Senior infielder Braxton Morris finished 4-for-4 with two home runs and scored a school-record six times, and the Morehead State pitching staff combined to only allow two hits as the Eagles hammered West Virginia Tech 18-1 at Allen Field Wednesday.
Morehead State, which has now scored 90 (18.0) runs at home in the last five at Allen Field, improved to 24-14 with its eighth win against just one loss in April. The Golden Bears fell to 14-28.
Morris pounded a two-run homer to right field in the first inning to get the scoring show going and added another two-run bomb to left field in the third. After that he nearly had the cycle, lacing a triple to left center field and a double to left field and crossing the plate six times to break the school record held by five former players and one current one (Jake Hammon).
Morehead State hitters drew 13 walks from eight WVU-Tech hurlers and also were hit twice and moved up on five wild pitches while only striking out once (in the eighth inning). Meanwhile, the Eagle pitchers whiffed 10 Golden Bear batters.
“That has been our M.O (modus operandi) lately is taking free bases and turning those into runs,” said head coach Mike McGuire. “We did another great job at that tonight, and I thought all of our pitchers threw well for the most part and limited their free bases.”
WVU-Tech's only hits were both for extra bases, but both were down the right-field line where Hammon nearly came up with diving catches.
“I thought we very well could have had a combined no-hitter, but that wasn't what we were worried about,” said McGuire. “We were focusing on winning the game.”
Morehead State belted four home runs. In addition to Morris' pair, juniors Trevor Snyder and Connor Pauly also lifted balls out of the yard. Snyder's team-best 10th was a solo shot in the third frame, and Pauly crushed a homer off the light pole in right field for a three-run job in the fourth.
The Eagles were efficient as they had 14 hits with 10 different batters getting at least one. Snyder was 2-for-3. Junior shortstop Reid Leonard drew a walk and had a hit to extend his now team-best reached-base streak to 30 games. He is the second Eagle this year with at least a 30-game reached-base streak, joining Morris (who had a 34-gamer).
Sophomore Jake Ziegelmeyer, who just returned last weekend from an extended injury break, started and was credited with the win to move to 3-0. Dom Masullo,Will Lozinak, Jeff Purnell, John Sherman, Garret Rogers and Grant Crosby also contributed to the winning effort.
Morehead State returns to OVC action at home this weekend. Austin Peay visits with game one of the three-game set scheduled to commence at 5 p.m. Friday.