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Baseball Season Ends At OVC Tournament

MSU Athletics

The Morehead State baseball team saw its 2014 season come to a close Friday (May 23) in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament third round. Third-seeded Jacksonville State handed MSU a 7-1 defeat at the Ballpark at Jackson.

JSU, which won its third tournament game, improved to 33-25. Morehead State, the fifth seed, finished the campaign 29-28, which tied for the most wins since 2005.

"We are certainly disappointed with the way the year ended here," Head Coach Mike McGuire. "We knew coming into the tournament we needed to have good starting pitching, and we didn't for the second straight day."

The Gamecocks pushed across two runs in the first and third innings and scored three times in the seventh. JSU rode the arm of starter Adam Polk (5-4), who only surrendered six hits in seven official innings of work.

"Give credit to Polk," McGuire said. "I think once we got behind, our hitters tried to do too much and we pressed too much. That played into his hands."

Morehead State starter Luke Schneider (2-4) was tagged for four runs, all earned, in only 2.1 innings. Sophomore reliever Tyler Keele struck out five in four innings. Sophomore Craig Pearcy tossed the final 2.2 frames.

"Tyler is probably our most improved pitcher since his freshman year," McGuire added. "But he didn't get better by accident. He is probably our hardest working pitcher, and we have some guys who can learn from that."

JSU's Eddie Mora-Loera and Griff Gordon smashed three hits apiece for the Gamecocks, who had 11 for the day. Gordon drove in three runs. The 2-3-4 hitters in the JSU lineup combined for eight hits.

Junior shortstop Robby Spencer registered a pair of hits for the Eagles. He finished the season ranked second on the squad with 25 multi-hit games. Senior Bobby Burns finished his Eagle career by extending his hitting streak to 20 games. He concluded the season with hits in 32 of the last 33 contests.

It also marked the final game for senior third baseman Jeff Birkofer and senior pitchers Noah Smallwood and Dan Hyatt.

"It will be hard to replace those four seniors. I feel like all of them had their best years as seniors," McGuire added.

The Eagles finished with six hits and left 12 runners on base.

"This is bittersweet," McGuire said. "It's always hard at the end, especially with such an enjoyable group to coach. We made a lot of improvements this year and changed the culture of the program. We aren't satisfied though. With what we have coming back and what we have coming in, we expect even more success in 2015."