By Ryan Frye, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations
MOREHEAD, Ky. –
Coming off a 3-1 weekend against Murray State and sporting the Ohio Valley Conference’s Player of the Week, Morehead State baseball embarks on a three-game road trip to Cookeville, Tenn. for a meeting with Tennessee Tech.
Morehead State (23-16; 12-6 OVC) enters after taking two of three in an OVC series from Murray State before capturing the final game of the series—a non-conference contest—to take the overall series three games to one. Tennessee Tech (15-21; 8-13 OVC) is coming off a series setback against Eastern Kentucky, but the Golden Eagles did take the series finale via run-rule, winning 16-3 in seven innings.
Senior catcher Jack Gardner claimed OVC Player of the Week honors after hitting .364 while slugging 1.273 with three home runs and 11 total RBI. In game one of the Eagles’ series with Murray State, he put together one of the most impressive games in Eagle baseball history, hitting three homers—a grand slam, two-run, and three-run blast—to tally nine RBI, becoming the first Eagle with a three-homer game since 2017 and the first with nine RBI in a game since 2010.
Gardner isn’t the only Eagle carrying momentum into the Tennessee Tech series as freshman first baseman Jackson Feltner picked up a hit in all four games last weekend, upping his conference-leading reached-base and hitting streaks to 29 and 20 games, respectively. Fellow freshman, outfielder Jacob Ferry enters with a three-game homer streak, homering in each of the final three games in the Murray State series, becoming the third Eagle this season to homer in three consecutive games, joining Feltner (April 24-25) and freshman outfielder Ryley Preece (April 8-9).
Due to expected inclement weather, the three-game series versus Tennessee Tech has been adjusted to feature a single game Friday at 6 p.m. ET and a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Records: Morehead State (23-16; 12-6 OVC) | Tennessee Tech (15-21; 8-13 OVC)
Series: Morehead State leads 93-81-1
Last Five Meetings: May 11, 2019 (TTU 8, MOR 7) | May 10, 2019 (MOR 10, TTU 8) | May 10, 2019 (TTU 3, MOR 2) | May 27, 2018 (MOR 4, TTU 3) | May 26, 2018 (MOR 11, TTU 6)
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Morehead State | Tennessee Tech
Game One: RHP Jason Goe (3-4; 4.55 ERA) | LHP Ty Fisher (4-4; 3.98 ERA)
Game Two: RHP Luke Helton (3-1; 5.28 ERA) | RHP Tyler Sylvester (0-5; 6.20 ERA)
Game Three: RHP John Sherman (1-1; 7.02 ERA) | To Be Announced
Note: Subject to change; based on previous weekend’s rotations
- Meeting for the first time since 2019, Morehead State continues one of its oldest series—a series that dates back to the formation of the Ohio Valley Conference in 1949—as the Eagles travel to Cookeville, Tenn. for a three-game set with Tennessee Tech. Morehead State leads the all-time series 93-81-1 but the Golden Eagles captured two of three in the teams’ last meeting at Tennessee Tech in 2019.
- After hitting .364 and slugging 1.273 in four games versus Murray State last weekend, senior catcher Jack Gardner earned his first career OVC Player of the Week honor. He garnered the honor after hitting three home runs and driving in 11 runs, including a three-homer, nine-RBI game in last Friday’s series opener. Gardner joins freshman centerfielder Ryley Preece (April 12) as Morehead State’s Player of the Week honorees in 2021.
- Hitting three home runs—a grand slam, two-run, and three-run shot—Gardner drove in nine runs in Morehead State’s 17-3 series-opening victory. His three-homer game marked the first for an Eagle since Niko Hulsizer launched three long balls versus Alabama A&M on March 28, 2017, while his nine RBI were the most in a game by an Eagle since Taylor Davis drove in nine runs versus Eastern Kentucky on April 17, 2010.
- Hitting .402 on the year (53-132), freshman first baseman Jackson Feltner enters the weekend’s series ranked fourth amongst NCAA freshmen in batting average, ranking second amongst true freshman. In the OVC, Feltner ranks second in batting average as he and Southeast Missouri’s Tyler Wilber (.412) are the only hitters with a .400-plus average in the conference.
- Feltner with a 29-game reached base and 20-game hitting streak holds the longest active streaks in the Ohio Valley Conference entering the weekend, tying for the longest hitting streak in the OVC in 2021. Redshirt junior second baseman Bryce Hensor’s 14-game hitting streak is the third-longest active streak in the OVC while also sporting a 19-game reached base streak. Redshirt senior Stephen Hill holds Morehead State’s other 10-plus game reached base streak at 11 games.
- Entering the Tennessee Tech series and the latter part of the season with nine home runs, Feltner is seeking to become the fifth freshman in program history to hit double-digit homers in a season. His next long ball makes him the first freshman with 10-plus homers since Taylor Davis in 2009.
- Picking up a victory in the second game of the Murray State series, redshirt senior lefthander Cory Conway improved to 8-2 on the season out of the bullpen. His eight victories tie for second-most in the country behind only Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker while he’s tied with Liberty’s David Erickson for the most relief victories in the NCAA.
- Conway’s eight victories in 2021 tie for fifth-most in a single season in Morehead State baseball history—the second time in his career Conway has reached that mark in a season (2018)—with his 18 career victories also tying for fifth-most all-time. His eight single-season wins in 2018 and 2021 are the most single-season relief victories in program history while his 17 career relief wins are the most in program history.
- After scoring five runs in last weekend’s series versus Murray State, Hensor has scored 46 runs (1.18 per game) over 39 games this year. He leads the OVC in runs scored and runs scored per game, ranking 11th and 17th in the NCAA, respectively. He’s scored at least a run in each of the past five games, his second-longest streak of the season behind an 11-game streak from April 2-18.
- Gardner, like Hensor with runs scored, also ranks top-25 in both RBI categories; ranking 13th in runs batted in per game and 17th in runs batted in. Over 35 games, he’s driven in 47 runs, an average of 1.34 per game, totals that rank third and second in the OVC, respectively.
- Making two appearances while picking up a save last weekend against Murray State, redshirt junior southpaw John Bakke ranks 10th and 18th in appearances (23) and saves (seven), respectively, in the country. His seven saves tie for fifth-most in program history while also marking the most for a left-handed pitcher in a single season in program history.