Kipp Moore delivered a base hit to center field to score Jaron Robinson from second and Ryan Perkins hit his first career home run the next at-bat to cushion the Murray State lead as the Racers won a wild, 11-8 game against Alcorn State in 16 innings on Monday.
The 16 innings played is just one shy of the OVC record of 17 innings played. Moore went 5-for-7 on the day and led the Racers (4-0) with three RBIs in the victory. Brandon Gutzler and Robinson both had three-hit days as they went 3-for-8 and 3-for-7 respectively. Perkins also had a multi-hit game as he went 2-for-6.
MSU squandered an early 5-0 lead and an 8-4 ninth inning lead as the Braves (2-2) scored four runs each in the bottom of the eighth and ninth. The Racers got on the board in the fourth on a Tyler Lawrence RBI groundout that scored Gutzler. MSU then put together a four-run top of the sixth to push the lead to 5-0.
A Robinson double and a two-run single to left from Moore did most of the damage in the inning. The Racers were helped the first part of the game by three fielding errors by the Braves. Alcorn battled back to cut the Racer lead to 5-4 in the eighth. In the top of the ninth, MSU looked to gain some much needed breathing room with three runs in the inning. A two-run blast to left from Gutzler made it 7-4 and a Davis Sims RBI single two batters later made the score 8-4.
Alcorn wouldn’t go away however, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth. The Braves began the rally with an RBI single and then with two outs in the inning, Walter Vives delivered a two-RBI hit to left field that got under the glove of the Racer outfielder and continued to the wall, scoring the game-tying run.
Both teams squandered good opportunities to score in extra innings. The Racer defense was excellent in the extra frames, turning three of their four double plays in the game in extras, including a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Jack Hranec got the start on the mound and was great in a no-decision. Hranec pitched six innings and allowed just two hits and struck-out four. MSU used a total of six relievers in the win and none were bigger than Alec Whaley who earned his first career win. Whaley pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless baseball and allowed just four hits.
In all, the Racers racked up 17 hits, eight of which went for extra bases and left 16 on base. The Braves had 13 hits, all of which were singles and left 10 stranded.
MSU is 4-0 for the first time since 2010, the last time the Racers advanced to the OVC Tournament. The Racers return to action for their home opener this weekend as Buffalo comes to Reagan Field for a three-game series beginning Friday at 3 p.m.