MOREHEAD, Ky. — Winners of four straight, including two shutouts, the Morehead State baseball team will make the short trek to Richmond this weekend to take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Game one is set for 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, game two is Saturday at 4 p.m., and the finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Live audio with Michael Gustin will be available on MSUEagles.com. EKU will video stream all three games, weather permitting, on the OVC Digital Network.
MSU has tweaked its weekend rotation a bit for the EKU series. Senior righty Matt Anderson will get the nod in the opener, followed by sophomore southpaw Aaron Leasher in the Saturday afternoon contest. Senior RHP Patrick McGuff, who also started versus Tennessee Tech, is the starter for game three.
The Eagles (16-9) defeated the Colonels (11-14) twice last season and also claimed two of three in the series in Richmond in 2014.
15 NOTES HEADING INTO THE WEEKEND
Morehead State trails 114-92-1 to EKU in its longest-running series.
In the last three games, MSU outscored its opponents (Belmont, Miami [Ohio], Marshall) 39-3. The Eagles batted .386 with 17 extra-base hits (12 doubles, 5 HRs) during that span.
Morehead State posted two home shutouts in the past five days. Previously, the last time MSU recorded a home shutout was May 13, 2006 (4-0 vs. Southeast Missouri).
Since being swept at Belmont last March, Morehead State has won nine of its last 10 three-game league series with the only loss being at SEMO this season.
In the Eagles’ 14 games away from Allen Field, they have posted a .286 batting average with 27 doubles and 16 home runs. The pitching staff has notched a 4.18 ERA with 103 strikeouts in games not in Morehead.
MSU ranks second in the Ohio Valley Conference in team batting (.323) and team pitching (4.32 ERA). The Eagle defense ranks first in the conference in fielding accuracy (.968).
Game one starter Matt Anderson, a senior righty, struck out a career-high 16 batters on March 11 versus Tennessee Tech. He leads the OVC and ranks in the top five nationally with 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
Junior lefthander Aaron Leasher, slated to start game two, recorded his first career complete-game shutout last week versus Belmont. He struck out a career high 12 and was named adidas OVC Pitcher of the Week. He ranks third in the league with a 2.36 ERA and is 3-0.
Freshman catcher Hunter Fain carries a team-best 19-game reached-base streak into the weekend. In fact, he has reached base in all 19 games he has seen a plate appearance, and he hit his first career home run Wednesday versus Marshall.
In his last six games, sophomore outfielder Tyler Niemann is 11-for-19 (.578) at the plate with three multi-hit efforts.
Junior lefthander Cable Wright has made 72 career appearances, including a school-record 33 last season. The MSU career record for appearances in 84 by Troy Young (1995-98). Wright has only allowed one earned run in 14.2 innings this year, and has a streak of nine straight scoreless innings over his last six appearances.
Junior rightfielder Will Schneider carries a 17-game reached-base streak into the series. Schneider leads the team with six home runs and boasts a team-best .621 slugging percentage.
Freshman shortstop Reid Leonard has been the Eagles most efficient hitter with two strikes in the count. Of his 25 total hits, nine have been with two strikes on him. Overall he is hitting .338.
Junior third baseman Alex Stephens is tied for the OVC lead with 11 doubles and ranks third in total bases with 66.
Of the 212 runs scored in 2016, 33 percent (71) have crossed the plate in either the first or second innings. The third and fourth innings have been MSU’s least efficient, scoring 31 times (14 percent) out of the 212.