Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
The softball team took to the road over Spring Break and played in many close games but came away with two wins of the eight games they played.
Murray State played three different OVC series and traveled to the University of Kentucky during Spring Break.
They took a game each from Morehead State and Southeast Missouri State but dropped the other six games. Head Coach Kara Amundson said the team is close to putting some wins in the win column in some of the close games.
“We’ve done a better job of putting the ball in play, and I think we are starting to click a little bit offensively, which is great to see,” Amundson said.
Last Saturday against Morehead State, the Racers committed only two errors, but gave up a combined 11 hits and 11 runs.
Though Murray State out-hit the Eagles in the doubleheader, they left a combined 12 runners on base in losing one of the two games.
On Friday, the Racers played a doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky and lost both games 3-2 and 4-3 in 10 innings. Amundson said there were some defensive mistakes made that cost the team in the first game.
“The first game against EKU we were up, and four errors on routine plays that would have ended innings for us,” Amundson said. “We just didn’t get the job done there.”
Both teams finished the doubleheader with 19 hits apiece, but Murray State finished with four errors to Eastern’s one in the two games.
Senior infielder Shelbey Miller finished the weekend hitting 8-17, a double, a triple, three RBIs and two strikeouts. Jessica Twaddle, junior infielder, finished the weekend only hitting 2-14, but had a home run, three RBIs, two walks and two strikeouts.
Amundson said if they could have fixed the simple things they could control, like base running and fielding, they would have been coming home 3-1 instead of 1-3 on the weekend.
The Racers traveled to face the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats last Wednesday and lost 6-1 being out-hit 5-4.
Murray State committed one error in the game and Amundson said she liked how the team played.
“I thought we competed really well,” Amundson said. “We gave up a big inning, which we can’t do either, but I was happy with how we competed and with our offensive approach, some of those at-bats against UK. We had them tit-for-tat up until the last second there.”
Miller and Twaddle combined 2-5 with a double; the only run for the Racers came off the bat of junior catcher Jocelynn Rodgers, doubling to score Twaddle.
Both teams mercy ruled each other once and the Redhawks came away with the other victory to send the Racers home with a 1-3 record on the weekend.
The first game SEMO won 4-3 despite committing six errors and out-hitting Murray State 10-4.
The Racers couldn’t capitalize on any chances as they left seven runners on base.
SEMO mercy ruled the Racers in the second game of the doubleheader 9-1 in six innings. They were able to out-hit the Racers 15-6 and had a combined five extra base hits. Murray State got its lone run from junior outfielder and utility player Cayla Levins on a solo home run in the second inning.
Murray State returned the favor in the third and final game of the series beating the Redhawks 16-5 in five innings.
The Racers came away with 20 hits to SEMO’s seven. Although they committed one error in the game, it did not hurt Murray State.
Of the 20 hits for the Racers, six of them were extra base hits and of those six, two were home runs off the bats of Levins and junior infielder Taylor Odom.
Miller finished the weekend by hitting 6-12 with a double and two RBIs, while Twaddle went 3-9 with one RBI and two walks.
Going into the weekend series against Eastern Illinois, Miller has been in a walking boot. Amundson said she is practicing and playing at 100 percent.
“She’s great, that is just more of a precautionary thing,” Amundson said. “Shelbey is a senior so she is an old lady right now, so it’s more of a precautionary thing just to make sure that we’re getting her at the most optimal level we can when it is coming game time.”
The Racers host Eastern Illinois in an OVC matchup this weekend with two games on Saturday and one game on Sunday. Eastern Illinois is 9-21 overall and has a 3-4 OVC record.
“I know EIU is a team that we can go in one direction or the other,” Amundson said. “But it doesn’t matter that it’s EIU; it matters that Racer softball team shows up this weekend.”