‘Breds drop series opener at home

Sophomore Rick Linton runs to first base during Friday's 15-5 loss. Linton recorded one of the 'Breds eight hits of the game.
Sophomore Rick Linton runs to first base during Friday's 15-5 loss. Linton recorded one of the 'Breds eight hits of the game.

Sophomore Rick Linton runs to first base during Friday’s 15-5 loss. Linton recorded one of the ‘Breds eight hits of the game.

It was a snowy wet day today at Johnny Reagan Field as the Murray State ‘Breds took on the Canisius College Golden Griffins.

This was the first time in history the two teams have met up. ‘Breds Head Coach Rob McDonald said the Canisius team looked like a very good club.

“They have got a bunch of athletic looking guys,” he said. “I think they are a good club, they historically are a good team up in their league.”

Murray State pitchers struggled as the Golden Griffins used multiple heavy hitting innings to defeat the ‘Breds 15-5. This loss ends the ‘Breds four-game winning streak at home.

The Golden Griffins starting pitcher Garrett Cortright proved difficult for the ‘Breds hitters. They could not get a hit off of him until the bottom of the second.

“Their pitcher shut us down pretty good and we just got beat,” McDonald said. “Nothing tricky about it we just got beat.”

The ‘Breds who usually start off the game strong, with runs in the first inning, did not put up a run until the fifth inning. It was the Golden Griffins who got on the board early in the first. Starting pitcher senior Will Handlin struggled allowing Canisius to score three runs and putting the ‘Breds in a tough situation early.

Canisius continued their scoring ways in the third inning putting up another three runs making the scored 6-0 and putting Murray State in a bigger bind.

In the fifth inning the ‘Breds finally put a run up on the scoreboard. Freshman Taylor Mathews started the rally when he struck out swinging, however he reached first on a passed ball. Sophomore Rick Linton grounded-out but advanced Mathews to second. Senior Paul Ritzheimer brought Mathews home as he singled to right field. Senior Ty Stetson was up to bat next. He reached first on a fielders choice but Ritzheimer was tagged out at second ending the inning.

The Golden Griffins had a strong showing in the seventh inning. Scoring four runs, making the score a dominating 10-1. The ‘Breds tried to rally again in the eighth. Senior Mike Kozlowski earned an RBI when he singled to right field off of Canisius reliever Mike Tolsma. The play advanced junior Greg Guest to second and senior Brandon Elliott scored.

Ben Lott was brought in to pinch hit for Junior Brandon Eggenschwiler. Lott singled to right, which put a ‘Breds player on all three bases.

The Golden Griffins brought in Jason Rubenstein to relieve Tolsma, which would end up being a mistake. Three wild pitches, two in a row, brought home runs for Murray State. Guest, Kozlowski and Lott all scored when Canisius catcher, Brooklyn Foster, could not keep hold of the ball. Rubenstein would settle down after getting out of the inning with no more scores.

The ‘Breds hoped to keep the momentum from the eighth inning rolling into the ninth, however Canisius scored four runs off of three ‘Breds pitchers. The last ‘Breds player was struck which ended the game in a 15-5 loss.

Handlin took the loss allowing six runs in three innings of work. Four other pitchers contributed in the loss. Freshman Sheldon Baxter was pitcher for 3.2 innings allowing four runs and four hits. Freshman Cody Maerz took his turn on the mound next, with four runs and two hits. Freshman Mason Barber made his ‘Breds pitching debut in the ninth inning. He allowed two hits and a run in 0.1 innings of work. Senior Joe Major was brought in to face one hitter in the ninth, which he struck out quickly.

“We threw good pitchers, but today, especially in the first two innings, we struggled,” McDonald said. “We just had a hard time making the pitches we were wanting to make. These guys will do better next time out.”

Murray State only had eight hits in the game compared to 16 by Canisius. Kozlowski and Ritzheimer had the two RBIs of the game.

The pitch of the middle game of the series is set to go at 2 p.m. Saturday.

 Story by Jaci Kohn, Sports Editor.