MATTOON, Ill.- Eastern Illinois (25-12, 7-5 OVC) loses three straight games to the Racers of Murray State (21-18, 7-8 OVC) as they go 24-20 in the second game of a double header on Saturday. EIU collected 19 hits that day, including seven home runs. Murray State had 20 hits with 10 homers. Ryan Ignofo stayed hot in game three with two homers and four RBIs. Nathan Aide also had three hits for EIU and four RBIs. starting pitcher Blake Malatestinic (L, 3-3) allowed five earned runs with four hits in the first inning and was replaced by Ky Hampton. Both EIU and Murray State hit 17 combined home runs in game three of the series, tying an NCAA for most home runs in a single game (1991 – Lousiville vs. Western Illinois.
Ryan Ignofo: 2-7, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Nathan Aide: 3-7, 4 RBI, R
Nicholas Rucker: 1-5, 3 RBI, R
Chris Worcester: 3-6, RBI, 3R
Blake Malatestinic: L(3-3), 0.0IP, 4H, 5R, 1BB
Ky Hampton: 3.0 IP, 11H, 12R, 7ER, 4K
Kyle Lang: 2.0 IP, 3H, 2R, BB, 3K
The Racers started the game and scored 10 runs in the first inning alone. With two players, Bryson Bloomer hit a three-run home run for his first home run in game three. He was followed by two solo homers from Drew Vogel and Brennan McCullough for back-to-back homers. Malatestinic left the game after conceding three straight home runs. Murray State would bang around orders to raise Jake Slunder to a single with two RBIs. After another racer was fielded, Bloomer hit his second home run with three runs of the inning to give MSU a 10-0 lead after the first-half inning.
EIU wasn’t going to go down without a fight in the first inning. The Panthers defended themselves starting with a three-shot Nicholas Rucker to cut the lead to 10-3. Lincoln Riley and Nathan Aide both safely hit Rucker’s home runs. Chris Worcester would then hit a solo home run of his own right after Ruckers. Riley would walk loaded bases later in the inning to score another run. Aide recorded the seventh and final RBI in the first inning to reduce the lead to 10-7 after one.
The racers would score another three runs in the top of the second from a home run by Cayden Shaver who hit McCullough and Riley Hawthorne. Ryan Ignofo started with a solo home run at the end of the inning. Grant Lashure tripled later in the inning to score Worcester for another RBI. Dalton Doyle then hit his first home run of the season for a two-run blast to cut the lead to 13-11.
The third inning saw two more of Murray State’s 10 homers with back-to-back shots from Vogel and McCullough for their second homers of the day. Hampton would get a strikeout to end the game. Worcester would pick up a double in the third but was left stranded.
After an RBI double from Shaver to start the fourth for MSU, MacHickman came to the hill for EIU. Jake Slunder would pick up an RBI sack fly for the racers to score another. Bloomer would end the inning with his third home run of the game to give Murray a 19-11 lead. EIU would remain scoreless in the fourth. The racers would also pick up a run in the fifth off a block from Hickman, who scored McCullough.
The Racer’s Vogel hit a two-run home run on top of the sixth to give the Racers a total of 22 runs on the board. Aide got the Panthers back on the board at the end of the sixth with an RBI single followed by a wild pitch from MSU that scored Riley. EIU cut the lead to 22-13.
Hawthorne would get on the plate for the Racers in the seventh and hit another home run from the Panthers. Ben Gallaher would enter the game for EIU at the catch point and hit an RBI single down the middle to score Worcester. The racers would get another mistake in the eighth Kyle Lang that would score Bloomer and give MSU 24 runs overall.
Ryan Ignofo would take the lead on his second home run of the game and give EIU three more runs in the eighth inning. Zane Robbins came into play in the ninth game, ending the Racers’ offense without allowing them to score. EIU would show some final effort in ninth place by scoring three points. Logan Eickhof and Gallaher hit back-to-back homers to start the inning’s bottom. EIU would score another run with an RBI fielder choice from Aide to finish the standings at 24-20.
EIU would have 20 runs with 19 hits and three penalties. Murray State would have 24 carries with 21 hits and two penalties. The Panthers will be back in action Wednesday in Illinois Wesleyan. Live statistics will be available.