Story updated on March 10, 2016 at 1:06 p.m.
Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
Last weekend the Racers finished 2-3 in the Wilson/Demarini Classic in Auburn, Alabama.
The teams in the tournament were Indiana, Auburn and Bryant. The Racers were able to take two games against Bryant winning 2-1 and 6-0. They lost to Indiana in two games 5-1 and 1-0. No. 3 Auburn took care of the Racers 10-0 in a shortened five inning game.
Head Coach Kara Amundson said it was a great opportunity to see some really good competition and to play in some of the best facilities they can play in.
“Any time we have the opportunity to go to some of those top five conference schools, it’s just an awesome atmosphere,” Amundson said. “The parks and facilities are always top notch. It just kind of gives us a chance to play in those facilities. It’s always kind of fun for the players.”
The Hoosiers played the Racers twice on two separate days, beating them both times.
In the first game, neither team was able to score until the fourth inning when Indiana went up 3-0. The Hoosiers scored on two separate singles and a double in the inning off of the Racers’ sophomore pitcher Haven Campbell. Campbell went only 4.1 innings giving up three earned runs, three hits and five walks. She struck out two Hoosier batters and pitched 77 pitches in her loss. Her relief came from freshman pitcher Amber Van Duyse who pitched 2.2, gave up two earned runs, three hits and struck out two batters.
The Racers didn’t score until the bottom of the seventh inning, which came off a home run by junior infielder Jessica Twaddle. Twaddle went 1-3 with her solo home run and one RBI.
The second game was a pitcher’s duel as the score was 0-0 until the last inning. The Racers’ junior pitcher Mason Robinson pitched 6.1 innings in the game and only gave up one run on four hits during her outing, bringing her record to 4-4 on the young season.
The pitcher for the Hoosiers was freshman Josie Wood, who earned the win. She pitched a full seven innings allowing only three hits but walked six Racers. Wood also gave up zero runs in the game which brought her record to 6-2 on the season.
Murray State and Indiana would stay scoreless in the game until the bottom of the seventh inning when freshman utility play Sarah Galovich hit a walk-off single to end the game.
Amundson said it is a great opportunity to play teams like Indiana so the team can prepare for conference play.
Murray State took the field against the host No. 3 Auburn and were outmatched as it lost 10-0, ending the game in the fifth inning by way of the mercy rule.
The Tigers ended Robinson’s day early as they put together seven runs in the bottom of the first inning. Robinson didn’t make it out of the first inning as she pitched 0.2 innings. Out of the seven runs Auburn scored in the first inning, only one of them was earned. Robinson gave up four hits and walked three different batters in the inning.
Senior pitcher J.J. Francis came in the first inning and finished the game out going 3.1 innings, allowing six hits, three runs and two walks. The Tigers would be held scoreless until the third inning where they put one run up on the board. Auburn was able to push two more runs across in the bottom of the fourth inning and hold the Racers scoreless in the top of the fifth inning to force the mercy rule.
Amundson said that she wants to schedule tough games and tough tournaments to get the team prepared for the OVC.
“I truly believe, and this is how I schedule games for us since I got here, is if you want to be the best at the end of the season you have to play the best throughout the season,” she said. “So that’s kind of the mentality I had scheduling a tournament down at Auburn.”
The Racers played a doubleheader against the Bryant Bulldogs March 4 where they came away with two wins, 2-1 and 6-0.
In the first game, Bryant took the 1-0 in the top of the third inning off a single to bring in an unearned run against the Racers.
Murray State would push the tying run across the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning when freshman catcher Madison Culver was able to get down the sacrifice bunt and reach first on a fielder’s choice, which brought Twaddle in to score.
The Racers would score again in the fifth inning when freshman utility player Brenna Finck was able to reach base on an error to bring in junior outfielder and utility player Cayla Levins.
Despite committing four errors in the game, the Racers were able to hold on to the one-run lead to win the game.
In the second game, the Racers were held scoreless until the top of the third inning when sophomore outfielder Maddy Feeney hit a double to bring in senior infielder Shelbey Miller to score.
From that point on the Racers did not look back as they scored two runs in the sixth inning off of a two-run home run from junior infielder Maggie Glass. In the seventh inning, the Racers added three more runs off of a triple and a single to secure the victory for Murray State.
The Racers will travel to Jacksonville, Florida this weekend to play one game against Ball State and two games against Jacksonville.
One of the Racers will get to play in front of friends and family as Levins is from Jacksonville, Florida. Amundson said Levins is excited to go home and play in front of her friends and family.
Amundson said the team needs to work on a couple of things but they will be ready to play this weekend.
“I think the biggest thing we need to work on moving forward and we need to get better at is scoring runners when we have the opportunity,” She said. “We’ve been shut out of way too many games and way too many innings this year.”