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APSU Softball beats Morehead State, Eastern Illinois at OVC Tournament

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU SoftballOxford, AL – Austin Peay State University’s softball team continues to add to its 2018 legacy with two more Ohio Valley Conference Championship Tournament wins, Friday, at Choccolocco Park, downing Morehead State, 1-0 — in 10 innings — before defeating Eastern Illinois, 3-1.

With the victories, Austin Peay (39-16) will finish no worst than third place in the tournament, its best finish ever in the tourney, while the three tournament wins are also a school record.

Austin Peay Softball defeats Morehead State 1-0 then gets 3-1 win over Eastern Illinois Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Softball defeats Morehead State 1-0 then gets 3-1 win over Eastern Illinois Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)

The Govs continue their OVC Softball Championship run, 10:00am, Saturday, facing the conference’s regular-season champion Eastern Kentucky in the third-place game, with a victory placing them in its first-ever OVC Championship Game versus Jacksonville State at 12:30pm.

The Govs will have to beat Jacksonville State twice Saturday to win the tournament title and earn the OVC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

You can follow all the Govs action at the OVC Softball Championships on the conference’s tournament website at http://ovcsports.com/sports/2017/6/15/2018softball.aspx or on Austin Peay’s official athletics website Let’sGoPeay.com or on Twitter @AustinPeaySB for more information or updates.

Morehead State recap

2018 APSU Softball - Natalie SchillingAustin Peay broke a 0-0 deadlock in the top of the 10th inning by taking advantage of a Morehead State (28-23) throwing error to defeat the Eagles with the game’s only run.

Junior Natalie Schilling opened the top of the 10th with a single up the middle–just the Govs third hit of the contest (Morgan Rackel and Carly Mattson had the other two APSU hits)–followed by junior Kacy Acree laying down a sacrifice bunt to move Schilling into scoring position.

2018 APSU Softball - Kelly MardonesBut Morehead State pitcher Chelsea McManaway’s throw to first base was wild – going down into the right field corner – allowing Schilling to score all the away from first with what turned out to be the game-winning run.

Rackel, who came into the game in relief in the bottom of the seventh inning, struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th inning to seal the victory for the Govs.

Junior Kelly Mardones started in the circle for the Govs, throwing 6.1 shutout innings, giving up just five hits.

Eastern Illinois recap

Austin Peay jumped on Eastern Illinois (36-20) for two runs in the first inning, with Schilling opening things up with a one-out single, and, after stealing second base, scored on a double by Danielle Liermann.

The Govs would score its other run of the inning two batters later, with Liermann scoring on a Mattson double.

That would be all the runs that Rackel (22-6) would need as she held the Panthers to just one run, while scattering nine hits in the complete-game victory. She would also walked two and fanned four.

Austin Peay’s final run came in the sixth inning on Mattson’s 12th home run of the year.

Inside the Box Score

2018 APSU Softball - Morgan RackelThe 1-0 shutout versus Morehead State was the Govs fifth 1-0 victory of the season.

Junior Morgan Rackel’s single in the top of the sixth inning versus Morehead State was the Govs 385th hit this season, setting a school record for single-season hits.

Junior outfielder Kacy Acree’s string of games reaching base ended at 30 with a 0-for-3 day versus EIU.

Morgan Rackel’s string of 36.2 shutout innings pitched ended on a run-scoring sacrifice fly by EIU in the sixth inning of the second-game contest.

2018 APSU Softball - Danielle LiermannJunior Danielle Liermann became the first APSU player to record 50 RBIs in a season with her RBI double in the first inning versus EIU.

In picking up two wins on Friday, Morgan Rackel now has 22 victories on the season, the second-most in a single season by a Govs pitcher. She passed Julee Stone (21, 1993) to move behind Angela Thompson (24, 1989).

With her stolen base versus EIU, Junior Natalie Schilling became the first APSU player to record 40 stolen bases in a season.

Natalie Schilling’s stolen base versus EIU was the teams 100th stolen base this season.

Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Rodney DeLong

On team’s fight and effort to stay in tournament
“I’m extremely proud of them. Tournament time is always tough because you’re facing everyone’s good pitching. They continued to fight and hung in there all day and got it done. What a day!”

On Kelly Mardones and Morgan Rackel’s shutdown pitching performances
“Both of our pitchers were great today. They battled all day in the heat and kept us in both games when we weren’t hitting at all. They really carried us today.

“It started with Kelly (Mardones) extending the day in that first game. For us to have Morgan for the second game we had to have Kelly do exactly what she did in the first game. She was great.”

On doing the most with few hits
“We didn’t hit well overall today, but we did have big hits at big times.”

On what lies ahead on tournament’s final day
“Tomorrow is going to be one game at a time. We know we are going to have our hands full, but we’re excited to be here. We’re excited for the opportunity and we’re going to go out there and see what happens.”


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