There were no positives to take away from Tuesday’s loss for ’Breds Head Coach Rob McDonald.
“It was just a really bad game about any way you want to look at it,” McDonald said. “Our pitching was not nearly what we need, and we didn’t help them out defensively.”
Murray State (7-7, 2-1) fell to the visiting Arkansas State Red Wolves 27-7, allowing 19 hits and committing six team errors.
The Murray State pitching staff was torched by the Red Wolves’ hitters early and often.
Junior starting pitcher Kyle Cornett gave up five runs in the first, none of them earned, as the team committed three errors in the inning. Cornett exited the game with one out in the top of the second.
“We had some opportunities to do some things defensively and we didn’t,” McDonald said. “They hit the ball well and to be honest, their hitters were a whole lot better than our pitchers were today, and that’s just calling it like it is.”
Freshman Tyler Lawrence gave Murray State its first run in the home half, singling home senior Ty Stetson from third base.
However, the ’Breds pitchers could not keep Arkansas State off the scoreboard.
The Red Wolves added three more in the second, five in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth, three in the seventh and seven in the eighth. Arkansas State’s Austin Baker led the offense with five RBIs behind a three-run home run and two solo shots.
Murray State showed signs of life in the fourth when sophomore Taylor Mathews homered to left center, scoring junior Clay Fuson and freshman Matthew Johnson to cut the deficit to 10.
The team added three more in the sixth but it was too little, too late.
McDonald made no excuses for the ’Breds, who were coming off an extra-inning loss in which they erased a nine-run lead by Morehead to force extra innings. Murray State eventually fell 11-10 in 12 innings Monday night.
“They’re a good club and they were way better than us today,” he said. “They hit the ball hard and it was just more of a matter of they were better today.”
He said Arkansas State played yesterday, too, so that was no excuse.
“We’re not out there shoveling ditches, we’re playing baseball,” McDonald said. “So, if we were fatigued today then we need to get a lot tougher.”
The only good news for Murray State is the team took two of three games from Morehead State over the weekend to kick off its OVC schedule. Murray State swept Sunday’s double-header 10-4 and 9-5 before Monday’s loss.
The ’Breds travel to UT Martin Friday through Sunday, and McDonald wants to get healthy before they hit the heart of a grueling conference campaign.
“Our guys, I feel like, are going to compete real well and right now we have an awful lot of guys that are hurt,” he said. “We have guys out of the lineup and because of that we have some guys playing positions that they haven’t played much or even practiced much.”
He said the top priority is to get all the players back to their peak playing conditions.
Said McDonald: “Then we’ll start to really play well and hit on all cylinders.”
Story by Nick Dolan, Assistant Sports Editor