Giving up just one run in their final pair of games at the Racer Classic, Murray State softball swept day two of the tournament in Murray, Kentucky on Monday afternoon. Taking on Purdue Fort Wayne in the first game of the day, they shut out the Mastodons in a 2-0 victory before defeating the Samford Bulldogs 5-1 in the tournament finale.
Game 1: Murray State 2, Purdue Fort Wayne 0:
Taylor Makowsky got the ball in the circle for the Racers after earning the win in her first appearance of 2019 in the previous outing against Samford. She would have total control in her second opportunity of the year, striking out seven while allowing just three hits to Mastodon batters.
In a pitcher’s duel where base hits were scarce, the Racers would spoil the shutout in the home half of the fifth inning. Lillie Goetz would earn a trip to first base after looking at ball four with one out, bringing up Madison Culver, who found a spot on the base paths after being hit with a two-strike pitch from Shaina Eyre. With one out and runners on first and second, Sierra Gilmore drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single to right center, scoring Goetz to give the Racers a 1-0 lead. Lindsey Carroll would step in as the next Racer batter and, with runners at the corners, laid down a perfectly executed bunt to score Leah Kesel from third after she entered the game to run in place of Culver. The Racers would hold a 2-0 lead through the end of five innings of action.
Makowsky would continue to cruise, working a 1-2-3 sixth inning in the circle for the Racers, protecting their two run advantage as they entered the home half of the inning.
Looking to ride the momentum offensively, Abby Shoulders would draw a leadoff walk to begin the Racer half of the sixth, while Brenna Finck would follow with a single up the middle to put two runners on the bases with nobody out. Finck would advance to second on a fielder’s choice in the following sequence, and would later advance to third after Lillie Goetz grounded to first base. Madison Culver would draw a two out walk to load the bases, but the Racers were unable to add to their margin, stranding three and clinging to a 2-0 lead entering the final frame.
Makowsky would see four batters in the seventh, but closed the door on any hopes of a Mastodon rally, recording the final three outs to cap her complete game shutout performance in the circle for the Racers. Makowsky, who had earned her first victory as a Racer less than 24 hours prior to the first pitch against the Mastodons, improved to 2-0 on the year as she allowed just three hits while striking out seven through her seven innings of work on the day.
At the plate, Brenna Finck, Sierra Gilmore, and Abby Shoulders collected base hits, while Gilmore and Lindsey Carroll were responsible for driving in the two Murray State runs in the 2-0 victory over Purdue Fort Wayne.
Game 2: Murray State 5, Samford 1:
Meeting with Samford for the second time at the Racer Classic, the Racers got things going offensively in the second inning when Sierra Gilmore clobbered a two-run home run, driving in Madison Culver who had singled to begin the inning. Her second round-tripper of 2019 would give the Racers a 2-0 lead over the Bulldogs through two innings of action in the final game of the Racer Classic.
Hannah James, who got the ball in the circle for the Racers in game two of the afternoon, found her groove early on as she faced just one batter above the minimum in the first three innings, seeing just 10 through the end of the third.
In the Racer half of the third, Lillie Goetz and Madison Culver drew back-to-back walks before Lexi Jones would be hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Racers with two outs in the inning. Logan Braundmeier stepped to the plate with the bases full, and would earn an RBI when another base on balls forced in a Racer run. Murray State would hold a 3-0 advantage through the end of three innings of play.
After James worked a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, the Racers would tack on another run in the home half after the speedy Jensen Striegel scored from second on a deep fly ball off the bat of Lindsey Carroll to give the Racers a 4-0 edge through the end of the fourth.
The Bulldogs would string together three hits in the fifth to ruin the shutout when an RBI single from Ryan Brzozoski would drive in Mekhi Mayfield for the first Samford run of the competition. With one out and the bases loaded, Hannah James would limit the damage to just a single run, working out of the jam and preserving a 3-1 Racer lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Amber Van Duyse came on to pitch for the Racers in the sixth, inheriting a baserunner after a leadoff double put Hannah Trombley on second with nobody out. Van Duyse would proceed to work a crafty sixth for Murray State, shutting down the next three Bulldog batters in order to end the inning.
The Racers would increase their lead in the home half of the sixth via an RBI double to center field from Lillie Goetz, driving in Jensen Striegel who drew a walk to begin the inning. The run would expand the lead to four, as the Racers held a 5-1 lead to begin the seventh.
Van Duyse would continue to fool Bulldog batters in the final frame, retiring the side in order to secure a 5-1 Racer victory to conclude the Racer Classic. Van Duyse would earn the save after working two scoreless innings without surrendering a hit, while Hannah James would record the win for Murray State. The final line for James would feature just one earned run on five hits through her five innings in the circle.
Head coach Kara Amundson pointed towards excellent pitching performances as a big factor in their day two victories. “Our pitching won the day today…we gave up one run on the day, which is a pretty big deal against teams that can really hit the ball.”
Speaking on the weekend overall, she added that her team bounced back after dropping the opening game of the tournament to Northern Iowa. “I think we responded off of that first game, where we had chances to win, and came back with three really good wins on the weekend.”
The Racers have an opportunity to add to their three-game win streak on Friday, as they return to action to face Texas Tech in the first of five tournament games in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dan Hasko, Murray State Media Relations