Justin Murphy entered the season looking to evolve from a closer to a starter. After closing for Southwest Missouri State University, he was given a 60-pitch cap in his first Sedalia Bombers start, a June 15 tilt against the Ozark Generals.
He worked his way up 10-15 pitches through five starts, culminating in a complete game, 12-1 victory Friday over the same Generals ball club.
Murphy, who pitched 105 pitches, said he felt no fatigue after going the distance.
“Even in the eighth and ninth innings, after a lot of pitches, I still felt on top of my game,” Murphy said. “I felt in command of my pitches, so that’s always good, especially late in games.”
The 6-foot, 175-pound RedHawk junior was inches away from his first complete-game shut out, if not for a pair of doubles in the third.
With two outs, Jake Shelby drove a Murphy fastball into right field. A soft Nick Gotta bouncer just over first base was just as productive, base-wise, and scored Shelby from second. Murphy recorded one of six strikeouts to end the inning.
The strong performance on the mound complimented a volatile Sedalia offense. A pair of RBI singles from John Privitera and Rob Cummins sparked a high-scoring rally that carried the Sedalia Bombers over Ozark on Military Appreciation Night at Liberty Stadium in Sedalia.
Justin Holt drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 6-1 and chase Ozark starter Garrett Schilling out of the game. The Bombers tacked on five more on Generals reliever AJ Bruner. Sammy Hargrave entered the game in the seventh.
Jonathan Ramon hit a two RBI single that bounced past a diving Jake Shelby at shortstop. Quade Smith picked up a pair of RBIs to make the score 8-1 in the sixth.
Devin Morrill drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to cap the eight-run sixth inning.
Sedalia(22-13) fired back in the bottom of the frame. Devin Morrill led off with a double, and Cummins, who showed bunt, pulled back his bat and slapped a single into center field to advance Morrill to third.
Smith beat out a throw on an infield single, allowing Morrill to sneak past the catcher and give Sedalia their first lead, 2-1.
Ozark used four pitchers on the game, with Joba Ferrell recording one scoreless frame in the eighth.
The Bombers host the Chillicothe Mudcats (21-11) Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Branson Nationals at 6 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be at Dey Field at Liberty Park in Sedalia.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2