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APSU Baseball puts together two comeback wins against Eastern Illinois

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU BaseballCharleston, IL – Home runs by center fielder Imani Willis and utility man Alex Robles pushed Austin Peay State University’s baseball team to a pair of come-from-behind Ohio Valley Conference victories againest Eastern Illinois, Friday afternoon, at Coaches Stadium.

In the resumption of a game started Thursday, Willis hit a three-run home run in the 10th inning before a delay halted play Thursday night. Friday morning, Robles needed just two minutes and six pitches to clinch a 9-6 victory.

Austin Peay Baseball clinches OVC Baseball Championship berth with two wins over Eastern Illinois, Friday. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Baseball clinches OVC Baseball Championship berth with two wins over Eastern Illinois, Friday. (APSU Sports Information)

Three hours later, he hit a three-run game-tying home run and picked up another win on the mound as Austin Peay posted a 7-5 victory in the day’s regularly scheduled contest.

The two wins helped Austin Peay secure a berth in next week’s OVC Baseball Championship.

The Governors also know they will play in the 6:00pm, Tuesday play-in contest against an opponent to be determined.

APSU Baseball - Chase HamiltonIn the series’ second game, which started Thursday night, Austin Peay (26-28, 13-16 OVC) faced a 4-2 deficit after four innings. The Governors would score the game’s next four runs, using a wild pitch and a Robles sacrifice fly to take the lead in the seventh inning.

Eastern Illinois (21-34, 12-17 OVC) battled back with single runs in the seventh and ninth innings. The Panthers tied the game with a bases-loaded hit batsman. However, EIU saw larger opportunities pass it by as Robles, who took the mound in the seventh, got big outs to leave the bases loaded in both the seventh and ninth frames.

APSU Baseball - Alex RoblesThe Govs made their move in the 10th inning with right fielder Chase Hamilton leading off the inning with a single. Robles moved Hamilton 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt but EIU reliever Michael Starcevich struck out the next batter. After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Parker Phillips, Willis would drive a 2-2 pitch off the scoreboard in left, giving the Govs a 9-6 lead.

Robles would return to pitch the 10th and struck out the leadoff batter. However, the game was delayed when a storm moved into the area and ultimately suspended when darkness fell. The game resumed Friday afternoon and Robles needed just six pitches to record the final two outs for the win.

APSU Baseball - Parker PhillipsWillis finished with five RBI as part of a 2-for-5 outing that included a RBI triple in the sixth and a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the second. Hamilton and infielder Max Remy had two hits each.

Robles picked up the win after limited the Panthers to four hits over 3.2 innings, surrendering only an unearned run while striking out five of the 17 batters he faced.

EIU reliever Alex Stevenson (4-4) suffered the loss after allowing a lone run in his 2.2-inning outing. Second baseman Jimmy Govern led the Panthers offense with a 2-for-6, three RBI outing.

Eastern Illinois worked to out execute Austin Peay in the series finale. The Panthers put their leadoff man aboard in the first, second and fourth innings. They promptly used sacrifice hits to move the runners before get a key base hit to produce a run as they jumped out to a 3-1 lead after four frames.

The Govs closed to within a run by replicating the Panthers blueprint in the sixth with catcher Parker Phillips starting the inning by being hit by a pitch and first baseman Dre Gleason followed with a walk. Robles moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt and Hamilton followed with a sacrifice fly, trimming the deficit to 3-2.

But the Panthers used solo home runs in the sixth and seventh to extend the lead to 5-2. Third baseman Dougie Parks hit a leadoff home run in the sixth with Govern adding a one-out home run in the seventh.

APSU Baseball - Cayce BredlauThe Govs charged back in the eighth with Phillips and Gleason getting aboard with a single and double, respectively, to set the table. Robles then helped his own cause by driving a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left center to tie the game, 5-5.

After Robles worked around a pair of walks and the eighth, Austin Peay got back to work in the ninth. Willis led off with a single and after a walk and a bunt single, left fielder Cayce Bredlau drove a two-run double into the right center gap to give the Govs a 7-5 lead.

Robles retired the Panthers in order to close the game and pick up his second victory of the day. He went three innings in the finale, allowing one run on a hit and a walk while striking out two in three innings.

APSU Baseball - Imani WillisBredlau went 3-for-5 in the finale with two RBI, capping the day with his game-winning double after starting with a pair of singles. Robles’ home run was his only hit in a 1-for-3 outing.

EIU reliever Michael Starcevich (5-6) was saddled with the loss after he did not record an out in the ninth, allowing three hits and a walk to the four batters he faced, surrendering two runs.

Govern and right fielder Frankie Perrone each had two hits and two RBI to pace the Panther’s offense.


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