Dallas, TX – Catcher Jack Alexander homered in his first at-bat as a member of the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team, and center fielder Garrett Spain also hit a solo home run but nationally-ranked Dallas Baptist rallied to down the Govs, 13-2, in Saturday’s season-opener for both teams at Horner Ballpark.
Alexander’s solo home run to left came in the third inning and gave Austin Peay (0-1) the game’s first run. One inning later, Spain hit a solo home run to center field, the first of his two hits on the afternoon.
However, by the time Spain stepped to the plate, Dallas Baptist (1-0) built a 3-1 lead on shortstop Shayne Jones’ three-run home run in the bottom of the third. The Patriots added to their lead in the fifth as the Govs defense battled through a shaky frame that led to three unearned runs and a 6-2 DBU advantage that proved enough.
Spain opened his 2021 campaign with a 2-for-4, RBI performance with an eighth-inning double joining his home run. Alexander was 1-for-2 with a RBI while designated hitter Ty DeLancey and shortstop Xavier Torres each had a hit.
Jones’ 2-for-5, four RBI day included a second home run as part of a six-run sixth inning. DBU hit five home runs on the day: left fielder River Town, first baseman Andres Sosa and third baseman Andrew Benefield each hitting a homer.
Austin Peay starter Harley Gollert (0-1) went 3.1 innings in the opening loss and allowed three runs on three hits and four walks.
DBU starter Dominic Hamel struck out seven batters and held the Govs to two runs on two hits through five innings to pick up the victory.
Austin Peay and DBU return to action in a 2 p.m., Sunday contest at Horner Ballpark. Govs right-hander Peyton Jula faces off against Patriots righty Ray Gaither in the middle game of the three-game series.
Notes and Notables
Debut Success: Catcher Jack Alexander opening his APSU career with a home run was certainly the day’s highlight by a newcomer. However, shortstop Xavier Torres also was successful in his Governors debut with a leadoff single in the sixth. Newcomers Jeremy Wagner and John Bolton made their debuts as pinch hitters in the ninth.
Mound Debuts: After the Govs opened with Gollert, returnee Sebastian Martinez took over in the fourth. Behind that experienced duo, Austin Peay turned to Michael Sturek and Nolan O’Shoney – both newcomers in 2021.
Picking Right Back Up: Center fielder Garrett Spain closed the shortened 2020 season with an extra-base hit in six of his last eight games – eight extra-base knocks in that span. The extended layoff didn’t appear to do him any harm as the Preseason All-OVC pick hit a home run and a double in his 2021 opener.
Double Play Magic: Austin Peay’s defense was on pace to break the program’s single-season record for most double plays in a season. They also picked up where they left off with a double play in the season opener – Torres, second baseman Bobby Head and first baseman John McDonald teaming up to end the second inning with a twin killing.