APSU Sports Information
Bowling Green, KY – Austin Peay’s softball team got outstanding pitching performances in both of their games, Saturday at the Western Kentucky Hilltopper Spring Fling Tournament, with the Governors defeating Dayton 3-0 and host Western Kentucky 6-1 to advance to the tournament’s championship game.
Kelly Mardones was stellar for Austin Peay (6-6) in the opener versus Dayton (4-11), holding the Flyers to just two hits and a walk, while striking out four.
In control all day, the Flyers only manages to put runners in scoring position twice versus Mardones, but the Texas native worked out of both jams without giving up a run.
Versus Western Kentucky (13-6), Kelsey Gross threw four solid innings, scattering five hits along with two walks and two strikeouts while giving up just one run.
Morgan Rackel would come in out of the bullpen in the fifth inning and throw three no-hit, shutout innings of relief to pick up her first save of the year. She would strikeout six.
Austin Peay will face Evansville for the Hilltopper Spring Fling Championship, 1:30pm, Sunday.
Follow the Govs softball team on Austin Peay’s official athletics website Let’sGoPeay.com or on Twitter @AustinPeaySB.
Austin Peay 3, Dayton 0
With Mardones keeping Dayton off the scoreboard, the Govs scored what turned out to be all the runs it would need in the bottom of the first inning.
Natalie Schilling opening the frame with an infield single, moved around to third base following a walk to Liermann and a single by Bailey Shorter, then score when the Flyers pick-off attempt by their catcher was wide of the base and got away from their third baseman allowing her to scamper home.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Govs took advantage of two Dayton errors to tack on two more runs, with Brooke Pfefferle scoring on a wild pitch and Schilling coming in on a single by Liermann.
Austin Peay 6, Western Kentucky 1
The Govs would break open a scoreless contest in the bottom of the third inning, with Liermann hitting a three-run homer off the parking garage behind left field for the second time in as many days to put the Govs up for good.
APSU would add two more runs in the fourth inning, aided by a Western Kentucky error and a wild pitch, with the Govs final run coming in the fifth inning off an opposite-field single by Liermann – giving her four runs batted in for the game.
Inside the Box Score
Danielle Liermann now has 20 RBIs in 12 games.
The back-to-back shutouts of Western Kentucky and Dayton are the first back-to-back shutouts for APSU pitchers since April 8th, 2006, when they turned the trick versus Morehead State.
With her third-inning single versus Dayton, Kacy Acree become the 34th Governor to record at least 100 hits in their career.
The two shutouts already recorded this season are the most by an APSU pitching staff since 2014.
In 14 innings during the tournament, the Govs held a Western Kentucky team that was averaging 7.5 runs per game to just one.
By reaching the tournament’s championship game, the Govs will be playing for their first in-season tournament championship since 1994 when they won the Middle Tennessee Invitational.
Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Rodney DeLong
On team’s overall pitching performance
“Our pitching staff has been great this weekend. We didn’t start the season off the way we wanted too, and these kids are learning, going to work and battling back. Kelsey Gross gave us a chance to win that second game with the four innings that she threw.”
On Danielle Liermann‘s RBI tear
“Dani is a great hitter and I like to see people challenger her because the girl can flat out hit. But it wasn’t just Dani tonight, we’re looking for more production from up and down our lineup and we got that tonight. For us to be a competitive club that’s the kind of lineup we have to have.”
On a rematch that Evansville
“We’re looking forward to facing their good pitcher. She’s a good challenge for us, she will make us better and let’s see how we adjust and go to work against her.”