Murray State made the trip to Martin, Tennessee on Friday evening for an Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader against the Skyhawks of UT Martin. The Racers, who entered the contests in a tie with SEMO atop the OVC standings, took sole possession of first place after earning victories of 5-4 and 3-0 to sweep the Skyhawks and improve to 10-2 in OVC competition.
Game 1: Murray State 5, UT Martin 4:
The Racer bats were alive and well from the game’s first pitch, as Murray State put up three runs in the opening frame to capture a 3-0 lead after one inning of action. Sierra Gilmore would crush her fifth home run of the year to open the scoring for her side, launching a three-run blast to left field that scored Lillie Goetz and Jensen Striegel to spark the Racers offense.
Murray State would pick up right where they left off in the following inning when Lexi Jones sent an 0-1 delivery over the wall in left center. The solo shot would make it 4-0 in favor of the Racers as the game entered the home half of the second inning.
The Skyhawks would get the run back in the bottom half when Aalia Bivens scored from second on a Kallie Pickens single to left center, but the Racers would still control the ballgame with 4-1 lead through two innings of action.
After a leadoff double from Lindsey Carroll put a Racer runner in scoring position to begin the third, Murray State would score in the third consecutive inning when Carroll came around to score on an RBI-single from Logan Braundmeier. The Racers would hold a 5-1 advantage through the end of three complete innings.
Hannah James would cap an effective outing in the circle for the Racers by working a scoreless fourth frame before Ellison Barrett would take over in the fifth for Murray State. The Skyhawks would see a bit of life after cutting the Racer lead to just two runs through the end of the fifth inning, but the score would still read 5-3 in favor of the Murray State with two innings to play.
The game would not see its next run until the final inning, when UT Martin cut the lead to a single run on a two-out solo home run from Gracyn McBride. With the Racers clinging to a one-run lead and the Skyhawks down to their final out, Barrett would retire the final batter of the ballgame to secure a 5-4 victory for Murray State in game one of the doubleheader.
Hannah James picked up her 10th win of the season, surrendering just two earned runs through her four-inning shift on the day. Ellison Barrett would earn her second save of 2019 after her three innings of work preserved the Racer lead in the closing stages of the ballgame.
Game 2: Murray State 3, UT Martin 0:
The Racers would once again waste no time at the dish, plating the first run of the contest in the opening frame of game two. Madison Culver drove in Brenna Finck to give the Racers a 1-0 lead in the first inning of action.
With Taylor Makowsky getting the nod in the circle for the Racers in game two, she would keep batters guessing in the opening stages, retiring the first six Skyhawk batters in order through the first two innings of play.
While the Racers were unable to add to their lead in the third and fourth frames, they would extend their lead with a pair of scores in the fifth inning of the competition. A Lillie Goetz two-out double scored two Murray State runs, widening the margin to 3-0 through the visiting half of the fifth.
Makowsky continued to cruise in the circle for the Racers as she would hold the Skyhawks to just two hits in the first six innings of the ballgame while protecting the 3-0 Murray State lead entering the final inning of the afternoon.
UT Martin would manage one more hit in the seventh, but back-to-back strikeouts for Makowsky would close the door on any hopes of a Skyhawk comeback as the Racers completed the doubleheader sweep with a 3-0 triumph in game two.
Makowsky would improve to 7-2 in the circle for the Racers after her complete game shutout performance in game two capped a fantastic afternoon for Racer pitchers. She would fan four Skyhawk batters while not issuing a single walk in the ballgame, allowing just three hits in her seven innings of work.
The Racers will return to the field on Sunday as they take on SEMO in another OVC doubleheader on the road in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Dan Hasko, Murray State Media Relations