Story by Kelly Diesel, Contributing writer
Murray State’s baseball team defeated the 13th ranked team in the nation on Saturday.
The Racers played at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18 in Hammond, Louisiana, at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field, where they took on the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. The Racers upset Louisiana-Lafayette by a final score of 2-0, pushing their record to 2-0 in the spring season.
Before the game, Head Coach Kevin Moulder said he and the team were excited to play against competition with that kind of ranking and success.
Senior catcher Tyler Lawrence put the Racers on the board with a solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth inning. Later in the inning, after a single from Ramsey Scott, senior first basemen, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Gunner Leger, junior pitcher, hit two batters to load the bases for Murray State. Sophomore infielder Jaron Robinson drew a walk from Leger that scored Scott from third and pushed the Racer’s lead to 2-0.
Murray State had five hits on the day, compared to Louisiana-Lafayette’s four, and recorded their second-straight game with zero errors.
“We pitched and defended at a really high level today, and when we do those two things, we’re going to be really tough to beat,” Moulder said. “We talk about our defense a lot in practice, and if we play defense like the way we’ve been playing, we’re going to win an awful lot of games.”
Ryan Dills, senior pitcher, got the start for Murray State on Saturday in Hammond. Dills threw seven innings, struck out 10 batters, walked only one and gave up four hits.
“Ryan Dills set the tone today; he’s our ace,” Moulder said. “He pitched his stuff today and gave us the mindset that we really needed for the ballgame today.”
Dills finished the 2016 season with a record of 5-3, 76 strikeouts and an ERA of 5.2. He also led the team with 62.1 innings-pitched. Dills ranked 10th in strikeouts in the OVC in the 2016 season.