By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Murray State’s Colt Pickens drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and reliever Eddie Broll made it stick for two more frames as the NJCAA Division II World Series’ de facto home team won its first-ever game in the tournament, edging Brunswick (N.C.), 2-1 Saturday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
Pickens broke a 1-1 tie with a line drive to right that scored Daniel Arthur from third on the second pitch Brunswick reliever Kyle Shields threw. Shields was called for a balk before he threw his pitch in the game, moving Arthur and Keach Ballard to second and third with no outs.
“It is what it is,” said Brunswick coach Robbie Allen, whose team had two errors. “It’s one of those things, we have taken pride in not making errors, and moving baserunners, and capitalizing and scoring them all year long, then the one thing that got us here let us down today.”
Murray State failed to add any insurance in the rest of the seventh, despite having runners at the corners with no outs. Noel Nevarez popped up to Brunswick catcher Ryan Brendle and Josh Ingram popped up a bunt that Shields slid in front of the first-base line to catch and doubled off Ballard at third to end the threat and slim Broll’s margin for error to a one-run advantage.
Broll wiggled into and out of trouble for the remaining three frames including a bottom of the eighth jam with runners at second and third with one out. Johnathan Corbett lined out to right in the next at-bat, too shallow for Michael Deese to tag from third. Broll struck out Brendle in the next at-bat to retire the side.
“My last two (appearances), my hands have been sweating in this heat,” said Broll (6-2), who took the win after stranding four runners in the final three innings. “My teammates helped me work through it all.”
“We left some out there, and the inning when they scored their first one, we gave that one away,” Allen said. “You can’t play at this level and make the mental mistakes we made, and make the errors we made.”
Broll allowed a one-out base hit to pinch hitter Jimmy Boyd in the bottom of the ninth, but Tony Sanchez flew out on the next at-bat and Ryan Maksim grounded to Ballard for a routine unassisted force out at second, sending a full-throated Murray State crowd — by far the opening day’s largest contingent — into a frenzy.
“The whole town of Tishomingo we have here for us,” Broll said. “With all the stuff that’s going on with tornadoes in Oklahoma, we’re trying to do it for them.”
“Regardless of where you are on the scoreboard, you feel like the home team,” Pickens said. “We had probably 400-500 fans in the stands just for us. Everybody else is traveling 18-plus hours. It feels good.”
Murray State opened the scoring in the top of the second, taking a 1-0 lead on Ballard’s base-hit single. Brunswick equalized in the bottom of the sixth on a Corbett RBI groundout that scored Deese. Matt Lowry (5-1) took the loss for the Dolphins, surrendering two runs in six innings on four hits and seven walks. Aggie starter Hunter Raley pitched six innings, giving up one run on three hits, striking out five and walking one.
North Iowa Community College beat Madison, Wis., 2-0 in the late game Saturday behind Tim Black’s 16 strikeouts. MSC (42-21) plays North Iowa at noon Monday. Brunswick and Madison play at 7 tonight.
(19-32) will face Madison at 7 tonight.