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Austin Peay Governors Baseball’s Zach Toney pitches eight-inning masterpiece to down Jacksonville State Gamecocks in series opener
APSU Sports: Austin Peay Baseball
Clarksville, TN – For just the second time this season, Governors skipper Gary McClure gave the ball to Zach Toney for a Friday night start as the Austin Peay Baseball team welcomed the Jacksonville State Gamecocks for a three-game weekend series at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Wise move.Toney turned in his most dominant performance of the season, allowing just one hit and striking out eight over eight innings as the Govs cruised to a 5-2 series-opening win.
After walking the bases loaded in the first inning, Toney worked his way out of a jam and promptly retired eight of the next nine batters before retiring the next 14 batters faced.
“The first inning was kind of rough,” Toney said. “My arm has felt great the last couple of weekends and I just wanted to let it go and see what it could do. It didn’t work out so well so I decided to let off and settle in and it turned out pretty well.”
“Zach is one of those rare guys that can just get people out with his fastball,” McClure said. “The way he throws it he hides and it’s just tough to locate out of his hand. It’s got some light movement and he can really dominate teams when he’s right with his fastball.”
“It’s so much fun to be able to just sit back and watch him work when he’s dialed in like this,” Govs third baseman Greg Bachman said. “He had his stuff from the second inning on and he made it really easy. He was dominating out there.”
The Govs got Toney some run support early when Michael Blanchard roped a leadoff single and advanced to second on a fielding error from Gamecocks shortstop Cody Blanchard.
One batter later, Jon Clinard drove in Blanchard after a throwing error from Gamecocks pitcher Aaron Elias.
The bottom of the seventh would also prove fruitful for the Govs, who tacked on a trio of runs behind an RBI double from Harper and an two-run double from Bachman – who was visibly limping after a sharp foul ball to his left leg during his previous at-bat in the fifth.
Despite the injury, Bachman finished the game but admitted he’ll probably feel some real pain in the morning.
“The coaches asked me if I wanted to come out,” Bachman said with a sheepish grin. “And I said absolutely not. It will hurt like heck in the morning, but I wasn’t coming out of this game.”
After eight dominant innings, McClure turned the ball over the Govs bullpen, sending out reliever Mike Hebert.
After issuing a leadoff double, Hebert pulled within a strike of recording a shutout ninth inning before Gamecocks designated hitter Erik Underwood roped a two-run homer over the right field wall.
Despite the homer, McClure kept Hebert on the mound and the right-hander promptly struck out Gamecocks catcher Cal Lambert to end the game and give the Govs another series-opening win.
“These guys are tremendous competitors,” McClure said. “They show up to the ballpark ready to play each and every single day. From top to bottom everyone does their part and they did it again tonight.”
With the win, the Govs (26-15, 12-3 OVC) pulled within another weekend win of a second-consecutive series win over the traditionally strong Gamecocks (16-23, 10-6).
Ryan Quick (4-1, 4.41 ERA) is expected to get the start on the mound tomorrow afternoon for the Govs while left-hander Daniel Watts (3-5, 5.68) is expected to throw for the Gamecocks.
First pitch is set for 2:00pm at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Jacksonville State at Austin Peay
Wade Neely comes to Clarksville after beginning his sports media career in March 2010 as the Sports Director at WKSR AM-FM in Pulaski, Tenn. During his time at WKSR, Neely created, produced and hosted “The Wade Neely Morning Show”, Pulaski’s only live and local wakeup program on WKSR-AM. Neely also served as the “Voice of the Bobcats”, providing play-by-play for all Giles County football, basketball and select baseball contests.
Neely also served as Director of Broadcasting at Martin Methodist College beginning in January 2011, providing play-by-play for all RedHawks home contests as well as the team’s trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
Originally from Pulaski, Neely earned his B.S. in Electronic Media Communication from Middle Tennessee State University’s famed College of Mass Communications. Neely also minored in Economics during undergraduate career.
TopicsAaron Elias, APSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Baseball, APSU Men's Baseball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Bradley Raulston, Clarksville TN, Eric Underwood, Gamecocks, Gary McClure, Governors, Govs, Greg Bachman, Jacksonville State, Jordan Hankins, Mike Hebert, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Raymond C. Hand Park, Reed Harper, Tanner Freshour, Zach Toney
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