Clarksville, TN – Second baseman Malcolm Tipler’s walk-off two-run home run in the 12th inning helped Austin Peay State University’s baseball team win Game 1 of a Friday doubleheader, 7-6. However, the Govs had to settle for a split of the Ohio Valley Conference twin bill as SIU Edwardsville won the nightcap, 11-3, on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Tipler’s blast ended a wild affair in Game 1. With the score tied 4-4 after nine innings, SIUE third baseman Raul Elguezabal gave the Cougars their first lead since the fifth inning with a leadoff home run in the 11th inning.
Austin Peay (13-23, 10-10 OVC) leveled the score with a little more creativity in its half of the 11th. Catcher Jack Alexander led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then, first baseman Matt Joslin reached base on an error with Alexander getting to third base.
Right fielder Jeremy Wagner supplied the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to center field, tying the score 5-5. However, with Joslin on third base, the Govs attempted a suicide squeeze that failed, ending the Govs’ threat.
SIUE (19-15, 9-8 OVC) would manufacture its run in the 12th. Centerfielder Brett Johnson led off with a single and moved to third on a sac bunt. After a walk and a fly out, designated hitter Brady Bunten doubled into the left-center gap, scoring Johnson to take the lead. However, the Cougars saw a potential insurance run cut down at home on the same play on a relay play started by centerfielder Garrett Spain to Tipler to Alexander. Tipler then would belt the walk-off homer over the wall in the left-center field for the victory.
Govs reliever Nick Wellman (2-0) notched the win after pitching the top of the 12th. He relieved Harley Gollert struck out a career-high 10 batters over 5.2 innings, allowing only one hit (the solo home run) and one walk. APSU starter Luke Brown went 5.1 innings and allowing four runs.
The top three in the Govs order – third baseman Gino Avros, Tipler, and Spain – each had three hits and combined to go 9-fo-17 with three RBI to pace the Govs 13-hit attack in the opener.
SIUE reliever Tyler Bastunas (1-1) surrendered the two 12th inning runs and went just one-third of an inning and took the loss.
Game 2 saw SIUE break out for four runs in the top of the first, with first baseman Ole Arntson doing the bulk of the damage with a three-run home run. The Cougars then broke the game open with a five-run seventh inning that aided by a pair of Govs errors, Arntson one of four batters to record an RBI as the lead grew to 9-3.
Austin Peay chipped away at the early 4-0 deficit with single runs in each of the first three innings against SIUE starter Jake Bockenstedt. However, they could not solve Cougars’ reliever Kaid Karnes (1-3), who tossed six scoreless innings and struck out eight to secure the victory.
APSU starter Sebastian Martinez (2-4) allowed four runs in the first inning but settled in to supply four scoreless innings but suffered the loss after striking out six over his five-inning outing.
Arntson went 2-for-4 with four RBI to lead SIUE in the second game. Second baseman Connor Kiffer was 4-for-6 with three runs scored.
Austin Peay State University and SIUE are scheduled to complete their three-game OVC series with a 1:00pm Saturday contest. However, inclement weather is forecast overnight and into the morning. Fans should follow APSU Athletics at LetsGoPeay.com or by following @LetsGoPeay on Twitter for any schedule updates.