APSU Sports Information
Charleston, IL – A ninth-inning rally came up just short as Austin Peay State University’s baseball team dropped its Ohio Valley Conference series opener, 7-4, to Eastern Illinois, Thursday afternoon at Coaches Stadium.
The second game of Thursday’s doubleheader was suspended due to darkness with the Governors holding a 9-6 lead and Eastern Illinois at the plate with one out in the 10th inning.Austin Peay surrendered a two-run lead in that contest only to see center fielder Imani Willis hit a three-run home run in the 10th.
The second game will be resumed at noon, Friday, with Game 3 of the series schedule to start after its conclusion.
In the day’s first game, Austin Peay (24-26, 11-16 OVC) scored the game’s first run with a trio of singles in the first inning. Right fielder Chase Hamilton supplied the RBI base hit to give the Govs a 1-0 lead.
Eastern Illinois (21-33, 12-16) would score the game’s next seven runs. The Panthers turned leadoff doubles in both the first and second innings into runs. However, the Panthers broke the game open with a five-run sixth inning. First baseman Matt Albert hit a solo home run to start the frame. Center fielder Joseph Duncan’s two-run single did the biggest damage as EIU built a 7-1 lead.
The Governors strung together base hits in the ninth inning. Second baseman Malcolm Tipler led off the inning with a walk and scored on pinch hitter Max Remy‘s triple. The next three Govs each added singles, left fielder Cayce Bredlau trimming the deficit to 7-4 with the last of those base hit. However, Eastern Illinois reliever Michael Starcevich got three outs from the next two batters, including a double play, to end the threat.
Govs starter Josh Rye (6-4) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on six hits in his 5.1-inning outing. He struck out six of the 26 batters he faced and issued just two walks.
Shortstop Garrett Giovannelli went 3-for-5 to lead the Govs 12-hit offensive attack. Tipler also reached base in all four of his plate appearances, finishing 2-for-2 with two walks with a run scored.
Starting pitcher Brendon Allen (2-7) struck out seven batters en route to the win. He worked around 10 hits and five walks to allow just five runs in eight innings. Starcevich picked up his season’s sixth save.
Duncan’s 3-for-5, three-RBI performance led the Panthers. Left fielder Logan Beaman also went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Austin Peay ended the night alone in ninth place in the OVC standings with two games remaining. The Govs remain in the hunt for a postseason berth as one of the league’s Top 8 teams.