Propelled by a first-inning grand slam from junior third baseman Dom Peroni, a third-inning three run homer by junior second baseman Ryan Layne and a shutdown job in the ninth frame by senior left-hander David Looney, Morehead State baseball completed a series sweep over Southeast Missouri with an 8-7 triumph at Allen Field Saturday.
The Senior Day victory moved MSU to 37-19 overall. The Eagles concluded the 2019 OVC ledger at 19-11 and tied with Austin Peay for second place. MSU garnered the third seed for this week’s OVC Tournament in Marion, Illinois, and will face rival Eastern Kentucky (No. 6) at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rent One Ballpark.
Morehead State closed out the 2019 home-game schedule with a program-record 26-2 mark.
Senior shortstop Reid Leonard, playing in his final home game, led off the first by extending his hitting streak to 17 games with a single. After two outs, seniors Connor Pauly and Trevor Snyder drew back-to-back walks off SEMO (21-32/10-20) starter Noah Niznik. Junior DH Jon Burghardt was plunked by Niznik's next pitch, and then Peroni cleared the bases with his second grand slam of the year to make it 5-0.
The Redhawks managed two runs (only one earned) off Eagle sophomore righty starter Will Lozinak, but Layne pushed the advantage to 8-2 in the third with a towering shot over the right-field wall.
SEMO made it interesting by scoring one in the sixth and four more in the seventh to creep to within 8-7. But, junior reliever Jake Ziegelmeyer left the would-be tying run stranded on third with an inning-ending strikeout in the eighth.
Looney, whose save was his third of the season, struck out all three Redhawks in the ninth to preserve the sweep.
Layne paced the 10-hit day at the plate with three hits, while Leonard, Peroni and sophomore third baseman Stephen Hill collected two each.