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HomeSportsAPSU Governors Baseball unable to contain Mercer Bears

APSU Governors Baseball unable to contain Mercer Bears

APSU Sports Information

APSU BaseballMacon, GA – For the second straight day Austin Peay State University’s baseball team jumped out to an 8-1 lead, but unlike Friday’s result, it could not hold on in a 13-12 nonconference loss to Mercer, Saturday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.

Austin Peay Baseball blows 8-1 lead over Mercer, lose 13-12 Saturday afternoon. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Baseball blows 8-1 lead over Mercer, lose 13-12 Saturday afternoon. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay (5-5) again used home runs to jump out to a sizeable advantage in the first two innings. Third baseman Logan Gray started the long ball parade with a solo home run in the first inning. Three batters later left fielder Ridge Smith launched a three-run shot that gave APSU a 4-0 lead.

After Mercer center fielder Kyle Lewis’ solo home run in the bottom of the first, Austin Peay threatened again in the second. Catcher T.J. Marik walked to lead off the frame, second baseman Garrett Copeland hit a one-out single and Gray was intentionally walked to load the bases with two out.

APSU Baseball's Logan GrayThe Bears gamble busted in a big way when first baseman Dre Gleason hit a grand slam just over the wall in left center, giving APSU an 8-1 lead.

Governors’ starter Michael Costanzo made that lead hold up through the second and third innings but ran into control problems in the fourth. He walked the first batter he faced then surrendered three consecutive singles, allowing one run, before getting the inning’s first out.

Constanzo appeared to escape the jam with a ground ball back to the mound, but his throw home to start a potential double play was dropped, allowing a run to score.

APSU Baseball's Ridge SmithFrom there the bottom of the fourth spiraled down quickly as Costanzo surrendered another single that pushed home the inning’s third run and ended his day. Two more Govs relievers would be called upon to try and stop the rally, but they could not as they allowed three walks and hit a batter before ending the inning.

By inning’s end the trio of pitchers combined to throw 52 pitches and allowed eight runs on four walks (two with the bases loaded), four singles, a hit batsman, two fielder’s choices and two fly outs.

Suddenly trailing 9-8, Austin Peay would not score in the fifth inning. Instead, Mercer (8-3) extended its lead to 11-8 with two runs in the fifth, including a RBI single by Lewis.

The Governors bats reawakened in the sixth as eight batters went to the plate. Gray got a run back with a single but it was designated hitter Alex Robles‘ two-run single up the middle that tied the game again.

But the Bears would not be denied as they scratched out single runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Austin Peay would get one of those runs back with Robles’ leadoff home run in the ninth, but it could not find its way back to tie the game.

Reliever Caleb Powell (0-1), who started the fifth inning as the third Governor pitcher out of the bullpen, was tagged for the loss after allowing two runs on five hits over four innings. APSU starter Michael Costanzo was left with no decision after allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in 3.1 innings.

APSU Baseball's Michael CostanzoThe 2-3-4-5 part of the Austin Peay batting order did all the damage in Saturday’s loss, combining for eight of the team’s 12 hits and all 12 of the team’s RBI. Robles led the way with a 3-for-4, three RBI outing. Gleason went 2-for-3 with four RBI.

Mercer reliever Taylor Lobus (2-0) picked up the win after allowing three runs on four hits in three innings. Closer Austin Lord recorded the final six outs, allowing Robles’ solo home run, to pick up his season’s second save.

Lewis went 3-for-4 with four RBI, recording an RBI on four of his five plate appearances while falling a triple shy of the cycle.

Mercer leveled the three-game set with Saturday’s victory with the series final scheduled for noon, Sunday.

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