Eagles close out road trip with Wednesday stop at Tennessee Tech

By | April 27, 2022

By Brad Laux, MSU Athletic Media Relations

MOREHEAD, Ky. – On Wednesday, the Morehead State softball team will travel to Cookeville, Tenn., to face Tennessee Tech for the second time this season. The Eagles and Golden Eagles will play a doubleheader starting at 4 pm ET on the Tech Softball Field.

The pair of contests will be the final two outings of a six-game road swing for MSU. It will only be the fourth mid-week contests for the Blue and Gold this season, all of which have come on a Wednesday. Two of those games were home meetings with Tennessee Tech (30-14/12-8). The Golden Eagles won those contests 9-1 and 8-0, both in five innings, on March 30.

Eagle fans can follow the action through live stats at the links: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=390630 (Game one) and http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=390634 (game two).

Morehead State (5-31/4-15) has dropped its last four outings, including three straight over the weekend at Belmont. The Eagles fell 6-0 and 7-4 on Saturday and then 8-4 on Sunday. MSU last won a road game on April 17, 2021 (3-1 over UT Martin in Martin, Tenn.), a streak of 30 consecutive defeats, with 25 coming this year.

MSU is in the thick of the race for a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The Eagles are two games back of both SIU-Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois for eighth place. Those two teams also will square off on Wednesday in Charleston, Ill. Morehead State last made the field in 2018.

junior outfielder Madeline Gailor recently reached the mark necessary to qualify for national stats. She leads the club with a .303 batting average, 16 RBI, a .368 slugging percentage and 10 stolen bases. She has reached base safely in 15 of the last 17 games.

Injuries have reduced the active roster to just 13 players. Of those remaining, senior catcher/infielder Peyton Slater is next in batting average at .240. She is tied for ninth in throwing out runners attempting to steal with 14. Freshman utility player Ilencia Lightbody has come on as of late and is third among the healthy with a .230 batting average. The team is batting .215.

senor third baseman Peyton Rose was hit by a pitch a school-record three times in Saturday’s second Belmont game. She sits fourth in Division I in times hit by pitch per game at 0.46. Having been hit 16 times this season, she has moved into second place on the school’s single-season list. With 35 plunks this spring, MSU also is within striking distance of the team’s single-season mark of being hit by a pitch with 39, set in 2011.

sophomore Lennon Spicer and freshman Madi Ogden have been sharing time in the circle. Spicer, the team’s ace, has a 4-16 record and a 5.15 ERA. She has 73 strikeouts and 43 walks in 107 and one-third innings. Ogden has a 1-9 record and a 5.61 ERA, with 36 strikeouts and 42 walks in 67 and one-third innings.

Tennessee Tech (30-14/12-8) opens a five-game home stand on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles are in fifth place in the conference standings a game behind Southeast Missouri State and one ahead of Austin Peay. TTU has won its last four outings, having swept Tennessee State 4-3, 3-2 and 5-2 over the weekend. Those victories pushed the team to the 30-win mark for the first time since 2015.

Tech is 11-3 at home this season and enters Wednesday having dropped its last three, all to Belmont on April 15-16 (including its most recent contest 14-5 in five innings). Prior to that, the team swept SIUE on April 9-10. It won its first 11 home games this year.

Offensively, the Golden Eagles are batting .289 as a team, averaging 5.8 runs per game, with 42 home runs and 51 stolen bases. In the circle, they own a team 3.66 ERA, with an average of 4.44 strikeouts per game. Defensively, they own a .968 team fielding percentage.

Offensively, TTU is batting .284, while allowing its opponents to hit .253. Individually, three players are hitting above .300, including sophomore pitcher/infielder Mackenzie Fitzgerald (.392, nine extra-base hits, 33 runs scored, 13 RBI and 17-of-18 in stolen bases), junior pitcher/infielder Haeli Bryson (.378, seven home runs, 31 RBI and 27 runs scored) and freshman infielder Carmen Betts (.373, 21 RBI with 20 runs scored). Opposing pitchers own a 5.17 ERA against Golden Eagle bats.

Defensively, the club sports a .969 fielding percentage and a 3.11 ERA, with opponents batting .253 against it. Three pitchers are sharing time in the circle. Senior Alyssa Arden (10-6, 3.38 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 25 walks in 93.1 innings) is getting the most work. Freshman Tyler Erwin follows with a 7-1 record, a 2.31 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 11 walks in 42.1 innings. Bryson has also seen some action as a pitcher with a 3-2 record, 3.09 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 16 walks in 45.1 innings.

Senior pitcher/infielder Haeli Bryson holds a team-best .401 batting average, with a .655 slugging percentage and a .456 on-base percentage. She adds squad-leading totals of nine homers with 36 RBI. Sophomore Mackenzie Fitzgerald is hitting .376, has six homers, 24 RBI and a squad-high 24 stolen bases. Sophomore infielder Carmen Betts is the only other player hitting above .300 at .321. She adds seven doubles, four homers and 26 RBI.

In the circle, Bryson boasts a 5-3 record and a 3.57 ERA, with 46 strikeouts and 21 walks in 66 and two-thirds innings. Senior pitcher Alyssa Arden has seen the most action. She is 13-9 with one save and a 3.80 ERA, with 88 strikeouts and 42 walks in 129 innings. Freshman Tyler Erwin is 12-2 with a 3.38 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 21 walks in 78.2 innings.

In the March 30 meetings, Tennessee Tech jumped out to early leads in both contests (8-0 after three in game one and 7-0 after two in game two). MSU scored its lone run in the fifth inning of game one.

Senior left fielder Shelby Penning led the way in the first meeting going 2-for-3, with five RBI and two runs. Erwin picked up the win having surrendered two hits and one earned run with two strikeouts and two walks.

Slater and sophomore second baseman Peyton Jordan had MSU’s hits, with Jordan driving in the team’s run. Freshman pitcher Bree Sexton suffered the loss pitching two innings in relief. She allowed four hits and four earned runs, with four walks and no strikeouts. She has since left the team. Ogden started the game and threw for three innings, surrendering one earned run on two hits, with three strikeouts and two walks.

In game two, sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Fitzgerald went 2-for-4, while Bryson was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Bryson also picked up the win pitching five shutout innings with four hits three strikeouts and a walk.

Gailor tallied two of MSU’s four hits. Spicer took the loss after surrendering five earned runs with nine hits, three walks and three strikeouts.

The two teams have met each year since 1989, with the exception of 2020. TTU holds a 75-28 series advantage and has won the last seven meetings. The Golden Eagles have a 35-12 edge in contests taking place on their home field. The last time MSU played in Cookeville, it swept an April 29, 2018, doubleheader 2-1 and 7-3.

Morehead State starts a seven-game home stand on Saturday with a doubleheader against Tennessee State. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 pm The two teams will meet again on Sunday with a single contest slated to begin at 1 pm After that, MSU will host a pair of non-conference doubleheaders on Tuesday against Rio Grande and Wednesday with Butler.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.