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HomeSportsAustin Peay State University Baseball falls at home to Kentucky, 8-4

Austin Peay State University Baseball falls at home to Kentucky, 8-4

Austin Peay State University Sports Information

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – Center fielder Garrett Spain and third baseman Malcolm Tipler each had two-run triples, but the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team could not hold off Kentucky in an 8-4 season-opening loss, Friday, February 15th at Joe and Cathi Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.

Austin Peay Baseball loses season opening at home to Kentucky Wildcats, 8-4 Friday. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Baseball loses season opening at home to Kentucky Wildcats, 8-4 Friday. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)

With the Govs held to two hits over the first five innings, they were looking for a spark at the plate.

Enter second baseman Garrett Kueber, who quickly took two strikes from Kentucky reliever Daniel Harper.

But Kueber kept battling, fouling off the next two pitches, including spoiling a pitch just on the outside corner. Kueber would win the battle at the plate by watching four straight balls with that 0-2 count to earn a leadoff walk and set up the Govs game-tying rally.

Water Cooler Notes

Rookie Report
Spain’s triple was his first collegiate hit. He was the only one of the Govs four rookies to gather a base hit on the season’s opening day. Left fielder Griffin Rivers would earn walks in his first two plate appearances.

Phillips’ Start
Kentucky treated right fielder Parker Phillips with kid gloves in the season opener, issuing two no-pitch intentional walks. The walks came after a first-inning infield single against Kentucky starter Zack Thompson as Phillips went 1-for-2 officially.

Starter’s Story

Starting Austin Peay State University pitcher Jacques Pucheu, the Ohio Valley Conference’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, would make the most his 75-pitch limit, pushing through six quality innings. He limited Kentucky to three hits – two of those solo home runs – and walked only one batter in his debut. Pucheu would open 2019 with five strikeouts as he takes aim at repeating last season’s 100-strikeout campaign.

The Rest Of The Story

Austin Peay (0-1) faced a 2-0 deficit after five-and-a-half innings when second baseman Garrett Kueber opened the frame by battling back from a 0-2 count by fouling off a pair of pitches before taking four straight balls for a walk. After Kueber advanced on a wild pitch, Kentucky intentionally walked right fielder Parker Phillips, bringing Spain to the plate.

Spain would quickly tie the game with a two-run triple that sailed over the Wildcat left fielder’s head and to the wall. However, the opportunity to take the lead with Spain at third base would evaporate as UK reliever Daniel Harper struck out the next batter to end the threat.

One inning later, the Austin Peay State University Govs buzzed around the bases. Catcher David Martinez was hit by a pitch to start the frame. Two batters later, Kueber again walked giving the Govs two runners board for a second time. This time it would be Tipler’s turn to do the damage with a triple that whistled past the Kentucky right fielder’s head, allowing two runs to score for a 4-2 Austin Peay lead.

Kentucky (1-0) recovered in the eighth inning, again using the long ball to inflict damage. Designated hitter T.J. Collett hit a three-run homer to left, giving Kentucky a 6-4 lead. It was one of four home runs hit by the Wildcats on the day, with third baseman Breydon Daniel, right fielder Jaren Shelby and first baseman Dalton Reed each adding solo shots.

Governors starter Jacques Pucheu was left with no decision but held Kentucky to two runs on three hits in his six innings of work, striking out five batters. Reliever Harley Gollert (0-1) would suffer the loss after pitching the eighth inning.

Kentucky starter Zack Thompson held Austin Peay scoreless over his four innings, striking out nine of the 16 batters he faced and allowing only one hit while walking three. UK reliever Carson Coleman (1-0) notched the win by retiring all seven batters he faced, striking out four.

Spain and Tipler each went 1-for-4 with two RBI to pace the Austin Peay offense with Phillips and catcher David Martinez also recording hits on opening day.

Reed led UK with a 3-for-5 outing while Daniel, Hill, Shelby and Collett each had two hits.

Austin Peay State University and Kentucky continue their three-game series with a 1:00pm, Saturday contest at Hand Park. Govs left-hander Brett Newberg will square off against Wildcats righty Jimmy Ramsey. APSU will host a groundbreaking ceremony for its new baseball clubhouse at 12:30pm, Saturday before the game’s start.

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