Tech downed by Racers in both games of Friday's twinbill
MURRAY, Ky. -- The Golden Eagles came up short in their third straight extra-inning contest, dropping game one of Friday's double-header to the Racers of Murray State, 6-5, as well as in the 8-7 nightcap.
Both teams displayed late game rallies in game one, starting with Tech's in the top of the ninth to tie the game at three-all after being down for the first eight innings. Murray put up two runs quickly in the first, one as Zach Noonan was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and one on an RBI sacrifice fly by Paul Ritzheimer.
Murray kept the score at 2-0 until the top of the fourth, when Casanova Donaldson doubled down the right field line and scored on a fielding error that allowed Zach Stephens to reach first to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Racers put up another run in the bottom of the eighth to stretch their lead to that of 3-1, but the Golden Eagles rallied in the top of the ninth to force the bottom half of the frame, and the eventual extra innings.
Stephens earned a one-out walk, which Evan Frazier followed with a single through the left side to move Stephens into scoring position. Devin Rivers then ripped a double into deep left center to score both runners, giving the teams three apiece.
Rivers would finish the game leading Tech at the plate with a 2-for-4, two RBI performance.
Both teams went scoreless in the 10th, and it was Tech that continued with the hot bats in the top of the 11th inning. Frankie Beech notched a base hit through the left side with one out, and moved to second on Michael Morris' groundout. Chad Hayes stepped in with a single of his own to score Beech, and moved to second on the throw home for Tevis Sherfield, who's single through the right side put Tech up 5-3.
But the home field advantage worked for the Racers in the bottom of the frame, as they worked closer Cullen Park for three runs on three hits and one error to take the final 6-5 win.
Travis Isaak kicked off the bottom half of the 11th with a single up the middle, and a throwing error allowed him to reach second as Jacob Rhodes took first. Noonan sacrificed both runners over, and Ritzheimer's single into center field scored Isaak. With Rhodes on third and Ritzheimer having advanced on the play at the plate, Cody Larson loaded the bases on a walk, and Wes Warren's single worked to send Rhodes home.
With the contest tied at five-all, Elliot Frey lifted one into left field to work as an RBI sac fly to end the game.
Ritzheimer paced the Racers on the game, going 3-for-4 at the plate with one run scored and two RBI, while four other Racers combined for the remaining four runs.
Park, now 3-3 on the season, shouldered the loss in 2.2 innings pitched, while Tyler Saltsman got the win for Murray after facing just two batters. Tech's starter Tristan Archer pitched the majority of the game for the Golden Eagles, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out five in six innings pitched. For Murray, it was Jake Donze who worked the majority of the game, matching Archer's five Ks in 8.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
Game two showcased another quick start by the Racers that carried through the duration of the game, as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead within the first two innings.
Ty Stetson led off for Murray in the first with a single down the right field line, advancing to second on a bunt single by Elliot. Isaak sacrificed both runners over for Noonan, who launched a two-out, two RBI single into center field to give the Racers a 2-0 lead.
They continued their momentum in the bottom of the second frame, putting up three more runs, courtesy of a two-shot homer by Frey and another single by Noonan to build to the 5-0 lead.
Tech was able to cut the lead to three and threaten more damage in the third when they put up two runs on three consecutive hits by Hayes, Sherfield and Austin Wulf and a sacrifice fly by Donaldson. But the Golden Eagles left three ducks on the pond, and Murray continued with the momentum, putting up three more runs to Tech's one over the fourth and fifth.
The Golden Eagles faced an 8-3 deficit headed into the top of the seventh and rallied for four runs on five hits. A wild pitch turned Donaldson's would-be strikeout into a man-on situation, as he advanced to second on the play and moved to third on Ben Burgess' single up the middle. Consecutive doubles from Stephens and Frazier brought in two runs, while a sacrifice fly by Rivers worked for another run, and a single by Beech brought in the fourth run of the inning. Tech couldn't close the gap any further though, and surrendered the 8-7 victory, and Friday sweep, to the Racers.
Sherfield displayed a 3-for-4 show at the plate with one run scored, but it was six other Golden Eagles who combined for Tech's seven runs on the game. Noonan, meanwhile, led the racers with a 2-for-3, four RBI showing.
Matt Shepherd was charged with the loss after pitching two innings and surrendering three runs on seven hits, while Cameron Finch picked up his first win on the year in four innings of work. Saltsman made his second appearance of the day to pick up the save.
The two teams will meet for game three on Saturday, in another 1 p.m. contest that will serve to close conference play on the 2011 season.