APSU Sports Information
Richmond, KY – Austin Peay State University’s softball team bounced back from a Game 1 loss, Monday afternoon at Gertude Hood Field, to split its Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader with Eastern Kentucky, taking the nightcap, 5-2, after dropping the opener, 7-1.
With the victory, the Govs (18-9, 3-1 OVC) finish its Death Valley road trip (Morehead State/Eastern Kentucky) with a 3-1 record, the best mark on that swing in school history in a two-doubleheader format.
The Govs return to action, 3:00pm, Friday as they open the home part of their OVC schedule by hosting Tennessee Tech for a doubleheader at Cheryl Holt Field.
Follow the Govs softball team on Austin Peay’s official athletics website Let’sGoPeay.com or on Twitter @AustinPeaySB for more information or updates.
Eastern Kentucky 7, Austin Peay 1
Austin Peay fell behind early and never got its offense untracked, as they dropped its first OVC contest of the year to the Colonels (20-11, 3-1 OVC).
The Govs lone run came in the top of the sixth inning, with Carly Mattson drawing a bases-loaded walk to force in Kacy Acree.
Austin Peay also had scoring chances in the second, third and fifth innings, getting runners into scoring position, but weren’t able to come up with a key hit to get any runs across.
Overall, the Govs offense was limited to just five hits – all singles – from Acree, Danielle Liermann, Bailey Shorter, Cassidy Hale and Brooke Pfefferle.
Austin Peay 5, Eastern Kentucky 2
The nightcap saw the Govs use the longball and solid pitching to come away with the win and earn a split with the Colonels.
Morgan Rackel and Liermann blasted a pair of two-run homers, with Rackel’s coming in the top of the first and Liermann’s the top of the third to build the Govs a 4-0 advantage.
APSU starter Kelly Mardones (6-2) would hold that lead for the Govs, as she went the first six-plus innings, allowing only two runs and four hits, in facing 24 Colonels.
But after the first two EKU batters got on to start the bottom of the seventh inning, Mardones was lifted for Kelsey Gross, who retired all three batters she faced on a pop-up and two groundouts to seal away the victory.
Austin Peay would also score a run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Liermann, who finished the game with three hits and three RBIs, while Acree, Natalie Schilling, Shorter and Mattson also picked up hits in the victory.
Inside the Box Score
With the save in Game 2, sophomore Kelsey Gross became the first Govs pitcher to record multiple saves in a season since 2007.
Govs are 18-3 in games where they score first.
With her three RBIs in Game 2, junior Danielle Liermann passes Carol Gray (1987-90) for fourth-place all-time in school history for career RBIs (107).
The 3-1 record to start OVC is the best for the Govs since the 2007 season.
Junior Kelly Mardones‘ quality start was the 18th for the Govs in 27 games.
Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Rodney DeLong
On bouncing back to take Game 2
“Kelly (Mardones) was big time there with a performance we needed. We weren’t good today, but we were gritty in that second game and split (the doubleheader). We needed to at least do that.”
On Gross’ growing into a possible closer role
“Kelsey is growing into that role (of closer) and doing really well in save opportunities. Today she came in and got us out of a jam and that’s what you need a closer to do.”
On starting OVC play 3-1
“(Winning) three out of four is good, but now we’re looking forward to going back home. We’ve got a good little home stretch this month and I’m excited for practice on Wednesday and continuing to get better.”