Baseball - Mustangs emerge from ugly outing, 9-2, over Graves County
5/14/2019 8:49 AM

MAYFIELD -- A five-run fourth inning broke open a 3-2 game for McCracken County against Graves County Monday, but it wasn't a thing of beauty.

The Mustangs were the beneficiaries of three Eagle errors and a bases-loaded walk to help build their lead and eventually win, 9-2. But head coach Geno Miller wasn't necessarily pleased with how his team handled its time with their bats.

McCracken County registered nine hits, but also accounted for nine strikeouts against Graves starter Jordyn Naranjo in the first three innings, with five of those off dropped third strike calls.

"We took some really bad approaches at the plate," Miller said. "To take nothing away from Jordyn Naranjo; I have a lot of respect for him. But I just thought we didn't make adjustments and took some bad swings early.

"We were fortunate that it got to where we were making some bad plays on defense and they were making some bad plays, and was just kind of an ugly game all the way around," he added.

Coming off a 2-1 weekend trip to Bowling Green, the Mustangs (23-7) opened in the first, 2-0, off a throwing error by Graves County catcher Brandon Richards on a dropped third strike toss to first that allowed Elijah Wheat to score from second base. Logan Verble's RBI single to centerfield later scored Ben Higdon, who reached first off that initial error.

The Eagles (16-13) responded in the bottom of the first. Leadoff batter Drew Cooper was hit by a pitch and then reached third off a throwing error by Mustang pitcher Garrett Crabtree. Cooper then scored on a Naranjo single. Meanwhile, Lane Howell, who walked in his at-bat, scored off Richards' single.

McCracken took the lead in the second inning as Dylan Schneider went from first to third on two passed balls and then scored off a wild pitch, 3-2.

Leading off the fourth, Grant Godwin reached on an error, stole second then made it past third base in a potential run down, but an errant throw from third baseman Lane Howell allowed him to score.

Three batters later with bases loaded, Kiael Waldon reached on an error to set up a 5-2 lead. Grant Davis drew a bases loaded walk, 6-2, that helped set up RBI singles from Higdon and Verble.

Another error in the sixth led to Verble's second RBI off a 3-for-4 night and the final margin. Higdon went 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs, as well.

Naranjo led Graves County's 6-hit night, by going 2-for-4.

He also took the loss over 31/3 innings, where he accounted for eight unearned runs and four hits with 10 Ks.

Crabtree won over 32/3 innings with four hits, four strikeouts and two walks.

As the Eagles host Madisonville-North Hopkins from the Second Region, the Mustangs face a test tonight in Marshall County, which faced Caldwell County Monday.

But Miller said the focus is self-improvement as the regular season winds down.

"Marshall's a really good team. Right now, we're trying to address some things we're doing wrong," he said. "They're the other team in the other dugout, but we're playing against the ball."

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