The Murray State baseball team dropped the first the game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Tennessee Tech and trailed late in game two, but the Racers rallied to pull out a hard-earned split with the Golden Eagles.
TTU won game one by a score of 10-3 before the Racers earned the series win with a 14-7 victory in game two. It is the fourth straight OVC series win for Murray State to begin the season as they now sit in sole possession of first place with an 8-4 conference record.
Wes Schad and Jordan Cozart came up huge in game two as they combined to go 7-10 with nine RBI. Cozart went 4-5 with four RBI while Schad smacked two home runs including a go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh inning.
“The guys have been resilient all year. I think they’re confident they can fight back,” said head coach Dan Skirka. “It’s been different guys stepping up which is nice. Wes had a great game, Cozart had a great game and then Cook coming in putting up zeroes when we really needed it was huge.”
Schad looked like he he gave the Racers an early 2-0 lead in the first with a double down the line, but after being called fair initially, the call was overturned. However, the redshirt-freshman produced an even better outcome two pitches later when he blasted a three-run home run to right-center field.
The Racers added two more runs in the second on a fielder’s choice by Jake Slunder and a single from Ryan Perkins before Sean Darmafall and Cozart hit back-to-back doubles in the third inning to give the Racers a 6-0 lead.
Tennessee Tech chipped away with a run each in the third and sixth before a five-run seventh, including a go-ahead grand slam, put them up 7-6 with just two innings to play
In the eighth, Tyler Duke walked to lead off the inning before Schad delivered with his second home run of the game and third of the series to take an 8-7 lead. The Racers then proceeded to score two more two-out runs on a double by Cozart and a Golden Eagle error.
Now with a three-run lead, the Racers turned to Braydon Cook to try to lock it down and he did just that, retiring the side in order.
“We lost the strike zone a little bit today, which happens, but you got to be able to fight through it and put up zeroes and to know we had Cook in the back end of the bullpen was really nice,” added Skirka. “He’s been lights out for us and did it again today.”
The Racers added four more insurance runs in the ninth on a two-run error and two-run single by Cozart.
Cook then came back out to pitch the ninth and kept TTU off the board to earn his third save of the season.
Earlier in the day in game one, the Golden Eagles scored four runs in the first and never looked back as they cruised to a 10-3 victory.
Shane Burns got the start on the mound for the Racers and after a tough start, settled down to strike out a career-high 10 batters.
Perkins had a home run and RBI double to lead the offense while Cozart also contributed with two hits of his own to give him six for the day.
The Racers will return home to face Middle Tennessee, Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. before hosting Southeast Missouri next weekend. It will be alumni weekend and Saturday will be Johnny Reagan Day as the program will retire the late former coach’s number with his family and many former players in attendance.


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