Garner’s homer caps mid-week victory


Sophomore infielder Carson Garner hits a home run to give the Racers an 8-7 win over the North Alabama Lions on Tuesday, April 25. Photo by Rebeca Mertins Chiodini/The News.

Jakob Milani, Sports Editor

Seven unanswered runs ended with a walkoff home run for the Murray State baseball team, as the Racers defeated the University of North Alabama Lions on Tuesday, April 25.

After going down 7-1 through the top of the fifth inning, the Racers were able to score runs in the bottom of the fifth, seventh and eighth innings, setting up the walkoff homer from sophomore infielder Carson Garner and giving the Racers the win.

Murray State went through seven different pitchers in the nine-inning contest, with graduate right hander Ben Krizen taking the bump to start the game. In the single inning of action he had, he faced six batters and struck one out, keeping the Lions off the board.

As freshman left-handed pitcher Joe Peca took the mound for the Racers in the second inning, he walked a batter and gave up a double. This set up a three-run home run from freshman infielder Jackson Ferrigno, putting the Lions up 3-0.

Peca gave up another double in the third inning and was quickly pulled. With a new pitcher in the game for the Racers, senior designated hitter Cal Cook stepped up to the plate and hit a double, bringing home graduate utility player Andrew Knight for the Lions’ fourth run.

The Racers got on the board in the bottom of the third with a fielder’s choice RBI from sophomore outfielder Dustin Mercer that allowed freshman utility player Gunnar Bingham to score.

Another run came across for the Lions in the top of the fourth inning with a single from freshman shortstop Gehrig Frei that brought graduate infielder Kyle Machado home.

Machado grabbed an RBI for himself in the top of the fifth inning with a single that brought around junior catcher Levi Jensen to score, putting the Lions up 7-1.

Murray State needed a comeback. It began in the bottom of the fifth inning with a walk from sophomore infielder Parker Estes and a single from junior infielder Logan Bland.

Mercer then stepped up to the plate and grabbed his second RBI of the day with a single that allowed Estes to score from second base.

Sophomore catcher Charlie Corum followed it up with a single, scoring Bland and cutting the Lions’ lead to four runs with four innings left to play.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, graduate first baseman Brennan McCullough hit a ground-rule double to start the inning, and sophomore infielder Riley Hawthorne singled up the middle to bring McCullough home, making the score 7-4 with the Racers trailing.

Murray State added on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, with the first coming from a double by Estes, bringing around senior outfielder Seth Gardner to score.

North Alabama sent in a new pitcher, but Bland stepped up as the next batter and hammered a triple to left center field that brought Estes home to score and cut the lead to one run.

One batter later, Mercer tied the game with a single up the middle that allowed Bland to score. As the game entered the ninth inning, the teams were tied at seven runs apiece.

In the top of the ninth, the Racers put in junior right-handed pitcher Nathan Holler to close out the game. He struck out two of three batters to keep the Lions at seven runs.

The bottom of the ninth came around, and Garner stepped up to lead off the inning.  With just one pitch and the swing of the bat, Garner made sure there was no need for extra innings as he smacked a home run to left field, walking the game off. The Racers won 8-7.

Garner’s home run was his one and only hit of the game, as he went 1-4 at the plate in the game. 

Mercer led the Racers at the plate, going 3-5 in the game with three RBIs. Estes and Bland each had a pair of hits and an RBI each, while five other hitters had one hit each.

The seven Racer pitchers in the game combined for 12 strikeouts against the 46 batters faced, but gave up 12 hits and four walks, hitting three batters with pitches.

Murray State improved to 22-20 on the season, the fifth best record in the MVC. The Racers also sit at fifth in the Valley with an 8-7 record.

Murray State travels to Nashville, Tennessee, for a three-game conference matchup against the Belmont Bruins on Friday, April 28. First pitch for the series is set for 5 p.m.


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