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APSU Baseball takes down Murray State, 10-2


APSU Sports Information

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – Center fielder Imani Willis hit his season’s second grand slam and Austin Peay State University’s baseball team rolled to a 10-2 victory against Murray State in the opening game of their three-game Ohio Valley Conference series.

After Murray State (10-8, 2-2 OVC) grabbed a two-run lead in the top of the first, Austin Peay saw its first four batters in the bottom of the frame reach base, left fielder Andrew Flaherty batting in the first run on an infield single.

Austin Peay Baseball powered by five RBIs from Imani Willis beat Murray State Friday, 10-2. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Baseball powered by five RBIs from Imani Willis beat Murray State Friday, 10-2. (APSU Sports Information)

Two batters later Willis hit his grand slam to left, staking the Govs to a 5-2 lead.

Govs starter Michael Costanzo (4-0) struck out the side around the two-run home run in the first. After being handed the lead after the first inning he promptly settled into a rhythm and allowed just two base runners over the next four innings. Costanzo would leave after recording his ninth strikeout of the game, finishing with 5.1 innings pitched and allowing just the two runs.

Relievers Brett Newberg and Devin O’Donovan followed Costanzo and kept Murray State off the board over the final 4.2 innings. Newberg struck out five while scattering three hits in his 2.2 innings. Donovan added a strikeout in his inning of work. The trio of Govs pitchers combined to strike out 15 Racers batters – the most in a single game this season.

Austin Peay (11-7, 3-1 OVC) was held scoreless for four innings after its breakout frame. The Govs finally broke through against the Racers bullpen, adding to their lead by scoring in each of their final three innings.

Willis, who added a double and RBI single to his outing, finished the day 3-for-4 with five RBI – half the Govs run total. Designated hitter Kyle Wilson went 2-for-3 with a RBI, including a double.

Murray State starter Peyton Hayes (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits in five-plus innings of work. First baseman Ramsey Scott’s two-run home run in the first was the Racers only run production on the day and they were held to three hits following his hit.

Who Governed: Imani Willis                                                           

Willis’ hit his second career grand slam in the first inning, just three weeks after his first grand slam – February 23rd against Toledo. It also was his fourth career five RBI outing as he added a RBI single in the Govs three-run seventh. Willis also had a double in the sixth as part of his 3-for-4, five RBI outing.

Govs Notably

Willis With Another Five RBI Day
Center fielder Imani Willis‘ second grand slam this season helped him to a 3-for-4, five RBI outing.  It was his fourth career five RBI performance in the last 12 months, following five RBI outings last season at Murray State (March 17th) and Eastern Illinois (May 17th) and this season against Toledo (February 23rd). He is the 12th Governors with three career five RBI outings since 1996.

Costanzo Moves Up
With his second straight nine-strikeout performance, Costanzo moved into 16th on the Governors career strikeouts list. His 166 career strikeouts are tied with Casey Delgado (2012-13) and Jon Frazier (1986-89). Costanzo moves 34 strikeouts away from 200 – a mark reached by just six Govs all time.

Still Streaking
Moving into the leadoff spot had no ill effects on second baseman Garrett Giovannelli, who promptly singled in the first inning to reach base safely in his 24th consecutive game dating back to last season. Shortstop Garrett Kueber walked and singled in his final two plate appearances and has reached base safely in all 18 games this season.

15-K Day
Costanzo, Newberg and O’Donovan combined for a Govs season high 15 strikeouts in the win. It is the fifth most strikeouts in a game in program history and most since registering 16 strikeouts against Middle Tennessee last season.

Winning Weekends
With the win, Austin Peay improved to 11-2 in weekend play. The Governors have not lost a Friday contest this season (5-0).

Long Scoreless Streak Ends
Austin Peay entered the weekend after suffering shutouts in its last two games and carried a streak of 19 scoreless innings into its Friday outing.  The Govs broke out with their fourth double-digit run total this season and first since scoring 15 runs against Indiana State, March 2.

Next Up for APSU Baseball

Austin Peay will look to secure its fifth straight series victory with a 2:00pm, Saturday contest against Murray State. The Governors will send left-hander Jacques Pucheu (2-0, 3.33 ERA) to the mound a week after he picked up his second win. Murray State will counter with southpaw Blake Clynes (1-0, 3.44 ERA).




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