Austin Peay Sports Information
Richmond, KY – The sixth inning proved the demise of Austin Peay State University’s baseball team as it dropped both ends of an Ohio Valley Conference Saturday doubleheader, 8-5 and 9-8, against Eastern Kentucky at Turkey Hughes Field.Austin Peay (21-16, 12-9 OVC), which won Friday’s series opener, lost its fifth straight road conference series dating back to last season.
The Govs end the weekend tied for third place in the OVC standings with three league series remaining. Eastern Kentucky (14-21, 7-10 OVC) moved to within two games of sixth place in the OVC standings with the series victory.
The Governors return home to start a four-game homestand with a 6:00pm, Tuesday contest against Lipscomb.
Lackluster sixth-inning performance costs Govs in day’s opener
In the day’s first game, Eastern Kentucky used a five-run sixth inning to break open a tied contest and held on for the 8-5 victory.
Austin Peay tied the game 2-2 in the top of the sixth as second baseman Garrett Copeland was hit by a pitch and third baseman Logan Gray followed with a single. That duo completed a double steal to move Copeland to third and designated hitter Alex Robles drove in the run with a ground out.
Eastern Kentucky responded in its half of the sixth as the first five batters reached base safely. Austin Peay had to use four pitchers to get out of the inning, but could not do so before all five of those batters scored. Right fielder Taylor Blair started the rally with a run-scoring bunt single.
One batter later, shortstop Kenny Hostrander added to the Govs woes with a two-run single. A sacrifice bunt and intentional walk followed and center fielder Kyle Nowlin made the Govs pay with a two-run single, extending the Eastern Kentucky lead to 7-2.
Austin Peay cut into that deficit in the eighth inning. Gray led off the inning with a walk, but could not advance as the next two batters flew out. Center fielder Patrick Massoni also put a pitch in the air, but his hit went for a two-run home run to left field.
After the home run, first baseman Dre Gleason singled to keep the rally alive. He would score on Wesley Purcell‘s pinch-hit triple, cutting the deficit to 7-5. However, Purcell would be stranded at third base.
Eastern Kentucky would add an insurance run in its half of the eighth, cashing in a leadoff single, and closer Hunter Dunn closed the door in the ninth to secure the EKU victory.
Hostrander and Nowlin led the EKU offense, each posting a 2-for-4, two RBI outing.
Austin Peay starter Zach Hall (1-5) was saddled for the loss after allowing four runs on five hits in five-plus innings.
Massoni went 2-for-3 with two RBI and Gleason finished the opener with a 3-for-4, one RBI performance .
Error-prone Govs unable to hold early lead, drop night cap
Austin Peay jumped out to a six-run lead in the night cap only to see it disappear as Eastern Kentucky rallied for three runs in the sixth to post the 9-8 series-clinching victory.
The first two innings saw Austin Peay take advantage of eight walks issued by Eastern Kentucky pitching. The Govs scored three runs in the first without the benefit of a base hit. A three-run second inning saw the first three batters reach base via a walk. Right fielder Josh Wilson drove in a run with a ground out and Robles followed with a two-run triple as the Govs pushed out to a 6-0 lead.
However, Austin Peay’s defense frayed in the middle part of the contest. A pair of Governors errors in the second inning provided two runs as part of a three-run outburst, having the APSU lead, 6-3.
Eastern Kentucky would use its own effort to produce a pair of runs in the third as starter Jared Carkuff surrendered a walk and single to start the inning and Eastern Kentucky turned those into two runs with a pair of ground outs, cutting the Govs lead to 6-5.
Eastern Kentucky chased Carkuff as the first four batters reached base to start the sixth. Carkuff issued a walk and a single to start the inning and Eastern Kentucky played for the tie when catcher Blake Sides put down a sacrifice bunt. However, Govs third baseman Logan Gray fielded the ball only to see his throw skip past second baseman Ridge Smith who was covering first.
By the time Eastern Kentucky stopped running the bases, Sides was on third base and two runs had scored. Carkuff could not find the strike zone after the error, issuing a walk to the next batter he faced, ending his outing.
Eastern Kentucky would make its 9-8 lead hold up over the final three innings. The Governors hurt their own cause in the closing moments when it saw two potential tying runs cut down on the basepaths. Wilson was picked off in the seventh and pinch runner Clayton Smithson was caught stealing in the eighth.
Carkuff (4-4) was the hard-luck loser after seeing nine runs score (three earned) on seven hits in five-plus innings.
EKU’s Dunn (1-1) returned to record one out to end the top of the sixth and picked up the win. Ben Brooks recorded the final four outs to notch his season’s second save.
Colonels’ third baseman Mandy Alvarez and first baseman Ben Fisher each had two hits. Five EKU hitters had one RBI each.
Massoni, who was the designated hitter in the nightcap, went 2-for-4 with three RBI to pace the Govs.