Trailing 8-3 entering its final at-bat at SEC power Mississippi State Tuesday night, the Morehead State baseball team mounted a furious rally that finally culminated in a 10-run inning and a 13-8 victory over the Bulldogs at Dudy Noble Field.
Morehead State improved to 3-2, winning for third time in the last four seasons at an SEC school.
“It's a great win for our program at a school with tradition and was a national seed last year,” said head coach Mike McGuire. “I can't say enough about how we didn't quit. We got out in front and then got behind, but I really liked our at-bats all night. We found a way to extend the game in the ninth by taking our free bases and getting some timely hits. It was one of those games where we got contributions from so many people.”
Down 8-3 in the ninth, pinch hitters Chase Teter and Michael Patrick started the rally with singles, and the Eagles drew five walks in the frame and also coaxed a balk from a Bulldog pitcher.
Sophomore shortstop Reid Leonard, who was 3-for-5 with five RBI, got the scoring going with a bases-loaded walk issued by Bulldog reliever Blake Smith – who absorbed the loss.
Senior rightfielder Will Schneider followed with another bases-loaded free pass and the Eagles trailed 8-5. Sophomore DH Trevor Snyder then smacked a two-run double down the left field line to score Leonard and pinch runner Brody Shoupe.
Junior first baseman Tyler Niemann gave his team the lead on a two-run single, and Patrick added his second hit of the inning moments later to make it 10-8. Sophomore Jake Hammon, who had pinch hit earlier, scored on a balk with runners at first and third, and Leonard put the cap on the remarkable inning with a two-run single that scored Shoupe and Patrick.
“We decided to pinch hit with Chase and Michael to start the ninth, and when they went single-single, that turned the lineup over,” McGuire said. “When you look at it, (sophomore) Niko Hulsizer lined out for the first out and Will Schneider lined out for the final out. They weren't easy outs. It wasn't one guy tonight, everybody did something to help.”
Senior lefthander Cable Wright (1-0), who pitched the final three innings, collected the win in his 90th career appearance.
Junior second baseman Braxton Morris collected his first two hits of 2017, and Leonard, Niemann, Patrick and Snyder all had multiple-hit nights.
Luke Alexander had three hits, including two home runs, to pace the host team.
Morehead State travels to Hoover, Ala., this weekend to face Alabama State and Iowa at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (site of SEC Tournament). The Eagles open the Hoover Classic with ASU at 5 p.m. Friday.