Weather has wreaked havoc on the Racer baseball team’s home schedule as Johnny Reagan field remains unplayable following a second winter storm this week that forced the team to cancel Wednesday’s game.
In addition to weather-related challenges, the Racers (3-9 OVC) have struggled with injuries to two key pitchers and an inconsistent offense. Those problems dogged the team in a doubleheader Tuesday in Lexington against the University of Kentucky. In Tuesday’s second game, the Racers tied the game 1-1 in the second inning after catcher Dalton West, a junior, homered.
The game remained deadlocked until the seventh inning when the Wildcats broke through with three runs. The Racers used three pitchers in the inning before finally getting out of it. The Racers attempted a comeback in the top of the eighth after Tyler Lawrence, the designated hitter, knocked in two runners to increase his team-leading RBI total to 10 for the season.
It wasn’t enough as the Racers dropped the game 4-3. Earlier in the day the Racers lost to the Wildcats 4-1. West hit another solo homerun for the team’s only run in the game.
With OVC play set to begin this weekend, Head Coach Kevin Moulder is still evaluating the team to determine the roles of his pitching staff, especially the relievers.
“I’d like to be able to establish some roles on the team,” Moulder said. “I’d like to be able to say, you know, that this guy will be our closer and this guy is our long reliever and so forth, but it’s still early in the season and we are still evaluating the guys that we have.”
Last weekend the Racers had to travel to Georgia to play a series against the University of Dayton and lost two out of three.
In game one, senior Brock Downey pitched into the seventh inning and allowed only one hit. Then Downey struck out a season high 11 batters. The Racers won 8-2 as the Flyers committed six errors.
“They (Flyers) threw the ball around a bit, but a couple of those errors were some really hard-hit balls by our guys,” Moulder said.
Brad Boegel, junior pitcher, started the second game and pitched into the seventh inning as well but allowed two runs on four hits while recording nine strikeouts. The Flyers won 3-1.
In the rubber game, the Racers fell behind 2-0 after the first inning and never came close to taking lead. The final score was 6-2, and the Flyers won the series.
Weather permitting, the Racers are scheduled to begin conference play at 3 p.m. Friday against the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks in what will be the first home game of the season.
Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer