Murray State got a five-run fifth inning after jumping out to an early lead Tuesday night at Johnny Reagan Field, as the Racers snapped their five-game skid with a 9-1 victory over Harris-Stowe State.
MSU (16-16) scored two first inning runs to take the quick lead and would cruise from there on out. Brandon Gutzler scored from second on a throwing error by the Hornets (25-15) to score the Racers’ first run of the game. Then in the next at-bat, Jack Hranec delivered an RBI double down the left field line to score Tyler Lawrence and put MSU up 2-0.
After a HSSU run in the top of the third cut the Racers’ lead in half, MSU responded by scoring in each of the next three innings. Adam Bauer hit his third home run of the season in the bottom half of the third to make the score 3-1 before a Jaron Robinson RBI single up the middle in the fourth pushed the lead to 4-1.
In the fifth, Gutzler scored again on a Hornet miscue, this time on a balk by the HSSU pitcher put MSU out front 5-1. Tyler Lawrence would score later in the inning on another error by the Hornets before Ryan Perkins belted his seventh homer of the season to make it 9-1. Perkins is now tied with Gutzler for the team lead with seven round-trippers this year.
Hranec, Lawrence and Robinson all led the Racers with two hits each as seven of the nine MSU starters recorded a hit on the night.
John Lollar picked up his second win of the season as he got the start on the mound. In a split-start decision, Lollar went four innings and allowed just the one run on three hits while striking out a career-high eight batters including the first five of the game.
Luke Brown, Blake Clynes, Chad Gendron, Tyler Horsley, Justin Perkins and even Caleb Hicks combined to pitch a scoreless final five innings in the victory.
The Racers return to conference play later this week as they begin a three-game series at conference-leading Tennessee Tech. Game one is set for 6 p.m., on Thursday. The series is shifted up a day from its usual Friday start due to the Easter holiday.
by Kevin DeVries