lee's fourth of the season and the fifth of his career as a Volunteer.
The Blue Raiders came back in the third and pushed three runs across, taking a 3-2 lead. Tennessee then took advantage of two walks and two errors by MTSU to score two runs and go ahead, 4-3, in the fourth. The Blue Raiders chipped away and tied it up at 4-4 in the sixth before using a standup triple by Middle Tennessee's Austin Bryant to start a one-out rally and make it a 7-4 ballgame.
The Vols threatened again in the eighth, loading the bases with no outs before right fielder Johnny Youngblood knocked a sacrifice fly to center, making the score 7-5, but the rally fell short after the Blue Raiders turned a double play to end the inning.
Starting lefthander Zach Warren made his fourth career start on Tuesday night and allowed three runs on four hits over 3.0 innings of work to receive no decision.
Righthander and Murfreesboro native Hunter Martin entered the game in relief of Warren in the fourth, making his first collegiate appearance in his hometown, and went 2.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts. Righthanders Peter Lenstrohm and Kyle Serrano each made appearances against the Blue Raiders, before Steven Kane came in to hold MTSU and give Tennessee a chance in the ninth.