The Eastern Kentucky University baseball team could not withstand the offensive onslaught of the Murray State University Racers, losing game one of the series, 17-11, Friday night at Reagan Field.
The Racers jumped out to an early lead, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the first, giving them an 8-0 lead. After a three-run bottom of the second Murray State took an 11-0 lead into the third.
The Colonels (22-24, 8-14 OVC) started chipping away at the MSU lead in the third. Ryland Kerr notched the first hit of the inning with a single to left field. Cornell Nixon followed with a single to right field. Nick Howie came to the plate next and singled, scoring Kerr and giving Nixon time to make it to third. After a wild pitch let Nixon score and moved Howie to second, Ben Fisher singled, plating Howie. Alex Holderbach added to the hit party with a single to left field, and Daniel McFarland sent a ball through the left side to load the bases. Logan Starnes scored the last run of the inning with a single through the left side that brought Fisher home. EKU faced an 11-4 deficit heading to the bottom of the third.
Murray State responded with a two-run bottom of the third, and continued adding to its lead with a three-run fourth and a one-run fifth to take a 17-4 lead into the sixth.
Not ready to throw in the towel, EKU came out to make some noise in the sixth. Brenden Overton started the inning by drawing a walk. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored off a Kerr single. Nixon singled to left field in the next at-bat, and Howie followed him with another single that sent Kerr across home plate. Fisher stepped into the batter’s box next and launched a sacrifice fly into right field, bringing Nixon home. After Holderbach took a base on balls, McFarland singled to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Howie to score, and once again EKU used a four-run inning to cut into the MSU lead, making it 17-8.
Still facing a 17-8 deficit in the top of the eighth, Eastern would continue trying to mount a comeback. Fisher walked to start the inning and advanced to second and then third on two different wild pitches. A Sullivan single through the right side plated Fisher. McFarland singled to put runners on first and second, and in the next at bat Matt Olive came on to pinch hit and reached base on an error which allowed Sullivan to score. EKU was in a 17-10 hole after the eighth.
Needing a big inning to finish the comeback, Howie started the ninth by sending a ball over the wall in center field, the eighth home run of the year for the freshman. That, however, is where the Eastern rally ended as the Colonels fell, 17-11.
Howie led the way for EKU with three hits, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Nixon was no slouch as he picked up four hits and two runs. Kerr had three hits, two runs and one RBI, while McFarland finished the night with three hits.
The Colonels return to Reagan Field for game two of the series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
— www.EKUSports.com —
EKUSports Communications Intern