Bloomington, IN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team rallied from two runs down — with just five outs left — to defeat the University of Florida, May 31st at Bart Kaufman Field, in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division I baseball tournament.With the win, Austin Peay will advance in the winners’ bracket to face the victor between Valparaiso University and the region host University of Indiana on June 1st at 6:00p.m.
The second-seeded Govs (46-13) enter the bottom of the eighth inning trailing the third-seeded Gators 3-1, but got back-to-back singles from Craig Massoni and Reed Harper to open the inning.
Massoni, along with Jordan Hankins and P.J. Torres recorded two hits each to lead the Govs.
Florida (29-29) relief pitcher Ryan Harris would get Cody Hudson to hit into a fielder’s choice, for the first out of the inning, with Harper being retired at second base – while Massoni advanced to third base and Hudson to first.
That brought up Govs designated hitter Michael Davis, who after Hudson stole second base, blasted a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for a three-run homer to allow Austin Peay to retake the lead 4-3.
For Davis, it was his sixth home run of the season.
Governors closer Tyler Roger — who despite hitting the first Gator batter he faced — worked a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his NCAA leading 22nd save of the year.
Kacy Kemmer (6-0), who came in and pitched two scoreless one-hit innings in the seventh and eighth got the win for the Governors.
Austin Peay had led 1-0 until the top of the sixth inning, when Florida took advantage of a couple of walks by Austin Peay starting pitcher Zack Hall – who had only allowed three hits and one walk up to that point in the contest.
Hall would get Richie Martin on a groundball to Harper at shortstop for the first one on the inning, but he then walked Casey Turgeon on four pitches and Taylor Gushue on a 3-2 count.
That final walk would be the last batter of the day for Hall, who was relieved by Lee Ridenhour – who had been the Govs number-one starter for most of the season before suffering an injury with about three weeks left in the regular season.
Ridenhour would get ahead of Gators cleanup hitter Justin Shafer 1-2, but Shafer would hit the next Ridenhour offering over the left field fence for a three-run homer to give Florida its first lead of the day, 3-1.
Both teams struggled early-on to get much in the way of offense going, as the Govs and Gators – who sat through a one hour and twenty minute rain delay before the game could be started — matched scoreless at bats for the first three innings of the game before Austin Peay broke the scoreless deadlock in the fourth inning.
Austin Peay took advantage of an early extra-base hit, a double to right center field by Hankins, to get the inning going.
He would move over to third base on a ground ball out to the first baseman by Massoni – and after Harper walked – scored on a ground ball out to shortstop by Hudson for a 1-0 lead.
Austin Peay 4, Florida 3
|Austin Peay Governors||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||3||X||4||8||0|
|HR: Shafer 1(6)|
|RBI: Shafer 3(28)|
|#P: Crawford 112(62 Strikes), Gibson 6(5 Strikes), Harris 26(18 Strikes)|
|2B: Hankins 1(14)|
|HR: Davis 1(6)|
|RBI: Hudson 1(40), Davis 3(19)|
|#P: Hall 92(49 Strikes), Ridenhour 15(12 Strikes), Kemmer 20(16 Strikes), Rogers 7(5 Strikes)|