APSU Sports Information
Murray, KY – Starting pitcher Jacques Pucheu delivered eight shutout innings as the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team opened Ohio Valley Conference play with a 2-0 victory against Murray State, Sunday afternoon at Johnny Reagan Field.
Pucheu (2-0) was the story of the opener, facing four more than the minimum over his career-best eight-inning outing. He allowed just two hits – a third inning two-out single and a seventh-inning leadoff single – and walked none.
Pucheu also struck out seven batters, four coming in an eight-batter stretch during the sixth and seventh innings.
Austin Peay (5-6, 1-0 OVC) saw the bottom of its batting order supply its first run in the second inning. First baseman John McDonald, making his first start after missing eight games due to injury, hit a two-out single. Designated hitter Andrew Flaherty following with a second single and shortstop Bobby Head delivered the run with another single.
Murray State starter Trevor McMurray (0-3) would hold the Govs scoreless over the next five innings. The Racers defense helped his cause with double plays in both the sixth and seventh innings as they maintained the 1-0 deficit.
The Governors would add a key insurance run in the eighth, this time courtesy the team’s two hottest hitters. Center fielder Garrett Spain singled into the right-center gap with two out then stole second base. That stolen base proved fortuitous when catcher David Martinez singled into the left-center gap to drive in the run.
Closer Brett Newberg notched his season’s first save by retiring the Racers in order in the ninth.
Flaherty had the Govs only multihit outing, with a 2-for-3 effort. Head and Martinez each went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
McMurray matched Pucheu nearly inning-for-inning, allowing one run over seven innings and working around four hits and five walks. Right fielder Brock Anderson and second baseman Jordan Holly had one hit each.
Moment That Mattered
The bottom of the Governors’ lineup had been unusually silent in the 10-game run up to OVC play. In the league opener, it was the bottom of the order that delivered the early lead.
First baseman John McDonald, designated hitter Andrew Flaherty and shortstop Bobby Head – batting sixth, seventh and eighth – stung together three straight two-out singles to provide the game’s first run in the second inning.
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Pucheu One Ups Himself
Already this season Pucheu had provided one of the season’s best starts with seven shutout frames at Indiana State a week ago. However, the senior left found a way to top that performance by taking a two-hit shutout through eight innings of work. Adding to the quality of the start, he did not walk any of the 28 batters he faced – reaching a three-ball count just twice and striking out the batter both times.
Best Start In A While
Not only was it Pucheu’s best career start – going a career-best eight innings – it was the longest shutout start by a Governors’ pitcher since Casey Delgado tossed a complete-game (nine inning) shutout against Cal State Fullerton in the 2012 NCAA tournament