Murray State used an eight-run bottom of the first inning and five home runs total for the game to power its way to a 17-11 victory Friday night at Reagan Field over Eastern Kentucky in the first game of a three-game set between the two.
The Racers (23-23, 11-11 OVC) pounded out 19 hits in the victory and scored in each of the first five innings to build up as much as a 13-run lead at one point. MSU hit three home runs in the opening inning to jump to the big lead.
Brandon Gutzler and Kipp Moore both launched three-run homers to right field in the opening stanza while a two-run shot from Jaron Robinson later in the inning made it 8-0. After MSU added three runs in the bottom of the second to make it 11-0, the Colonels (22-24, 8-14 OVC) were able to cut into the Racer lead with four runs in the third.
After a two-run homer to right center from Jack Hranec pushed the lead back up to 13-4, Moore would lead off the fourth with a solo shot, his second long ball of the game. MSU would get two more runs in the inning with RBI singles from Adam Bauer and Tyler Lawrence, making the score 16-4. An RBI groundout from Robinson in the fifth gave the Racers their biggest lead of the game at 17-4.
The Colonels would slowly claw back into the game however, scoring the last seven runs of the contest and left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning before a Caleb Arbeiter strikeout ended the threat.
Aaron Bence and Hranec each led the way at the plate on the night by going 3-for-6. Robinson was 2-for-3 and tied for the team lead on the night with Moore with four ribbies each. Meanwhile, Davis Sims went 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and Bauer was 1-of-3 with three walks and three runs scored. In all, four Racers had multiple RBIs in the win and all nine starters recorded at least one hit each.
Ryan Dills picked up his fourth win of the season in the contest as he pitched 5.1 innings and struck-out five batters. Alec Whaley also appeared in relief along with Arbeiter.
Game two of the series is set for 2 p.m., Saturday at Reagan Field.
by Kevin DeVries