Baseball loses at home opener

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Haley Hays/The News Sophomore pitcher Tanner Edge, from Owensboro, Ky., pitches the ball at the Racers home opener Tuesday.

Coming off a series win at home over the weekend, the Racers (8-17, 4-5) lost 14-6 Tuesday to Arkansas State University (10-11). The eight-run drubbing though  was an improvement from last seasons 27-7 loss against Red Wolves.

After four innings, the Racers led 5-3 but the Red Wolves scored four runs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead.

Sophomore John Lollar started the game and struck out a career best six batters over four innings while allowing four runs.

The Racers have struggled to pitch well in games in which the offense is scoring and have failed to hit when they are getting strong starts from their pitchers.

“If we can get both sides flowing at the same time, that would be awesome,” said Derek Yoder, a senior left fielder.

Losing affects the morale of the players in the locker room.

“Its quiet after a loss,” said Brad Boegel, a junior starting pitcher. “We’re usually hanging out or playing ping pong, but it gets pretty dead when we lose.”

Last weekend, the Racers played their first home games of the season which came against Austin Peay State. The Racers won the series by winning two out of three games.

“It was great playing at home finally,” Yoder said. “We’ve been playing so much on artificial turf, and we actually had a really good crowd for the games.”

Starting pitchers for the Racers combined to throw 270 pitches in the first two games.

Brock Downey, a senior, went eight and two-thirds innings on Friday night throwing 137 pitches.

Downey earned the win and allowed three runs on Friday while junior Cody Maerz came in to get the last out and earn the save.

Teams were tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning when Nick Moore, a junior second baseman, hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field scoring Yoder from third.

Neither team was able to score after the fourth inning.

Downey then played in the field Saturday following his long outing and threw out a runner at home from right field.

“He has a rubber arm,” Boegel said. “It’s crazy that he can throw that many pitches and the next day make that throw. I think my arm would fall off if I tried that.”

In the second game, Boegel nearly matched Downey’s pitch count from the night before and threw 133 pitches. Boegel gave up two runs, one earned, over eight and a third innings.

The Racers had five hits in the 2-1 loss against the Govs. In the ninth inning Moore reached on an error and Yoder scored from second base giving the Racers their only run for the day.

In the final game of the series, the Racers battled back from a 4-0 deficit by scoring three runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Junior centerfielder Taylor Mathews scored the go ahead runs with a bunt that led to an error by the Govs pitcher scoring Moore and Yoder. The 6-4 win earned the Racers the series win–the second conference series they have won this season.

Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer