Sophomore right fielder Matthew Johnson, knocked in four Racer runs Sunday in the series-clinching 4-2 win over the UT Martin Skyhawks. It was Murray State’s first series win of the season.
Over the weekend the Racers (5-10, 2-1) took two of three games from UT Martin (2-9, 1-2) in Edwardsville, Ill. to open up OVC competition.
“I think we did a good job of competing as a group,” said Head Coach Kevin Moulder. “Our pitchers came out and threw a lot of strikes, and all three of our starters gave us quality starts.”
Saturday featured a double-header with senior pitcher Brock Downey getting the start in game one. Junior catcher Dalton West put the Racers up 1-0 with a double that scored junior outfielder Taylor Mathews. West finished the game with all three runs batted in (RBI).
Downey took the loss after pitching seven innings and allowing eight hits and four earned runs as the Racers lost 6-3.
In game two, errors by both teams allowed runs to score. Junior pitcher Brad Boegel gave up one unearned run and six hits through 5.2 innings.
With two outs in the sixth inning, junior pitcher Cody Maerz came in to relieve Boegel with runners on second and third and the Racers trailing 1-0. Maerz pitched out of the jam and didn’t allow any hits through 3.1 innings to earn the win. The Racers won 2-1.
Downey, in right field for the game, scored both runs for the Racers with RBIs going to junior infielder Nick Moore and sophomore outfielder Tyler Lawrence.
“Brock is one of our, if not our most, dynamic athletes,” Moulder said. “We try to get him on the field as much as possible, and he’s a great competitor. He brings a spark to our offense when he’s in there.”
The rubber match or last match of the series featured the most viral leg kick in college baseball when sophomore pitcher John Lollar got the start. A picture of Lollar’s unorthodox leg kick during his windup, was tweeted by Jeff Drummond, publisher for AllWildcats.com on the Fox sports/Scout network. Other sites such as Bleacher Report, Huffington Post and CBS Sports picked up on it.
Lollar earned the win allowing two earned runs and 11 hits in 5.2 innings thanks to Johnson’s 2-3 performance with two doubles and a sacrifice fly and red shirt freshman pitcher Brandon Hicks collecting his first save of the season.
“Any time you can get a quality start from your pitchers you are putting yourself in a position to win,” Moulder said. “We certainly didn’t play our best baseball and we could’ve played better but we won the series and that’s something we can be proud of.”
The team will play another three-game series starting at 6 p.m. Friday in Edwardsville, Ill. against OVC opponents Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer