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Govs, Gamecocks split Saturday OVC doubleheader

 

APSU Men’s Baseball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsJacksonville, AL – Behind a pair of strong pitching performances, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team found itself with the opportunity to grab a sweep of Saturday’s Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader against Jacksonville State but will have to wonder what could have been as it settled for a split – winning the opener, 9-5, before losing the nightcap, 5-4, at Rudy Abbott Field.

First baseman John Hogan had two hits and three RBI in the Govs series-opening victory at Jacksonville State, Saturday. (Keith Dorris/Dorris Photography)

First baseman John Hogan had two hits and three RBI in the Govs series-opening victory at Jacksonville State, Saturday. (Keith Dorris/Dorris Photography)

Austin Peay (16-18, 6-4 OVC) grabbed the day’s first game courtesy a five-run fifth inning that broke open a one-run game. The Govs sent nine men to the plate in the inning, first baseman John Hogan landing the first big blow with a two-run single that gave the Govs a 3-2 lead. Catcher Matt Wollenzin added to the lead with his RBI single, but it was second baseman Jordan Hankins who provided the eventual game-winning runs with his two-run triple.

That run support proved enough for Govs starter Jeremy Dobbs (7-1) who notched his second consecutive victory with an impressive 6.2-inning outing. He allowed just four runs on eight hits while striking out three and walking only one batter. Dobbs retired seven straight batters leading up to the Govs breakout inning, maintaining a 2-1 deficit.

Jeremy DobbsJacksonville State (24-12, 7-4 OVC) scored single runs in the first, second, fifth and ninth innings. The Gamecocks stranded 10 runners, including six runners left on in scoring position.

JSU starter Aaron Elias suffered the loss after allowing six runs on nine hits over five innings. That despite striking out nine of the first 13 batters he faced and finishing the game with 10 strikeouts total.

Hogan led the Govs 14-hit offensive effort with a 2-for-5, three RBI night with a pair of doubles. Hankins finished 3-for-5 while designated hitter Cody Hudson added a 3-for-4 effort.

John HoganCatcher Sam Eberle led the Gamecocks offense with a 3-for-4, two RBI performance that included a pair of RBI doubles.

The Govs fell victim to a come-from-behind effort in the second game as the Gamecocks posted their seventh victory in their final at-bat this season.

Jacksonville State began the seventh inning by taking advantage of a third Austin Peay error in the game. Eberle led of the frame with a single and advanced to second after Hankins threw the ball into the dirt and by Hogan. JSU first baseman Ben Waldrip followed with a single, forcing the Govs to change pitchers and then intentionally walk designated hitter Erik Underwood to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Jay Davis delivered in the clutch, driving a Mike Hebert offering to the wall in left center to drive in the game-winning run.

However, the Govs had the Gamecocks on the ropes in the fourth. Austin Peay scored three runs in the frame to take a 4-2 lead courtesy shortstop Reed Harper’s RBI single and outfielder Cody Hudson’s two-run, two-out home run.

Reed HarperBut Hudson would commit a key error in the bottom of the fourth that kept the Gamecocks hopes alive. Jacksonville State had two men on and two outs when outfielder Jake Sharrock singled to left field. The Gamecocks were content to go station-to-station and load the bases until the ball slipped by Hudson and into deep left field. Eventually two runs would score on the play, narrowing the Govs lead to 4-3.

Jacksonville State tied the game one inning later courtesy Waldrip’s RBI single to set up the late game theatrics.

Snodgrass (1-5) continued a trend of hard-luck losses, losing for the third time in conference play. He allowed five runs (three earned) while scattering 12 hits and striking out a career-high nine batters.

Michael BlanchardJSU starter Hunter Rivers allowed four runs on four hits and three walks over the 3.2 innings but did not factor into the decision. Closer Todd Hornsby picked up the victory after allowing two hits and striking out two over the final 1.1 innings.

Waldrip led Jacksonville State in the second game with a 3-for-4, one RBI outing while three other players had two hits each.

Leadoff hitter Michael Blanchard had the Govs only multi-hit effort in the second game, going 2-for-4 to lead a seven-hit attack.

Austin Peay and Jacksonville State will conclude their three-game series with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest.


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