Two weekend wins over Morehead State gave the Eastern baseball team its first series win over the Eagles in almost three years.
After losing six of its last seven games, the Colonels were able to end the skid by winning the first two games of a three game series against conference rival Morehead (17-11, 6-6 OVC) in Richmond. The Eagles are top-10 in the nation in scoring, and both EKU (13-15, 3-6 OVC) and Morehead are tied for the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) lead with 34 home runs.
Morehead St. 6
The first game of the series took place at 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 1. After trailing 5-0 following the top of the first inning, the Colonels tightened up its defense and used a steady scoring effort to rally from behind for the victory.
EKU scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but a home run by Colonel third baseman Mandy Alvarez that scored two, followed by a solo homer in the bottom of the third by Colonel first baseman Ben Fisher, saw the game suddenly knotted at 5-5.
A base-hit single to center field by senior outfielder Kyle Nowlin in the bottom of the fifth inning scored two runs to give EKU a 7-6 lead over Morehead. One final run in the bottom of the seventh would close the game out for the Colonels.
Junior right-handed pitcher Eric Nerl (3-1) earned the start for EKU and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and six earned runs. Nerl has a 3.54 season earned run average (era). Colonel pitcher Luke McGee was awarded the win after pitching one-third of an inning in relief for Nerl. Junior right-hander Brian Mroz pitched the final four innings and earned his third save of the season after allowing just one hit and striking out five batters.
EKU had 10 total hits during the victory. Seven of 10 Colonel batters registered at least one hit, while three players had two hits.
Morehead designated hitter Trevor Snyder led the Eagles with three hits in four at-bats, while also tallying a team-high three RBI’s.
Morehead St. 3
The second game of the series started at 4 p.m., Saturday, April 2, and was completely one-sided due to an EKU offensive outburst.
The Eagles took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Colonels would outscore Morehead 19-1 from that point on.
Alvarez homered for the second time in two games during the bottom of the first inning. EKU scored three runs in the first and three runs in the second to take a 6-2 lead. Nowlin and junior catcher Logan Starnes both hit home runs in the bottom of the second inning for the Colonels.
An eight run inning in the bottom of the sixth gave EKU a demanding 16-3 lead. Colonel short stop Cole Warrenfeltz hit two home runs in the inning.
Junior left-hander Alex Hamilton (2-3) earned the start and secured the win after pitching six innings and striking out nine batters for EKU. Hamilton gave up three earned runs and five hits.
The Colonels handed Morehead pitcher Aaron Leasher his first loss of the season. Leasher stuck out nine batters, but gave up eight earned runs in five innings.
Warrentfeltz went 3 for 5 at the plate with three runs and three RBI’s, while Alvarez went 2 for 4 at the plate with three RBI’s of his own.
Morehead St. 16
After a strong performance on Saturday, the Colonels suffered a blowout loss of its own Sunday, April 3. The first pitch was thrown at 3:12 p.m.
Morehead had four-run innings in the top of the first and fourth innings, as well as six runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Eagles had 19 hits to the Colonels six.
EKU’s two lone runs were scored in the bottom of the fourth inning. Both runs came on walks.
Cable Wright (2-0) earned the win for Morehead after pitching 3.1 innings for the Eagles without allowing a run. Sophomore pitcher Hunter Dunn (1-3) was given the loss for EKU after pitching 3.1 innings and allowing three earned runs on eight hits. The Colonels committed four errors during the game.
Snyder went 3 for 4 at the plate with six RBI’s for Morehead, while Reid Leonard went 4 for 6 at the plate, scoring six runs.
The Colonels will travel to Martin, Tenn. at 7 p.m., Friday, April 8, to face OVC opponent U.T. Martin (7-21, 2-10 OVC) in the first game of a three-game weekend series.