Ogden stifles Racer bats throwing one-hitter in game-one win, Eagles drop game two 5-2
It appears as though the Morehead State softball team saved its best for last, after completing its season on Sunday against Murray State by splitting with the hosts at Racer Field.
Game one was all about the play of freshman pitcher Madi Ogden, who threw a one-hitter in a 1-0 shutout victory and struck out a career-high seven batters. It was the third straight game between the two teams to finish with that score. However, it was the first in that trio in which the Eagles won.
"For our first game today, we are so proud of Madi throwing a one-hitter. Her pitches were moving so well and keeping the hitters guessing. Our defense did a great job behind her. We were very proud of the way that she played and her defense played behind her," Morehead State coach Samantha Jones said. "And then two timely hits, one from Maddi G. (Gailor) and another one from Peyton Jordan allowed us to score that run and clinch one from them."
The Eagle victory snapped a six-game skid against the Racers, all of which came in Murray.
It was the second straight 1-0 result in Murray between the two clubs.
Over the weekend, Morehead State (8-36/7-20) fell 1-0 despite out-hitting arguably the Ohio Valley Conference's top pitcher, followed by defeating the Racers 1-0 in the Eagles first road win over Murray since March 26, 2017, and concluding with a 5-2 host victory that saw the visitors rally with two runs and end with the tying run at the plate.
After Morehead State's struggles throughout the year, especially on the road, the final weekend was bittersweet for coach Jones and her team, which saw the careers of three senior players (Peyton Rose, Peyton Slater and Alexis Strother) come to an end.
"Overall it was a good day of splitting and I am super proud. I am thankful for our seniors and what they have brought to this program. Their legacy will continue to live on. The work ethic will be unmatched and we're excited to see how they succeed in their endeavors moving forward. They will be greatly missed, but we now they are on to bigger and better things and they have left this program better than how they found it. We love our seniors and are so proud of them," she said.
The Eagles finished the campaign outside of the field of OVC Tournament qualifiers and in ninth place. Murray State (37-15-1/21-7), helped by Southeast Missouri State's three-game sweep of Belmont, captured its first regular-season league title in its history.
Sunday's first game was similar to Saturday's contest. In a pitching duel between Murray State's Hannah James and Ogden, the Eagle freshman came out on top. Both hurlers threw a perfect game through two innings. Morehead State put the first runner on base when Ogden drew a walk. Junior center fielder Trinity Spear followed by reaching on a fielder's choice and then stole second before the inning ended.
The hosts ended Ogden's perfect outing with a walk to lead off the third. A passed ball moved the runner up a base. After two outs, another walk and stolen base put two runners in scoring position, but Ogden got out of the jam with her fourth strikeout of the day.
Murray State got another runner on base after a walk in the fourth, but she did not advance.
The Eagles went down in order in the fourth and fifth, with the Racers doing the same in their half of the fifth.
Morehead State took control in the sixth. With two outs, junior left fielder Madeline Gailor reached on a throwing error and the play ended with her on second base. The next batter, sophomore second baseman Peyton Jordan, singled which sent Gailor home.
The hosts picked up their first hit of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth when senior shortstop Sierra Gilmore singled to left field, but an out during the next at-bet curtailed any chance of scoring the tying run.
Murray State turned to sophomore Jenna Veber in the circle to start the seventh and she retired the side.
In the bottom of the frame, sophomore first baseman Lily Fischer drew a leadoff walk, but after a pop out, sophomore catcher Taylor Jackson grounded into a double play, which was aided by sophomore pinch runner Jordan Caple getting called out for interference.
Ogden picked up her second win of the season to improve to 2-11. The complete-game, one-hit effort led to the Eagles second shutout this spring. It was a career outing for Ogden, who surrendered her fewest runs and hits, while striking out her record high with seven, while walking five.
James was saddled with the loss to drop to 19-5. She pitched six innings and gave up one hit and one unearned run, while also striking out seven and walking one. Veber threw one frame in relief, surrendering no runs, hits or walks and collecting one strikeout.
Jordan had the visitors lone hit and RBI, while Ogden earned a walk. Gailor scored the team's run. Gilmore picked up Murray's hit, with senior center fielder Logan Braundmeier and Fischer each drawing a pair of walks, and Jackson getting the other.
Braundmeier doubled to center field to lead off the Racers' first in the second game. After an error on the play moved her to third, a Caple sacrifice fly to left drove Braundmeier home.
Fischer was hit by a pitch to open Murray's second. Carroll followed by reaching on a fielder's choice and Jackson homered down the left-field line to increase the hosts' advantage to 3-0.
In the fourth, Fischer doubled to left-center field with one out, with Carroll singling up the middle to score Fischer.
After the first 13 Eagle batters were retired over four innings, junior right fielder Kirya Kingery doubled to left-center to break up a perfect game. With two outs, she moved to third, but was left stranded when the inning ended.
Freshman right fielder Erin Lackey walked to lead off Murray's fifth, but like Kingery was still on base after the third out.
Murray padded its lead in the sixth after a trio of singles, the latter two with two outs. A successful double steal, with sophomore pinch runner Brea Croslin taking second and Fischer going home. Another single moved Croslin to third, but Lackey flied out to end the inning.
The Eagles rallied in the seventh and put a scare into the Racers.
Jordan opened the inning by singling down the right-field line. Senior shortstop Peyton Slater reached on a fielding error. Kingery singled up the middle and advanced to second while Jordan scored. Spear reached on a successful fielder's choice, which allowed Slater to score. However, the game ended with runners on the corners.
"In the second game, they just did a better job of out-hitting us. (Sophomore pitcher) Lennon (Spicer) did a good job of working her best pitches against their hitters. They just came out on top," coach Jones said "But, what I am most proud of is the way they fought and became scrappy in that last inning to push two runs across the board. I think just one or two more at-bats and we could have potentially tied that ball game up."
The Eagles finished the nightcap with Kingery leading the offensive charge. She finished with two hits and an RBI. Jordan collected the team's other hit, with Spear notching an RBI, and Jordan and Slater both scoring.
Jackson and Fischer paced the hosts with two hits apiece. Jackson also drove in two runs, while Fischer scored twice.
Spicer dropped to 6-19 after yielding seven hits, four earned runs, with a walk and a strikeout in six innings of work. Veber improved to 15-7 with a complete game. She allowed three hits, one earned run, with two strikeouts and no walks.
Sunday's games were the final ones in 2022 for the Eagles.