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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Baseball grabs extra innings win on the road

Sophomore infielder Jacob Pennington had 2 hits and two RBIs in the Racers win over SIU on Tuesday, May 3. Photo courtesy of Dave Winder/Racer Athletics.

Jakob Milani
Sports Editor
[email protected]

An extra innings contest allowed Murray State’s baseball team to get a win on Southern Illinois University on Tuesday, May 3.

The Racers, who defeated the Salukis 5-2 in 12 innings, had seven hits and five RBIs in the game despite striking out 12 times.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Fender took the mound to start, repping a season-low 5.49 ERA. After walking a batter in the bottom of the first, he forced a double-play and then struck out his third batter of the inning.

The Racers’ offense started out slow, with the lead off man, graduate center fielder Jake Slunder ,striking out. The next two batters after Slunder grounded out.

Junior first baseman Brennan McCullough managed to get on base for the Racers in the top of the second inning by drawing a walk.

Despite him stealing second to get into scoring position, McCullough was left stranded on base, and the Racers came away without a run on the board.

After putting out the first two batters on the bottom of the second, Fender loaded the bases with two walks and a fielding error from sophomore shortstop Drew Vogel. Fender worked his way by forcing a fly out, and the Racers escaped the second inning clean.

In the third inning, sophomore second baseman Riley Hawthorne drew a walk to start the inning, but a double play put the Racers down. Then, in the fourth inning, a strikeout and two flyouts were all the Racers could muster.

While the Salukis also struggled in the third and fourth, they were the first on the board with a run in the bottom of the fifth.

With one out and a 2-0 count in his favor, senior second baseman Grey Epps hit a deep ball that sailed over the center field fence, giving the Salukis a 1-0 lead. That was enough to chase Fender from the game and bring in the bullpen.

The Racers were quick to answer back in the top of the sixth with two runs of their own.

The first run came from freshman left fielder Carson Garner, who on the first pitch of the inning belted a home run ball to straightaway center.

After reaching first on a dropped third strike, Slunder made his way to second base on a single from sophomore designated hitter Jacob Pennington. Then, senior third baseman Bryson Bloomer hit a sacrifice fly and brought Slunder home for the second Racer run.

While the Racers managed two more hits in the top of the seventh inning, they left one on base after Garner grounded into a double play. The Salukis also left a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh after Epps drew a walk.

The game was tied up in the bottom half of the eighth inning as junior shortstop Kaeber Rog hit a home run to right field.

Despite a hit from the Racers in the top half of the ninth, another double play ball ended their inning. In the home half of the ninth, the Salukis mustered up just one hit and left the runner stranded, sending the game into extra innings.

Just one runner got on base between both teams through the tenth and eleventh innings, with five of the six batters in the eleventh inning grounding out.

The scoring finally came in the form of a bases-loaded walk drawn by Slunder, allowing McCullough to trot home for the Racers.

Two more runs crossed for the Racers when Pennington singled to right-center to bring in freshman right fielder Dustin Mercer and graduate catcher Alex Crump, putting the Racers up 5-2.

Despite Epps drawing a walk on a full count, the Salukis were unable to get any runs on the board. The Racers defeated the Salukis 5-2 in 12 innings.

The Racers left seven runners on base and drew six walks in the game. The Salukis had two RBIs on five hits in the game, leaving eight runners on base and striking out nine times.

Murray State improved to 25-19 overall this season with its 9-9 conference record being untouched by the game. The Racers will travel to take on Austin Peay in a three-game series from Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 8. First pitch of game one is set for 6 p.m.

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