EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – In a sign of things to come, Murray State scored five runs on six hits in the first inning Sunday on its way to an 18-9 win over SIUE in the finale of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
"It's not a great feeling in game three on Sunday," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "But we won two of out of three and we took the series and that's a great start in OVC play. Sweeping is really difficult to do. Murray State came out to make sure they didn't get swept today.
The Cougars fell to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the OVC. Murray State is 9-6 and 1-2 in the OVC.
SIUE starter Brendan Miller allowed all five first inning-runs without getting an out. He fell to 0-1 with the loss.
"This game often times starts with starting pitching," Lyons said. "We didn't get the start we were hoping for. Brendan struggled a little bit and as guys came out of the pen we just didn't have our best stuff. We fell behind early and it was a tough hill to climb."
The Racers added a run in the fourth to go up 6-0 before the Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the inning. Dustin Woodcock scored on a two-out error.
Murray State scored three more in the fifth and the Cougars added a run in the sixth thanks to an RBI-single from Jordan Stading to make it 9-2.
A five-run seventh inning and a four-run eighth gave the Racers an 18-2 cushion heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Cougars took advantage of five walks and two hit batters and used three hits to score seven times in the ninth for the 18-9 final. Stading drove in two with a bases-loaded single. Aaron Jackson also had an RBI-hit. Brock Weimer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home a run and Jackson Layton and Eric Giltz each picked up RBIs on bases-loaded walks.
"That's a good sign," Lyons said of the seven-run ninth. "We would have loved to compete a little better through the middle innings. "(Our guys) competed and still put up quality at-bats which is something that we have harped on with the guys."
Murray State starter Jack Hranec allowed two runs through six innings to earn the win. He struck out two and walked two.
"He did a nice job mixing pitches and we just didn't really adjust through those middle innings," Lyons added.
Adam Bauer and Brandon Gutzler each had four hits for Murray State.
The Cougars will finish a season-long, nine-game home stand when they play host to Evansville Wednesday night.