Kent State sweeps Racers in two games


Junior catcher Taylor Howell hits a home run in the first inning in game two against Kent State. Photo by Rebeca Mertins Chiodini/The News.

Jakob Milani, Sports Editor

A two-game home series slipped through the Murray State baseball team’s fingers as they dropped back-to-back games to Kent State University on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and Wednesday, March 1.

The Racers combined for seven runs over the two games, but had trouble fighting at the plate, striking out a total 27 times in the series against the Golden Flashes’ pitching.

Game One

After giving up a pair of walks to start the first inning, freshman left hander Ethan Lyke forced a lineout and a double play to end the top half of the first inning.

Sophomore infielder Carson Garner put the Racers on the board first with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, bringing junior catcher Taylor Howell across home plate.

Despite the early lead, the Golden Flashes’ pitching held the Racers scoreless over the next five innings. In that time, Kent State’s offense took over.

Junior designated hitter Aiden Longwell got the scoring started with a single in the top of the third inning, which allowed junior infielder Kyle Jackson to cross home plate. 

The scoring continued in the top of the fourth as sophomore outfielder Jake Casey hit a solo homer to tie the game up. Before the fourth inning came to an end, freshman catcher Brody Williams tacked on another run with a solo home run to left field, putting the Golden Flashes up 3-2.

In the sixth inning, senior second baseman Mack Timbrook hit yet another homer, putting Kent State up 4-2.

The seventh inning came around, and the Racers began to try a comeback, with junior infielder Logan Bland batting a double and allowing graduate outfielder Brennan McCullough to score. 

After a solo shot from sophomore outfielder Dustin Mercer in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Racers were tied at 4, and the Golden Flashes were down to three outs.

In the top half of the ninth, Longwell made the Racers pay with a triple that brought in graduate outfielder Colin Matthews to give Kent State a lead. After a single brought Longwell home, the Golden Flashes were up by two runs with the Racers down to their last three outs.

The Racers failed to put anything on the board, though, and Kent State took game one 6-4. Junior right-handed pitcher Nathan Holler took the loss for the Racers after giving up two runs in the ninth.

Game Two

It was a new day for the Racers come game two, and it showed in the bottom half of the first inning.

Junior outfielder Cade Sammons was the hitting lead off for the Racers and slashed a double out to right field. Two batters later, Howell smashed a two-run home run out to left field, putting the Racers up 2-0 early.

After a scoreless second inning, Kent State went to work in the top of the third.

After drawing a walk to lead off the inning, Jackson scored off a double from Matthews to get the Golden Flashes on the board. Then, Longwell smacked a two-run homer that brought in Jackson, making it 3-2.

Junior infielder Michael McNamara added another run after forcing an overthrow on a steal to third. The overthrow allowed McNamara to cross home plate and put Kent State up 4-2.

In the bottom half of the inning, McCullough stole second, then scored off a throwing error to cut the lead down to one run.

However, the runs stopped coming in on both sides after the fourth inning. Without any late game offense from the Racers, the Golden Flashes swept the series with a 4-3 win in game two.

The Racers struck out 15 times in game two and left nine runners on base. The Golden Flashes struck out just five times in the game and had seven hits, leaving five runners on base.

Murray State dropped to 2-7 on the season so far and 0-3 at home. The Racers host Northern Kentucky University for a three-game series over the weekend, with first pitch for game one set for 3 p.m. on Friday, March 3.


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