Throwing Error Pushes Eagle Baseball to Walk-Off Victory in Oakland Series Opener
After leading 10-0 and seeing their advantage eventually vanish in the eighth inning, the Morehead State baseball team won in walk-off fashion, 13-12, over Oakland in the 2019 home opener Thursday when the Golden Grizzlies' shortstop misfired on a throw to first to allow the winning run to trot home from third base in the bottom of the ninth.
MSU improved to 3-1, while the Grizzlies remained without a triumph in 2019 at 0-4.
Tied 12-12 in the bottom of the final frame, sophomore catcher Brody Shoupe - who hadn't had an at-bat since March 10 of last season - laced a one-out single to right field and advanced to second when the ball got past the fielder. Senior shortstop Reid Leonard then nearly beat out a close play at first but was called out, allowing Shoupe to move to third. A ground ball to short by senior centerfielder Connor Pauly was fielded cleanly but the low throw skipped past the first baseman and sent Shoupe across the plate for the walk-off win.
Leonard, who set the Morehead State career for singles (197 currently), helped the Eagles get going with a six-spot on the scoreboard in the first inning. Sophomore second baseman Bryce Hensor cranked a two-run double in the frame.
Another single by Leonard, this time of the RBI variety, pushed the Eagles to a 7-0 lead in the third. And then senior first baseman Trevor Snyder smashed his first home run of the year - a three-run clout deep to left field - to make it 10-0.
"We had a great start to the game. We got a good start and did some nice things offensively," said head coach Mike McGuire. "I am disappointed we didn't keep our foot on the gas. The key why we had to score a run there in the ninth to win was our at-bats in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. We are a mature club, we know that. Games are never over here at Allen Field."
Following a three-run inning by Oakland in the fifth, senior catcher Hunter Fain hit a mammoth blast into the night and over the left field fence in the Eagles' half of the fifth for an 11-3 lead. Freshman Zach Boyd scored in the seventh on a passed ball to up the Eagle lead to 12-4 before Oakland made a monster rally.
Six runs in the top of the eighth, including a three-run homer by Mario Camilletti, brought it back to within 12-10. The visitors tied the game in the top of the ninth on a two-run single off Eagle reliever Alex Garbrick.
Garbrick issued three walks and was touched for the two runs but still was credited with the win to improve to 1-0. The MSU pitching staff had nine strikeouts, including four from starter Garret Rogers and three by senior righty TJ Satterly.
At the plate, Pauly and senior outfielder Jake Hammon each totaled three of the Eagles' 15 hits. Pauly (33) and Hammon (26) also kept their lengthy reached-base streaks alive dating back to the 2018 season.Snyder and Leonard has two hits apiece.
The teams will attempt to play a doubleheader on Friday starting at Noon ET.