APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – John McDonald batted in two runs as part of a four-run sixth inning that pushed Austin Peay State University’s baseball team to an 8-7 victory against Indiana State, Saturday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Governors starter Jacques Pucheu and Sycamores starter Triston Polley battled in a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings, but each had their own method of getting through five frames. However, both starters ran out of gas in the sixth and the offenses took advantage.
Pucheu battled throughout his first five innings, seeing 21 batters. He would face a bases-loaded situation in the third with one out but neatly helped his own cause by starting a double play through home plate to end the inning. Then in the fourth, he cut down a runner at home on a squeeze bunt attempt before inducing another inning-ending double play.
Polley would face just 15 batters through four innings, allowing only three base runners. The Governors would get just one runner in scoring position but Polley ended the threat with a strikeout. He would surrender a run in the fifth after allowing a two-out walk and a hit batsmen. Govs shortstop Garrett Giovannelli broke the tie with a run-scoring single but the Govs saw a potential second run downed at the plate to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Pucheu would surrender three straight two-out walks to allow a game-tying run before departing the game. Reliever Brett Newberg was greeted rudely when Indiana State shortstop Clay Dungan singled to drive in two more runs for a 3-1 lead.
Austin Peay (8-2) immediately responded when Polley walked two consecutive batters with one out in the sixth to see his outing come to an end. ISU reliever Jake Ridgway nearly escaped the base-loaded jam left behind by inducing a potential double play but pinch hitter John McDonald beat the play at first and two runs scored, giving the Govs a 5-3 lead.
Left fielder Nick Walker would extend the Austin Peay lead to 7-3 with a two-run home run in the seventh. Designated hitter Parker Phillips tacked on the final run with by beating out another potential double play to allow catcher Alex Sala to score.
Indiana State (5-5) would threaten in the ninth with designated hitter Romero Harris driving in two runs with a triple. The Govs lead would dwindle to a run when Harris scored on a defensive miscue. However, reliever Harley Gollert responded by inducing another ground out to end the game.
Newberg (2-0) would pick up the win after allowing one run on two hits in his 2.1 innings. Pucheu allowed three runs while surrendering seven hits and five walks in 5.2 innings.
Walker ended the day 2-for-4 with two RBI, reaching base safely in each of his final three plate appearances. Second baseman Garret Giovannelli went 3-for-3 with a RBI single, a double and two walks.
Polley (2-1) suffered his season’s first loss after allowing five runs on four hits and six walks in his 5.1 innings. Center fielder Luke Fegen had a hit in each of his first four at-bats before ending the day 4-for-5 with a RBI.
Who Governed: Nick Walker
With his family in attendance toting Fatheads with his likeness, left fielder Nick Walker went 2-for-4 with two RBI and hit his season’s third home run. The senior led off the sixth inning with a single to kickstart the Govs four-run rally. Walker then blasted his third home run to left field in the seventh to add some two insurance runs. He was then intentionally walked in the eighth and helped break up a potential double play that helped the Govs tack on the pivotal eighth run.
Here Come The Homers
After hitting just three home runs in its first five games, Austin Peay has homered in each of its last five games (seven home runs). Six different Govs have hit a home run during the streak – Nick Walker the latest to join the list with his two-run shot in the seventh, Saturday.
Austin Peay’s batters continue to rack up walks at a prodigious rate, earning a season-high 10 walks against Indiana State pitching, Saturday. It is the fifth time the Govs have worked eight or more walks in a game and they have earned five or more walks in every game this season.
Center fielder Imani Willis‘ seventh-inning single extended his hit streak to five consecutive games – all since his return to the starting lineup. The Govs middle infield duo of Garrett Giovannelli and Garrett Kueber also have reached base safely in all 10 games this season – Giovannelli extended his streak by reaching base in all five plate appearances while Kueber was hit by a pitch in the fifth to extend his streak.
Saturday’s win kept the Govs unbeaten in weekend play, improving to 8-0 on games played Friday-Sunday.
Next Up for APSU Baseball
Austin Peay and Indiana State conclude their three-game series with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park. The Governors will send right Brandon Vial (1-0) to the mound while the Sycamores starter was still to be announced as of the end of Saturday’s game.