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APSU Baseball splits doubleheader at UT Martin

APSU Sports Information

APSU BaseballMartin, TN – A timely seventh-inning rally in the day’s second game helped the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team salvage a split of its Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader against UT Martin.

The Govs rallied to win the night cap, 5-4, after dropping the series opener, 6-3, at Skyhawk Field.

Austin Peay Baseball falls 6-3 to UT Martin Saturday in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The Govs secured a 5-4 win in Game 2. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Baseball falls 6-3 to UT Martin Saturday in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The Govs secured a 5-4 win in Game 2. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)

Game 1 Recap

Austin Peay will look back at the opportunities it missed in the opener’s first two innings. The Govs put a runner on third base twice in the first inning without scoring. Austin Peay would scratch out a run in the second with a runner on third thanks to a Skyhawks but saw another opportunity in the inning denied.

UT Martin (15-23, 5-12 OVC) also used an error to score its first run, tying the game in the second inning. But it was the fourth inning that proved pivotal as the Skyhawks sent eight men to the plate. Afer a single and walk opened the frame, Govs starter Jacques Pucheu thwarted a sacrifice bunt with a on-time throw to third base for an out.

The Skyhawks wouldn’t be denied, as four of the next five batters recorded base hits. Left fielder Sean Dixson’s one-out single gave UTM a 2-1 lead. Center fielder Jordan Stoner and shortstop Casey Harford each had two-out RBI singles, extending the lead to 4-1. Catcher Blake Davis’ single led to an Austin Peay error that allowed another run to score for a 5-1 lead.

That would prove enough for UTM starter Austen Bullington who went 6.2 innings in the victory. After allowing the early run, Bullington surrendered two runs in the seventh as the Govs sent eight men to the plate. The Skyhawks starter allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits. Reliever Zach Denney would toss 2.1 scoreless innings – allowing two of the three runners he inherited to score – to pick up his second save.

Austin Peay starter Jacques Pucheu (5-2) suffered his second straight road loss after allowing six runs (four earned) on a season-high 12 hits in a 5.1-inning outing that saw him strike out eight.

Stoner and Harford each had three hits and a RBI to lead the UTM offense.

APSU catcher Alex Sala went 2-for-3 with a RBI in the opener. Campbell went 3-for-4 at the plate.

Game 2 Recap

Austin Peay (20-17, 12-8 OVC) trailed for 11 consecutive innings in the doubleheader and faced a 4-1 deficit after the sixth inning of the night cap. Right fielder Parker Phillips opened the seventh with a solo home run that proved to light a match under the Govs offense.

Left fielder Aaron Campbell followed the home run with a walk and first baseman John McDonald doubled off the wall in straight-away center field to give Austin Peay two runners in scoring position. The Govs turned to Matt Joslin in a pinch hit opportunity and he delivered again, singling up the middle of the diamond to tie the game, 4-4.

After a wild pitch, Joslin was moved to third base with a sacrifice bunt. A walk kept the inning moving and second baseman Malcolm Tipler followed with a RBI single that gave the Govs their first lead, 5-4, since early in Game 1.

The Govs bullpen shut down the Skyhawks offense after they were handed the lead. Reliever Greg Leban struck out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh inning. Closer Brett Newberg followed by striking out four of the six batters he faced in two scoreless frames to pick up his fifth save.

The late rally made a winner of starting pitcher Josh Rye (5-3), who battled through six innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out five.

Phillips paced the Govs offense with a 2-for-3, two RBI outing that included a RBI double in the fourth inning. Josling went 1-for-1 with two RBI and a walk.

UTM starter Sam Folks (3-5) suffered the loss after allowing all five Govs runs on six hits. He struck out eight batters over his six innings. Second baseman Tyson Cox went 1-for-3 with a RBI to lead the Skyhawks offense.

Moment That Mattered

After a lackluster performance through 15 innings of Saturday’s doubleheader, Austin Peay got a jolt from right fielder Parker Phillips’ bat when he launched a home run over the wall in left. It sparked a four-run rally by the Governors that resulted in them taking the lead they would maintain to the win.

Water Cooler Chatter

Big Inning A Winner
The Govs four-run seventh inning in Game 2 was their 11th frame of four-plus runs this season. Those big frames have proven auspicious as they are unbeaten in those 11 games this season. It also is the Govs seventh come-from-behind win in 2019.

Twin Bill Truth
For the third consecutive weekend, Austin Peay played a doubleheader as part of its Ohio Valley Conference weekend. It was the fifth twin bill played by the Governors in 2019 and they have won two, split two and lost one of those doubleheaders — and posted a 6-4 record.


Where The Govs Stand

After Saturday’s doubleheader, Austin Peay stands alone in fourth place in the updated OVC standings. The Govs are 1½ games behind co-leaders Jacksonville State and Belmont and just percentage points behind Morehead State (.611 to .600).

Next Up For APSU Baseball

APSU Baseball and UT Martin will conclude their three-game OVC series with a 1:00pm, Easter Sunday contest. It will be only the third time since 2000 – and first time since 2015 – Austin Peay has played an Easter contest


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