Eagle Baseball upended No. 18 Tennessee Tech University (TTU) in the final round of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Tournament this past May to capture the 2018 OVC Championship.
Junior left-fielder Niko Hulsizer hit a go-ahead solo homer in the top of the ninth inning off the OVC Pitcher of the Year, Tennessee Tech’s Travis Moths, as the Eagles held on to win the second game 4-3. The Eagles topped TTU in the first matchup 11-6 to force the league’s “if necessary” game and won it to mark the fourth time since 2005 a team has come back from the consolation bracket to win the event by knocking off the other team twice.
Hulsizer was named tournament MVP. He was joined on the All-Tournament Team by sophomore lefty Dalton Stambaugh, second baseman Braxton Morris (18), junior outfielder Jake Hammon and freshman lefty Cory Conway.
It is Morehead State’s fourth OVC Baseball title, joining the teams from 1983, 1993 and 2015.
“We knew coming into this year that we had the talent to be a regional team, and I am so proud to coach these men,” said head coach Mike McGuire (96). “Tennessee Tech is a tremendous club, but we just stuck with the plan that helped us win yesterday. A lot of credit goes to our pitching staff for what they accomplished this week, but this was a total team title. Everyone contributed in some way. All I know is we get to keep playing and we get to keep coaching this great group. It doesn’t matter who or where we go for the regional, we are just happy to be in it.”
Eagle Baseball went to Clemson, South Carolina, for the 2018 NCAA. Regional Morehead State (four seed) faced No. 10 national seed and fifth-ranked Clemson on June 1 at Dough Kinsmore Stadium in the double elimination format. Clemson defeated Morehead State 4-3 in 10 innings. This sent MSU into an elimination game against St. John’s, where Eagle Baseball was defeated 11-5. The Eagles finished with a record of 37-26.
This marked the Eagle program’s fourth-ever NCAA Regional berth, joining teams from 1977 (Miami Regional), 1983 (Ann Arbor [Michigan] Regional) and 2015 (Louisville Regional). Braxton Morris, David Calderon (18) and Tyler Niemann (18) were the first players in program history to be on two regional qualifying teams.