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Baseball Eagles Persevere For 4-3 Walk-Off Victory to Sweep Oakland Series

MSU Athletics

Despite being no-hit until the seventh inning, Morehead State baseball took advantage of some strange occurrences and pitched efficiently in leading to a 4-3 walk-off victory over Oakland Sunday. The Eagles swept all four contests against the Golden Grizzlies this week.

The Eagles improved to 6-1, the program's best seven-game start since 1994. This squad is now just one game behind the 1984 squad's 7-1 start as the best opening two-week slate in the history of the program.

On an extremely blustery day at Allen Field, one would expect a high scoring affair, but it was the pitching on both sides that excelled at times. Oakland's Beau Keathley stymied the Eagles bats into no hits until junior Ryan Layne led off the eighth with a double. Keathley finished with 12 strikeouts in 7.1 innings.

The Eagles finally broke their scoreless situation in the sixth when sophomore Bryce Hensor reached on a muffed fielding play by Keathley. He moved to second on a balk and later scored on a balk.

Still trailing 3-1 in the eighth, Hensor drew the first of back-to-back-back walks issued by Keathley. After Max Labrato entered and struck out his batter faced, he slipped on a delivery and was charged with a balk to score Hensor again. Layne delivered a two-out, single to right field to score senior Reid Leonard to tie it. Senior Connor Pauly was cut down at the plate attempting the go-ahead run.

In the ninth, reliever Jake Ziegelmeyer issued a leadoff walk but coaxed a double play and a strike out to give his team the winning chance.

The bottom of the frame saw senior Jake Hammon lace a leadoff single to right field. Attempting to steal, pinch hitter Jon Burghardt lifted a high pop up into shallow left field. With the shortstop heading to the bag to cover the potential steal attempt, it left a gap in the grass, and Burghardt's hit dropped in for a single. Senior Hunter Fain walked to load the bases, but junior Chase Sorter lined into a double play. Hensor was then plunked with a pitch to keep the bases loaded. Senior Reid Leonard's keen eye coaxed a four-pitch, game-winning walk.

Ziegelmeyer (1-0) was credited with the victory. Starter Will Lozinak scattered nine hits but struck out six in 6.1 innings of work. Senior David Looney worked 1.2 scoreless innings.

"We pitched it very well, all three guys," said head coach Mike McGuire. "When you get good pitching, even if your bats aren't doing much, it gives you a chance like we did late in the game. Credit their guy. His release was tough to pick up but we need to learn hit all types of pitchers better. The OVC has some guys just like him."

Pauly extended his reached-base streak to 37 games, while Hammon's streak of reaching grew to 29 games.

The Eagles will now travel to Charlotte for a mid-week tilt against the 49ers on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET

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