APSU Men’s Baseball
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team had its most productive back-to-back games in nearly a month but could only salvage a split of Saturday’s Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader against Eastern Illinois at Raymond C. Hand Park. The Panthers posted an 11-9 victory in the opener but the Govs rebounded to win an 8-0 nightcap.
Austin Peay’s (11-13, 2-2 OVC) 17 runs in the two games was its largest offensive output in back-to-back games since the first week of March. The Govs finished the day with 30 hits, posting 17 in the opener and 13 in the nightcap. It was such an impressive outing that APSU raised its season average 14 points in just the two games, finishing the day batting .280 as a team.
First baseman John Hogan led the offensive batted with a 6-for-9 effort in the two games, going 4-for-5 in the first game. Center fielder Michael Blanchard was one of four players to finish the day with four hits, going 3-for-3 in the night cap. Catcher P.J. Torres had a solo home run and an RBI single in the first game and finished the day 2-for-4.
Senior Jack Snodgrass (1-3) shook the monkey off his back in the nightcap, tossing six scoreless innings for his season’s first victory and snapping a personal three-game losing streak. Junior Mike Hebert tossed a one-hit seventh inning to secure the shutout – the Govs first since March 20, 2010 when they blanked Centenary in nine innings.
Austin Peay finally provided Snodgrass with some run support, scoring in five of its six innings. Eight different players each had an RBI in the contest. Third baseman Bachman posted the game winner with his RBI while reaching on an error in the first.
Eastern Illinois’ Luke Bushur (2-3) suffered the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits over three-plus innings.
In the series opener, Eastern Illinois (7-17, 3-2 OVC) jumped out to a 9-1 lead after its half of the third in the series opener as Austin Peay starter Jeremy Dobbs (5-1) hit a rough patch en route to his season’s first loss. The Panthers scored six runs in the second inning with designated hitter Ben Thomas’s grand slam highlighting the frame’s scoring.
The Govs offense slowly started to find its stride, beginning in the third inning. Austin Peay scored a run on an error and added runs on designated hitter Tyler Childress’ double and shortstop Reed Harper’s single.
Three innings later Austin Peay added three more runs, Torres’ home run starting the rally and second baseman Jordan Hankins and Bachman each batting in a run. The Govs would add another run in the seventh, cutting the lead to 10-8.
Eastern Illinois added insurance runs in the fifth and eighth innings. The Panthers used a Govs error to score the eventual game winning-run in the fifth. EIU then used a hit batsmen followed by back-to-back singles to score their 11th run.
Austin Peay had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the ninth, loading the bases with one out. But the Govs could only produce one run on Cody Hudson’s pinch hit sacrifice fly before Blanchard’s fly out to the warning track ended the threat.
Dobbs picked up the loss after allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on 14 hits in six innings.
EIU starter Mike Hoekstra (3-2) notched the win despite allowing seven runs on 13 hits over 5.2 innings while not allowing a walk and not recording a strikeout. Closer Matt Miller picked up his season’s third save by recording the game’s final eight outs.
Austin Peay and Eastern Illinois will conclude their three-game OVC series with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest.