Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer
It’s been a tough stretch for the Racers. They have lost 10 consecutive games.
There are only 12 OVC games remaining in the season and the Racers (14-28, 9-9) are clinging to seventh place in the conference. Only eight teams are invited to compete in the OVC Tournament.
“We’ve got to get the ball stopped from rolling downhill,” said Assistant Coach Andy Morgan. “We need to get it turned around.”
The Racers played without starting pitcher Brock Downey and centerfielder Taylor Mathews last weekend against Tennessee Tech (18-19, 11-10) after both suffered injuries April 15 against Western Kentucky.
Without Downey, their best pitcher and hitter, and Mathews, a key defensive player, the Racers lost all three games to Tennessee Tech.
“Getting healthy is the number one thing,” Morgan said. “And then we just need to continue to compete. That’s what we’ve talked about all year. Make the routine play, throw strikes, get our hits and just do all the little things and we’ll be fine.”
Downey suffered a sprained wrist after a collision with Western’s first baseman and Mathews left the game with a concussion after colliding with right fielder Pokey Harris.
“Pokey didn’t get hurt,” Morgan said. “Apparently he’s used to running into people.”
Harris is a two-sport athlete who plays baseball and football at Murray State. He is best known as a return specialist for the Racers.
With Downey out, they bumped up each starter in the rotation.
Instead of being the game two starter, Brad Boegel had to assume the new role of game one starter.
“When things are going bad, somebody has got to step up and make a play, make a big pitch or get a big hit,” Morgan said. “Instead of just letting the ball continue to roll down the hill. Somebody has to get it stopped, get it turned around and we’ll be fine.”
The Racers will have the opportunity to turn things around this weekend with three home games against Southeast Missouri State (25-15, 16-5), the top team in the OVC.
Road games have been a struggle for the team all year. Over the season the Racers have played 33 road games and are 9-24. The next home game will be their 10th of the season.
“We’ve been road warriors,” Morgan said. “It takes a toll on you but that’s part of being a college athlete.”
The Racers will play at 6 p.m. Friday at Reagan Field against SEMO.