Pitching shines, bats falter for Racers against Kentucky


Freshman left-handed pitcher Ethan Lyke strikes out nine batters in the loss to the UK Wildcats. Photo by Rebeca Mertins Chiodini/The News.

Jakob Milani, Sports Editor

Sixteen strikeouts was not enough for Murray State baseball as the team took a 6-2 loss at University of Kentucky on Tuesday, March 7.

The Racers’ pitching staff not only struck out 16 Wildcats in the game, but also walked only one batter. However, they gave up 11 hits which led to five runs batted in for Kentucky.

The first inning was a silent one for the Racers as they went down in order to the Wildcats’ starting pitcher, right-handed Travis Smith. Smith entered the game with a 2-0 record and a 2.66 ERA.

In the bottom of the first inning, Kentucky was able to strike first as sophomore infielder Émilien Pitre hit a two-run home run, bringing in senior infielder Jase Felker to make it 2-0 Wildcats.

Murray State put a run on the board in the top of the second as junior catcher Ethan Krizen hit a single up the left side to bring sophomore infielder Riley Hawthorne around third and to home plate.

The Racers tied the game up at two runs apiece in the third inning with a triple from graduate outfielder Brennan McCullough that allowed sophomore outfielder Dustin Mercer to make his way home.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Ethan Lyke got the start for the Racers in the one-game series. Despite giving three hits and two runs in the first, he remained on the bump for the next five innings for Murray State.

Lyke was the primary contributor to the Racers’ high strikeout number against the Wildcats, striking out nine batters over five innings of play. Eight of those K’s came after the first inning, including three strikeouts in the bottom of the third inning.

All looked good for Lyke until the sixth inning, where he gave up back-to-back singles and was pulled from the game. He gave up six hits and walked just one of the 23 batters he faced.

After forcing a throwing error from stealing third, Pitre ran home to put the Wildcats up 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, with the run unearned.

Two innings later, senior infielder Hunter Gilliam hit a triple into left field, allowing Pitre and sophomore catcher Devin Burkes to score, extending the Wildcats’ lead to three runs.

It didn’t take long for Gilliam to reach home as the very next batter, sophomore outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt, singled up the middle of the infield. Gilliam touched home plate and put the Wildcats up 6-2 heading into the top of the ninth.

The Racers’ dreams ended quickly in the ninth as all three batters went down in order. Murray State left Kentucky Proud Park with its ninth loss of the season.

McCullough, Hawthorne and Krizen were the only Racers with hits, as the team had just three hits. Murray State drew four walks while striking out 11 times and leaving five runners on base.

Pitre and Gilliam led the Wildcats in hits in the game, with both players going 3-4 at the plate. They both also had two RBIs.

Murray State drops to 4-9 on the season with two weeks before conference play begins. The Racers play host to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers in a three-game series next. 

Game one will be played on Friday, March 10, with first pitch set for 3 p.m.


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