APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – First baseman Parker Phillips hit five home runs on the day, leading Austin Peay State University’s baseball team to a sweep of its Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky, 18-15 and 11-9, Friday at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Phillips hit three home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, in the series opener as part of a 4-for-5, seven RBI contest.
He followed that with home runs in the second and eighth innings in the nightcap as part of a 2-for-3, three RBI outing.
Austin Peay (21-15, 11-6 OVC), which hit eight home runs as a team, won its eighth weekend series in the season’s first nine weekends. The Governors moved up to third place in the OVC standings after the Friday doubleheader sweep.
Eastern Kentucky (16-20, 8-6) saw six different batters hit a home run in the doubleheader. Catcher Alex Holderbach finished the day 6-for-11 at the plate with a team-leading six RBI and a home run.
Phillips’ first-inning grand slam sparks Govs to series-opening win
Eastern Kentucky grabbed a lead in their first turn at bat, striking for three runs against Austin Peay starter Michael Costanzo. The Colonels saw five consecutive batters reach base safely with one out. Holderbach aided the early rally with a RBI single.
But the Colonels lead would not last the inning as Austin Peay saw its first three batters reach base safely. Phillips then stepped to the plate with one out and lifted a grand slam over the wall in right center to give the Govs a 4-3 lead. The Govs would tack on three more runs after the home run, two scoring after EKU defensive miscues, as they grabbed a 7-3 lead.
Phillips would add a solo home run in the second and two-run home run in the fourth, giving him home runs in each of his first three at-bats. Those blasts sandwiched a two-run home run by second baseman Garrett Giovannelli in the third inning as the Govs extended their lead to 14-4.
The Colonels would try to reel in the Governors, scoring the game’s next five runs. The burst was highlighted by Daniel Harris IV’s solo home run in the sixth and right fielder Chris Botsoe’s solo home run in the seventh.
However, Austin Peay stemmed the Colonels run with the next four runs. Center fielder Imani Willis delivered the decisive blow with a three-run home run in the eighth inning, giving the Govs an 18-10 lead.
Eastern Kentucky had one last gasp and made things uncomfortable in the ninth. Shortstop Ryland Kerr hit a three-run home run and Holderbach followed with a solo shot to narrow the deficit to 18-15 but the Govs returned Brett Newberg to the mound and he got the final out to end the game.
Costanzo (6-1) picked up the win after tossing 5.1 innings. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits and four walks during the outing, but held the Colonels scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings to allow the Govs time to build a lead.
Phillips ended the opener 4-for-5 with three home runs and seven RBI. Willis chipped in a 2-for-5, four RBI outing while Giovannelli was 3-for-6 with three RBI.
Eastern Kentucky starter Logan Teague (3-4) surrendered 10 runs (seven earned) in three innings and suffered the loss.
Holderback ended the opener 4-for-6 with three RBI to pace Eastern Kentucky. Kerr went 3-for-5 with four RBI while center fielder Will Johnson was 2-for-2 with two RBI and three walks.
Willis’ triple keys Govs late come-from-behind win
Austin Peay opened the scoring in the nightcap with a four-run second inning. Catcher David Martinez delivered the game’s first runs with a two-run home run. Three batters later, Phillips hit his fourth home run of the day – a two-run shot that gave the Govs a 4-0 lead.
Austin Peay responded to the lead change in its half of the seventh. Shortstop Kyle Wilson led off with a walk and designated hitter Bobby Head singled, advancing on a throw to third to give the Govs two runners in scoring position. Willis followed and hammered the ball into the right center gap, easily scoring Wilson and Head as he raced to third for a triple, tying the game 9-9. Giovannelli broke the tie with a sacrifice fly to score Willis and the Govs led 10-9.
Phillips would pad the Govs lead with a leadoff home run in the eighth inning. Reliever Brett Newberg then retired six of the seven batters he faced, two by strikeout, to record his season’s fifth save.
Thanks to the late rally, Govs reliever Harley Gollert (3-1) picked up the win after allowing three runs on three hits in the seventh inning. Starter Jacques Pucheu was left with no decision after going 5.1 innings and allowing six runs on seven hits.
Phillips’ two home runs were his only two hits in the nightcap as he went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Martinez went 2-for-3 with three RBI, adding a RBI double to his home run. Willis and Giovannelli each had two RBI in the nightcap.
Eastern Kentucky reliever Andrew McWhorter (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on two hits in the seventh inning. Holderbach ewnt 2-for-5 with three RBI to pace the EKU offense.
Up Next for APSU Baseball
Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky are scheduled to conclude the three-game series with a 1:00pm., Sunday contest. However, if weather and field conditions permit the team’s to conclude the series with a Saturday contest they will make the attempt.