Marion, IL – Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball outfielder Aaron Campbell continued to wreak havoc at the plate, finishing with three hits and five RBI to help team outlast Eastern Kentucky, 9-7, Thursday afternoon at Rent One Park.
The Governors railed 3-0 after an inning and a half but began a rally when Campbell singled to start the second inning. Catcher David Martinez followed with a home run to the opposite field and Austin Peay slashed the lead to 3-2.
Eastern Kentucky’s lead would only last as long as it took for Campbell to reach the plate in the third. With two out, right fielder Parker Phillips singled and center fielder Garrett Spain earned a walk with two outs. Campbell returned to the plate and rifled his third home run of the tournament to right field, giving the Govs a 5-2 lead.
Austin Peay added single runs in the next three innings. Spain added a run-scoring double in the fifth. Designated hitter Matt Joslin drove in the fifth-inning run with a double. Campbell then drove in the Govs eighth run with a single in the sixth.
Eastern Kentucky (31-26) charged back in the seventh getting four plate appearances with bases loaded. Colonels center fielder Michael Brewer drove in two with a bases-loaded, one-out double. EKU would load the bases again with their third walk of the inning and gained another run when a wild pitch on a strikeout got to the wall, cutting the Govs lead to 8-6.
However, Austin Peay converted another strikeout to end the Eastern Kentucky rally.
Campbell would get the Governors an insurance run in the eighth. After a wild pitch allowed Spain to reach third base, Campbell hit a ground ball to second base which allowed Spain to score, giving the Govs a 9-6 advantage.
Eastern Kentucky would bring the tying run to the plate twice in the ninth inning and drove in a run on Daniel Harris’ single. But APSU closer Brett Newberg struck out the next batter to end the game and pick up his season’s eighth save.
Eastern Kentucky starter Jacob Ferris (6-5) was handed the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits in his 3.1-inning outing. Center fielder Michael Brewer was 2-for-3 with three RBI to lead the Colonels offense.
Moment That Mattered
Austin Peay led by three runs entering the ninth inning but Eastern Kentucky promptly earned back-to-back walks to start the frame and brought the tying run to the plate. Suddenly, the EKU runner at second base broke for third only to find the ball waiting for him.
Catcher David Martinez threw a perfect ball to third baseman Gino Avros who only had to catch it and keep it on the bag where the runner slid into it for the inning’s first out, critically turning the momentum in the Governors favor.
Water Cooler Chatter
Another Mark Broken
Campbell seems determined to rewrite the offensive portion of the Governors OVC Tournament record book. He ended the day with 11 RBI in two tournament games shattering the record of seven RBI set seven times since 1996. He is 6-for-10 with three home runs in the tournament.
Govs Power On Display
Austin Peay has brought its bats to work so far in Marion. Led by Campbell’s three home runs, the Govs have five of the tournaments 12 home runs through its game today. Tack on five doubles and APSU has 10 of the tourney’s 42 extra-base hits – no other team has more than eight extra-base hits.
Statistic To Click
Hitting With Bases Loaded, Or Rather Not
Thursday’s win was a white-knuckle affair throughout for Governors fans. Eastern Kentucky had nine turns at the plate with the bases loaded and mustered just one hit and three runs. Austin Peay State University pitchers recorded seven strikeouts with the bases loaded.
Next Up For APSU Baseball
Second-seeded APSU Baseball (32-23) advances to the winner’s bracket final where it will face No. 1 seed Jacksonville State, which fended off Belmont in the day’s first game. The Govs and Gamecocks will meet in an 11:00am, Friday, May 24th contest with the winner advancing to the championship round.