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Eagles alive in OVC after Layne walk-off homer - The Trail Blazer: News

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Eagles alive in OVC after Layne walk-off homer

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Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 9:00 am

MARION, Ill. -- Facing elimination in the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament, Morehead State junior Ryan Layne made sure his Eagles weren't taking an early two-and-out exit.

Layne crushed a two-out, walk-off home run to center-field as the Eagles outlasted Murray State 2-1 late Thursday evening at Rent One Ballpark. The heroics also helped make a complete-game winner out of junior pitcher Jason Goe, who struck out 11 Racer batters and allowed only a fourth-inning home run to light the run column for the Racers.

Layne's third round-tripper of the season propelled the Eagles into a 38-20 overall, mark, tying the 2015 OVC Tournament Championship team for the most wins in a season in program history. The Eagles defeated Murray State (24-31) all four times the squads faced off this year, including two come-from-behind walk-off victories.

In the ninth, junior designated hitter Jon Burghardt drew a leadoff free pass from Murray reliever Jake Jones. Pinch runner Zach Boyd appeared to have taken second base on a steal attempt but was ruled out when junior Dom Peroni struck out and was ruled to interfere on the catcher's throw to second base. Layne wasted no time in ending the game, smashing the first pitch he saw from Jones deep over the center-field fence.

The Eagles struggled to drive in runs against Murray State starter Gray Dorsey, going scoreless until the seventh inning and tailing 1-0 when Racer shortstop Jaron Robinson belted a solo shot in the fourth. Layne also nearly drove in the tying run in the seventh on a double, but the ball careened over the fence for a ground-rule double in nearly the same spot as the game-winning homer, sending runner Burghardt back to third. Senior catcher Hunter Fain calmly grounded out to second base through to push Burghardt across.

Meanwhile Goe kept his team within striking distance, throwing his first career complete game. He sat down 11 on punchouts, just two shy of the career-high 13 he whiffed at UT Martin this year.

The Eagles will play again at 8 p.m. ET on Friday against either No. 1 Jacksonville State (if it loses the early game Friday), No. 4 Belmont or No. 6 Eastern Kentucky.