MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2021

Devonta Witherspoon scores as the Racers rally past EIU. (Photo by Dave Winder, MSU Athletics)

RACERS ALONE IN FIRST PLACE IN THE OVC AFTER COMEBACK WIN OVER EIU
Murray State scored 28 unanswered points to erase a 14-point deficit and moved into sole possession of first place in the OVC football standings with a 42-27 win over Eastern Illinois yesterday at Stewart Stadium. The Racers gave up 17 points in the first 5:31 of the third quarter as the Panthers turned a 10-10 tie into a 27-13 lead with MSU’s lone score during the stretch a 58-yard field goal from Aaron Baum. But the 19th-ranked Racers completed the comeback win by scoring the next 28 points on a Preston Rice to DeQuan Dallas 15-yard pass, a Rice 2-yard run, two more field goals from Baum, a Devonta Witherspoon 4 yard run, and a Baum to Chandler Moody pass for the two-point conversion conversion. After the touchdown, a Jarad McCray interception and a stop on fourth-down would seal the win and push the Racers to 5-0. Racer head coach Dean Hood said the players have shown resiliency during the spring campaign. The Racers can clinch a share of their first OVC Championship since 2002 with a win over the Governors in this Saturday’s game in Clarksville. Tonight, we will talk about the games at 6 on Hey Coach with Dean Hood on Froggy 103.7.In other OVC games on Sunday:

Austin Peay 13, #7 Jacksonville State 10
Southeast Missouri 24, Tennessee Tech 21
Tennessee State 26, UT Martin 24

RACER BASEBALL SPLITS DH AT MEMPHIS
Jordan Cozart homered and drove in two runs as Murray State baseball took two of three in a non-conference series with Memphis, earning a Sunday twinbill split with a 4-2 win in the nightcap. Jake Jones moved to 4-0 on the hill by limiting the Tigers to 1 hit through four innings with Cade Vernon tossing three scoreless innings to notch his first save in the 7-inning affair. The Tigers took the 9-inning opener 6-1, with Ryan Perkins picking up 2 of the Racers five hits. MSU improves to 12-11 on the season and will open a three-game series Thursday night at Tennessee Tech.

SEMO SWEEPS RACER VOLLEYBALL
Southeast Missouri swept Murray State volleyball 3-0 last night in Cape Girardeau. The scores were 25-19, 25-23, and 25-16. The 5-10 Racers close out the season today at 2 with another match against the Redhawks in Cape.

MUSTANGS BOYS AND MARSHALL GIRLS CLAIM REGION 1 HOOPS TITLES
In the First Region Boys Basketball Tournament championship game Saturday night, Murray High rolled out to an 11 point lead in the second quarter, but a McCracken County’s defense dominated from that point, holding the Tigers to four second half field goals en route to a 45-40 win for the Mustangs. Gabe Taylor led the Tigers with 11 points. McCracken County advances to the Sweet 16 and will play Bullitt East on Thursday in a game that will air on WNBS. In the Girls Region 1 championship game, Marshall County crushed McCracken County 49-21 beyond 15 points from tourney MVP Cayson Conner.

SPRING HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS BEGIN TODAY
Locally, spring sports begin today with three teams scheduled to play. In baseball, Murray High hosts Paducah Tilghman in a 5 pm game while Calloway County visits Mayfield in a 5:30 contest. In softball, Murray High is at Marshall County at 5:30. Calloway County opens the season at home tomorrow against Christian County. Spring sports in 2020 were not played at all due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RACER SOFTBALL TAKES TWO OF THREE FROM TSU
Murray State softball concluded its three-game weekend series against Tennessee State with a 3-2 win over the Tigers on Saturday. With the win, the Racers improved to 11-3 against OVC competition. tying their 2019 mark for the best-ever start to the conference slate. The Racers will return to action at 4 pm Tuesday when they wrap up their six-game homestand with a non conference contest against Middle Tennessee.

RACER TENNIS DOWNS JSU
Murray State tennis improved to 2-0 against conference foes on the season with a 5-2 victory over Jacksonville State on Friday behind four singles wins and the doubles point at the Bennie Purcell Tennis Courts in Murray. The Racers return to action on Friday when they open a two-match road trip against UT Martin.

MSU SETS PROGRAM RECORDS IN WINNING SIMMONS INVITE
The Murray State women’s track & field program set two new program and facility records at their annual Margaret Simmons Invite on Saturday. The Racers placed first as a team with 155.75 points winning six events. The 4 x 100 relay team ran a time of 45.34 to break the previous record set in 2018 by three-hundredths of a second. The 4 x 800 relay team destroyed the 31-year old record of 9:25 set in 1989 with a time of 9:09.43. The Racers will travel to Cape Girardeau this Friday and Saturday to participate in the Joey Haines Invite.

VILLACRES NAMED GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
Murray State soccer’s Jenna Villacres has been named the Ohio Valley Conference Goalkeeper of the Week. Villacres earned her second clean sheet of the season when she blanked Tennessee Tech in Murray State’s 1-0 victory over the Golden Eagles on Tuesday. With 21 points in eight games, the Racers are by themselves at the top of the OVC standings with just two matches to play in the regular season. They visit SEMO Friday night at 6.

PICCI CLAIMS OVC WEEKLY HONOR
Murray State’s Ana Garcia Picchi was named Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week. From Seville, Spain, Picchi finished tied for eighth in a field of 90 competitors at the Bama Beach Bash, held at the Gulf Shores Golf Club. She carded scores of 76-76-73=225 for her second Top-10 finish of her Racer career. The Racers play at the inaugural Chattanooga Classic today and tomorrow at Black Creek Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

HUNT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Murray State men’s golf coach Eddie Hunt announced his retirement after 20 seasons at the helm of the Racer program. Hunt continued solid leadership in the men’s program as just the second all-time head coach, taking over for MSU and Ohio Valley Conference legend, Coach Buddy Hewitt, who started the program in 1961 and led it for 40 years. A two-time OVC Coach of the Year honoree, Hunt’s retirement becomes official June 30.

CLEAR THE TRACK CAMPAIGN REACHES MILESTONE
The “Clear The Track” campaign benefiting Murray State football recently reached an important milestone, hitting the $500,000 mark in committed funds. The goal of the campaign is to provide the Racer football team with $250,000 of new, recurring annual funds over the next four years. The “Clear The Track” campaign began in December of 2019 to coincide with the hiring of the new football head coach Dean Hood and has reached the halfway point in a little over 18 months. In total, 30 families have made a gift to the campaign, including 15 from football alumni. For more information, contact Murray State athletics’ Director of Development, Taylor Mudd at 270-809-3157.

LOUISVILLE ADVANCES IN WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNEY
Second-seeded Louisville dusted off Oregon 60-42 in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tourney in San Antonio. The Cardinals will play Stanford tomorrow night in the Elite Eight. This is the third consecutive tournament the Cardinals have advanced to the regional final.

REPORT: FIGGER TO UT-RGV
Yahoo Sports reporter Pete Thamel ctweeted yesterday that men’s basketball coach Matt Figger was leaving Austin Peay to take the head coaching job at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. In his four seasons with Austin Peay after replacing coaching legend Dave Loos, Figger had a 76-51 record, including 49-25 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

AREA HOCKEY ROUNDUP
The Nashville Predators beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in Chicago for their fifth straight win. Roman Josi broke a tie in the third period with 6:33 remaining. Nashville has won seven of its last eight. The Blues gave up three unanswered goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Ducks at the Enterprise Center. The Blues are off till Friday when they visit the Avalanche.

GRIZZLIES AT HOUTON TONIGHT
The Memphis Grizzlies will play the Rockets tonight in Houston. Memphis will try to bounce back from successive defeats to the Jazz at Utah. The Griz are 21-22.

CARDINALS HAMMERED BY NATS
The Cardinals were tied 3-3 before giving up eight runs in the bottom of the 8th in an 11-3 defeat to the Nationals in West Palm Beach. Tyler Webb was tagged with the loss. John Nogowski and Yadier Molina drove in runs for St. Louis. The Cards host the Mets in their final spring training game today. Airtime is set for 10:55 this morning on WNBS AM and FM.

CARDINALS SET ROSTER
The Cardinals opening day roster is set. The club has narrowed down the 26 players they plan to carry on their active roster to Opening Day in Cincinnati on Thursday. The roster will feature 13 pitchers and 13 position players. John Nogowski, Edmundo Sosa, Austin Dean and Justin Williams have made the team as position players, while Jake Woodford secured a spot in the bullpen.

NATIONAL SPORTS BRIEFS
The Elite Eight is set in the NCAA Tournament. In the Sweet 16 yesterday in Indianapolis, top-seeded Gonzaga crushed Creighton 83-65, top-seeded Michigan foiled Florida State 76-58, UCLA outlasted second-seeded Alabama 88-78 in overtime and USC ousted Oregon 82-68.

Memphis is champion of the NIT. Boogie Ellis scored 23 points to lead the Tigers to a 77-64 win over Mississippi State in the NIT title game in Frisco, Texas. Memphis exploded for 44 second-half points to pull out the win and end the season 20-and-8. The Bulldogs finish 18-and-15.

The Indiana Hoosiers are hiring Mike Woodson as their new men’s basketball coach. He returns to his alma mater after 11 seasons as a player in the NBA and nine as a head coach with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks. Woodson played under Bobby Knight at Indiana.

The NFL is expected to vote this week on whether to change to a 17-game schedule this year. According to ESPN, owners are expected to vote tomorrow or Wednesday. Some players have objected to the idea on Twitter. The league has had a 16-game regular season since 1978.

Billy Horschel beat Scottie Scheffler 2 and 1 to win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin, Texas. Horschel recorded only one birdie in the championship round, but still earned his sixth career PGA Tour win. Matt Kuchar defeated Victor Perez in the consolation match.

SUNDAY’S SCOREBOARD

NBA
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Phoenix Suns 101, Charlotte Hornets 97 (OT)
Portland Trail Blazers 122, Toronto Raptors 117
Denver Nuggets 126, Atlanta Hawks 102
Los Angeles Lakers 96, Orlando Magic 93

NHL
——
Washington Capitals 5, New York Rangers 4
Detroit Red Wings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Anaheim Ducks 3, St. Louis Blues 2 (OT)
New Jersey Devils 1, Boston Bruins 0
Florida Panthers 4, Dallas Stars 1
Nashville Predators 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 (at Indianapolis, IN)
——
#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs 83, #5 Creighton Bluejays 65 (West Region)
#1 Michigan Wolverines 76, #4 Florida State Seminoles 58 (East Region)
#11 UCLA Bruins 88, #2 Alabama Crimson Tide 78 (OT) (East Region)
#6 USC Trojans 82, #7 Oregon Ducks 68 (West Region)

MLB Grapefruit League
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Tampa Bay Rays 16, Atlanta Braves 5
Boston Red Sox 8, Minnesota Twins 3
Philadelphia Phillies 6, New York Yankees 2
Miami Marlins 10, New York Mets 2
Pittsburgh Pirates 2, Baltimore Orioles 1
Washington Nationals 11, St. Louis Cardinals 3
Detroit Tigers 4, Toronto Blue Jays 4

MLB Cactus League
——
Texas Rangers 12, Chicago Cubs 8
Milwaukee Brewers 7, Cincinnati Reds 1 (F/7)
Chicago White Sox 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 4
Oakland Athletics 9, San Francisco Giants 3
San Diego Padres 3, Cleveland Indians 3
Kansas City Royals 6, Colorado Rockies 3
Los Angeles Angels 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 5 (F/8)

NASCAR
——
Food City Dirt Race (at Bristol, TN) (Postponed)

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (at Austin, TX)
——
Billy Horschel 2&1
Scottie Scheffler

MONDAY’S SCHEDULE (All times are Eastern)

NBA
——
7:00 p.m. – Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards
7:30 p.m. – New Orleans Pelicans at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. – Minnesota Timberwolves at Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. – Miami Heat at New York Knicks
8:00 p.m. – Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons
8:00 p.m. – Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets
8:00 p.m. – Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder
8:30 p.m. – Sacramento Kings at San Antonio Spurs
9:00 p.m. – Cleveland Cavaliers at Utah Jazz
10:00 p.m. – Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors
10:00 p.m. – Milwaukee Bucks at LA Clippers

NHL
——
7:00 p.m. – Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres
7:00 p.m. – New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
7:00 p.m. – Edmonton Oilers at Toronto Maple Leafs
9:00 p.m. – Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche
10:00 p.m. – Winnipeg Jets at Calgary Flames
10:00 p.m. – Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights
10:30 p.m. – Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks

MLB Grapefruit League
——
12:05 p.m. – New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals
1:05 p.m. – Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves
1:05 p.m. – Houston Astros at Washington Nationals
1:05 p.m. – Minnesota Twins at Pittsburgh Pirates
1:05 p.m. – Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
1:05 p.m. – Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
1:05 p.m. – Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Cactus League
——
3:05 p.m. – Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs
3:05 p.m. – Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
3:05 p.m. – Seattle Mariners at Cincinnati Reds
3:05 p.m. – San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics
3:10 p.m. – Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres
8:05 p.m. – Milwaukee Brewers at Texas Rangers
10:10 p.m. – Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers

NCAA Tournament (Elite Eight)
——
7:15 p.m. – #2 Houston Cougars vs #12 Oregon State Beavers (at Indianapolis, IN)
9:57 p.m. – #1 Baylor Bears vs #3 Arkansas Razorbacks (at Indianapolis, IN)

NASCAR
——
4:00 p.m. – Food City Dirt Race (at Bristol, TN)

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