APSU Sports Information
Nashville, TN – Pinch hitter Wesley Purcell led off the 10th inning with a single and later scored on an error, giving Austin Peay State University’s baseball team a 6-5 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Belmont, Saturday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park. The Governors leveled the three-game series, 1-1.
Austin Peay (20-13, 11-6 OVC) nearly had the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as it back-to-back batters earned one-out walks. However, they could cash in the free passes and saw reliever Jared Carkuff retire Belmont in order to force extra innings.Governors head coach Travis Janssen tapped Purcell to leadoff the 10th and he quickly fell behind 0-2. However, he would battle at the plate with three straight foul offs before winning the battle against Belmont reliever Brennan Washington with a line drive single to center field. Shortstop Clayton Smithson moved Purcell into scoring position and second baseman Garrett Copeland walked.
With outfielder Imani Willis at the plate, Belmont reliever Dom Veltri uncorked a wild pitch and both Govs runners broke for the next base. The Bruins catcher threw to third base but his throw sailed into left field, allowing Purcell to score the go-ahead run. The throw from the outfield then sailed to the backstop, allowing Copeland to reach third. However, the Govs couldn’t add to their lead as the next two batters struck out.
That one run was enough for Carkuff (4-0) who retired the side in order to pick up the victory. He retired the final seven batters he faced in a 3.1-inning outing that saw him allow just one walk and one hit while striking out three.
The first six innings saw each team piece together scoring burst. Austin Peay scored its five runs in the first three innings. After errors helped the Govs jump out to a 2-0 lead, outfielder Chase Hamilton gave Austin Peay a 4-1 advantage with a two-run home run in the third. One inning later, third baseman Logan Gray extended the lead to 5-1 with a solo home run.
Belmont (20-14, 9-5) battled back to tie the game with four consecutive runs of its own. Outfielder Brennan Washington hit a two-run home run in the fifth to close the deficit to one run. In the sixth, infielder Kyle Conger executed a squeeze bunt to perfection, allowing shortstop Tyler Walsh to score from third, tying the game.
The Bruins will look back at the seventh and eighth innings as opportunities that passed them by. Washington hit a two-out single in the seventh then stole two bases, but the Govs turned to Carkuff who struck out the first batter he faced to end the threat.
Carkuff would allow a two-out single in the eighth and then saw Conger steal consecutive bases to get to third base. After a walk, Carkuff ended the threat again with a fly ball to right field and started his game-ending stretch.
A day after recording just three hits against Belmont, Austin Peay’s offense found nine hits in the series’ second game. Right fielder Chase Hamilton led the effort with a 2-for-5, two RBI outing.
Washington (0-2) faced just two batters in the contest, ending the ninth before allowing the leadoff single in the 10th, but was tagged for the loss. Reliever Connor Etheridge tossed 4.1 scoreless innings to give the Bruins an opportunity to tie the game.
Walsh and Conger each had two hits and a RBI to lead Belmont’s eight-hit offensive effort.
Austin Peay and Belmont close their three-game series with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest at E.S. Rose Park with the winner ending the weekend alone in third place.