Troy, AL – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball team for the first time in their 36-year history opened a season with four straight wins, as they swept Western Carolina and Mercer Sunday morning in the final day of the Troy Invitational by 7-5 and 6-1 finals.
Both the 1995 and 2017 teams open their seasons with three wins but failed to come away victorious in their fourth contest of the year.
Austin Peay 7, Western Carolina 5
After being held scoreless over their first two at bats, the Govs exploded for four runs versus the Catamounts in the third inning highlighted by a two-run single by Kaitlyn Smith, while Kelsey Gross had an RBI single and Lexi Osowski produced a run with a sacrifice fly.
The APSU Govs would add three more runs in the fifth, with Brett Jackson driving in one with a single and Smith picking up her third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly, while the third run of the inning came off a Western Carolina error.
Western Carolina would try to rally in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs, but Harley Mullins came in and picked up her first save of the season, by retiring six straight batters to seal away the victory.
Jordan Benefiel (2-0) got the win going four-and-a-third shutout innings in giving up three hits and two walks, while striking out five.
Austin Peay 6, Mercer 1
W: MULLINS, Harley (1-0) L: Riley Hickok (1-1)
The Governors jumped out early against the Bears, scoring two runs in each of their first two at bats, with Brooke Pfefferle and Osowski driving in a run each in both innings.
That would be more than enough runs for APSU starter Harley Mullins (1-0), who after picking up a six-out save in the opening game of the day, took a shutout into the bottom of the seventh inning, scattered eight hits along the way before giving up a run in the final frame and finishing five strikeouts and one walk given up.
Austin Peay State Univerity would tack on two final runs in the fifth inning, both coming in on a triple off the fence by Bailey Shorter.
Inside the Boxscore
- Kelsey Gray set a career single-game high with three hits versus Mercer.
- Harley Mullins picked up her first career save as a Gov versus Western Carolina.
- Katelyn Smith set a career single-game best with three RBIs versus Western Carolina.
- Bailey Shorter recorded a career single-game high of seven putouts in center field.
- Katelyn Smith recorded a career single-game high of seven putouts behind the plate.
APSU coach Kassie Stanfill statements
On the weekend’s success
“We as a staff are very proud of the girls and the way that they played this whole weekend. Both days they came out with good energy and were ready to play from first pitch to final out. It’s good to see them get this type of results after all of the hard work they’ve been putting in to get ready for the season.”
On Harley Mullins day in the circle
“I can’t say enough about Harley’s effort out there today. She comes in and retires six straight to end the first game and make sure we come away with the victory, when goes the full seven in the second game taking a shutout into the seventh. We are looking forward to seeing her continue to progress and improve as the season moves forward.
On looking ahead for next week at Southern Illinois
“This weekend was a good start for us, but now it’s time to look forward and get ready for next week and the four quality teams we will face. It’s still early in the season, but we have started with a good foundation to build off of.”