Junior Jon Burghardt kick-started a late-inning scoring surge with his first Division I home run, and the Morehead State baseball team took advantage of 15 free bases issued by Marshall pitching as the Eagles completed a season sweep of the 'Herd with an 8-2 triumph at the Kennedy Center Wednesday.
The Eagles improved to 29-17, also taking a 5-4 win at Marshall last Tuesday. Marshall slipped to 23-22 overall. The Eagles are now just one victory away from the program's fifth consecutive 30-win campaign.
"Free bases were pivotal in the score. We didn't have a whole lot going early on, but they kept giving us free bases and eventually I felt like we were going to get a big hit," said head coach Mike McGuire. "And we pitched well too. We only gave them four free bases. All of our pitchers pitched ahead and threw strikes and we picked up a couple of big double plays as well."
Burghardt, the designated hitter today, broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with a towering two-run laser over the bullpen behind the right-field fence. He was also at the plate when the Eagles' first run scored in the fourth as he hit into a double play but a run came across.
MSU went on to built its lead to 6-1 with a three-spot in the seventh and added two more in the eighth. All along, the Eagle batters drew 10 walks and were hit five times. Five different Eagles were put on base twice by walks, while senior shortstop Reid Leonard and junior right-fielder Ryan Layne were plunked twice.
Layne cranked a two-run double to left field in the seventh frame, while sophomore infielder Stephen Hill plated a run in the eighth on a double. Senior center-fielder Connor Pauly's RBI single in the eighth pushed across the seventh tally.
On the mound, sophomore righty Will Lozinak (5-1) collected the victory. He completed five innings, allowed just four hits, and fanned three on strikes. Juniors Blake Preston and Jake Ziegelmeyer each worked an inning, while senior David Looney only gave up an unearned run. Sophomore Cory Conway got the final out. The Eagle defense turned three double plays in the contest.
Murray State comes to town for an OVC series this weekend. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m.. Check Twitter (@msueagles) and MSUEagles.com for schedule changes due to forecasted storms early this weekend.