The Morehead State baseball team plated 11 runs over its first four at-bats and never looked back in a 16-7 victory over Ohio Valley Conference opponent Jacksonville State on Thursday evening (May 15) at MSU’s Allen Field.
The Eagles improve to 27-25 overall, 15-13 in OVC action and 12-7 at home. The Gamecocks slip to 29-23 overall, 17-11 in league play and 11-13 on the road.
Junior right fielder Brandon Rawe, who finished 3-for-5 with two scores and one RBI, established Morehead State's single-season hits record. He now has a conference-best 90 base knocks, including a league-high 20 doubles.
"Morehead State has had many quality hitters over the years, so it says a lot for Brandon to set that record," Head Coach Mike McGuire said. "Brandon is very good from an offensive standpoint. He has a solid approach at the plate and has put together quality at-bats all year long."
Junior second baseman Tyler Bigler, who went 2-for-4 with three runs and one RBI, also posted a Morehead State single-season standard. He was plunked for the 25th time this season in the fourth inning and came around to score.
"Tyler has no fear when he steps in the batter's box," McGuire said. "He's has 32 free passes this season between walks and being hit by a pitch. Tyler's on-base percentage has been big for us, and he's ended up scoring several runs."
Morehead State scored its first 11 runs with two outs. The Eagles touched the dish three times in the first, twice in the second, on six occasions in the third and two more times in the fourth. MSU tallied 17 base knocks in the affair.
Junior left fielder Blaine Tanner managed a season-best four hits, three RBI and two runs for the Eagles, while junior first baseman Kane Sweeney added four RBI, three scores, two base knocks and his ninth roundtripper in the second inning.
"Tonight was a great team victory," McGuire said. "Everyone got involved from an offensive standpoint. It's hard to lose when you have eight of nine starters with at least one hit. Our players pushed each other and picked each other up."
Freshman right-hander Luke Humphreys allowed four runs in five innings, but still improved to 4-2 with the win. Sophomore right-hander Matt Ellenbest and senior right-hander Dan Hyatt tossed the final four innings for Morehead State.
JSU launched four home runs in the game. Sophomore first baseman Tyler Gamble clobbered two, while senior right fielder Griff Gordon and junior third baseman Ryan Sebra hammered one each. Gordon led the Gamecocks with three hits.
Junior right-hander Zachary Fowler, who allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 2.2 frames, fell to 6-6 with the loss. The Gamecocks used four total pitchers.
Due to anticipated weather, game two of the series has been moved up to Friday (May 16) at 4 p.m. The series finale is still scheduled for Saturday (May 17) at 1 p.m. Live audio and statistics for both contests will be available via MSUEagles.com.
MSU, which continues to destroy its overall victories (16-40) and home wins total (5-9) from a year ago, needs just one more win to claim a spot in the OVC Tournament. The Eagles have also won eight of their last nine at Allen Field.
"I will feel better if we win at least one more game," McGuire added. "Regardless of how the contests end up tonight, we need to be ready to play on Friday. We control our own destiny and want to punch that ticket to the OVC Tournament."