The Murray State softball team went 1-1 on the second day of the 2017 Mercer Invitational Saturday at Sikes Field in Macon, Georgia. The Racers beat Dayton, 5-2, in the opener, but fell to Kent State, 14-5 in six innings, in the night cap.
Game 1 – Murray State 5, Dayton 2
Senior Jocelynn Rodgers helped give Murray State an early 1-0 lead in the first when she doubled down the left field line to score senior Jessica Twaddle, who reached on a walk. MSU extended its lead in the third inning when Taylor Odom blasted a two-run shot over the fence in center field, marking the fifth home run in just three games for the Racers.

Murray State would go on to add two more runs in the fourth on a RBI fielder’s choice from senior Jessica Twaddle that led to an error by Dayton and allowed the Racers to extend their lead to 5-0. The Flyers would finally cut into the lead in the fifth after starting the frame with three hits in the first four at bats. However, from that point on, the Racer defense clamped down and stranded four runners in the final three innings to pick up the 5-2 win.

Senior Maggie Glass continued to find ways to get on base in the contest going 1-for-2 with two walks, giving her five free passes in the last two games. Sophomore Brenna Finck and freshman Kaylee Ranburger rounded out the Racers with hits in the contest with each also a run. Senior Mason Robinson went the distance for the second straight game and earned the win by allowing two runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

Game 2 – Kent St. 14, Murray St. 5 (6 Inn.)
The Racers had an early opportunity at the lead in game two by loading the bases with no outs in the top of the first. Despite the advantage, the Racers could not push any runs across and left three runner stranded. In the bottom of the inning, Maddy Grimm helped Kent State take advantage of the situation and put her team on top with a three-run home run. In the very next at bat, Holy Speers made it 4-0 for the Golden Flashes with a solo home run of her own.

In the third, Speers helped push the Kent State lead to 5-0 when she scored on an illegal pitch. Murray State finally got on the board in the fourth on a pair of RBI singles from sophomore Madison Culver and Odom. After MSU cut the lead to 5-2 in the top of the inning, Grimm responded in the bottom of the inning with her second three-run blast of the game, to give the Golden Flashes an 8-2 lead.

In the fifth, the Racers narrowed the lead back to three, thanks to an RBI-single from Twaddle and two-run double from senior Cayla Levins. However, despite the ground gained by MSU in the top of the frame, Grimm answered the call for Kent State again in the bottom, this time with an RBI-double to push the lead to 9-5.
After the Racers did not score in the sixth, the Golden Flashes took away their opportunity to respond in the seventh with a two-RBI single from Jen Cader and a three-run home run from Hunter Brancifort to end the game via the eight-run rule.

Twaddle led MSU offensively in the game by going a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with two walks, two runs and a RBI. Junior Haven Campbell took the loss in the circle for Murray State by allowing three earned runs on four hits with one walk and strikeouts over 2.0 innings of work.

On Sunday, the Racers will have a shot at redemption against The Golden Flashes as the two teams will close out the Mercer Invitational at 1:15 p.m. ET.

by Parker Griffith

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