Martin, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball team scored four of its five runs versus UT Martin in the seventh inning of its two games, Saturday at Bettye Giles Field, to post two come-from-behind Ohio Valley Conference victories, 2-1 and 3-2, to take the overall weekend series, two games to one.
It is the sixth overall OVC series won by the Govs (25-14, 20-11 OVC) this season and the third coming on the road, with one final home series left next weekend at Cathi Maynard Park-Cheryl Holt Field versus OVC leader Eastern Kentucky.
Austin Peay 2, UT Martin 1
W: GROSS, Kelsey (9-2) L: Alexis Groet (12-4)
Trailing 1-0 heading into its final at-bat of the game, the Govs tied the game on one swing, as Emily Harkleroad blasted her first collegiate home run off the scoreboard in left field to lead off the inning.
A sacrifice by Brooke Pfefferle would get Moore to third and after a walk to Brett Jackson, Moore would come in with what turned out to be the game-winning run when UT Martin’s pitcher couldn’t handle the comebacker off the bat of Kelsey Gray allowing Moore to score without a throw.
Kelsey Gross (9-2) would handle the rest, as she closed out the complete-game victory with a scoreless seventh inning to seal away the 2-1 win, finishing the day by scattering seven hits, giving up just one run, and striking out three.
Austin Peay 3, UT Martin 2
W: BENEFIEL, Jordan (8-6) L: Alexis Groet (12-5)
The APSU Govs got down early in the nightcap, giving up two first-inning home runs to the Skyhawks, but would settle in after that, and not allow another run in the contest to UTM.
That would give the APSU Govs bats a chance to get back into the ball game, as they cut the deficit in half in the sixth inning, with Bailey Shorter leading off the inning with a single and score two batters later on a double by Lexi Osowski, making it 2-1.
The pair would strike again in the seventh, as Shorter reaching on a one-out single, and after she was moved to second on a sacrifice by Kendyl Weinzapfel, scored when Osowski’s long fly ball into the corner in right was dropped by the UT Martin right fielder allowing Shorter to score the tying run.
That brought up Gross, who leads the team in RBIs, and she didn’t disappoint, as she laced a single into right-center driving in Osowski with the go-ahead run, 3-2.
Jordan Benefiel (8-6) would make that lead stand up, after giving up back-to-back hits to the Skyhawks open the bottom of the seven, retired the next three in order to close out the victory.
Inside the Boxscore
With the win in Game 1, Kelsey Gross became just the seventh pitcher in APSU history to record at least 30 career wins.
With her three strikeouts in Game 1, Kelsey Gross passed Megan Lane (1999-02) for ninth all-time in career strikeouts, with 206.
Emily Harkleroad’s home run to leadoff the seventh inning of Game 1 was the first home run to lead off an inning by an APSU Gov since Bailey Shorter’s leadoff home run in the third inning of their game at Tennessee Tech on April 2nd.
Austin Peay has now won seven of its last eight games versus UT Martin.
Emily Moore’s stolen base in Game 1 was her seventh of the season, tying her for the team lead.
Pitcher Jordan Benefiel recorded a career single-game high three assists in Game 2.
Austin Peay State University held UT Martin to zero stolen bases in the series.
APSU coach Kassie Stanfill statements
“Back-to-back comeback wins shows just how much character Team 36 has. We always talk about fighting till the last pitch is thrown and our student-athletes did just that. Taking these two wins into next weekend against Eastern Kentucky is the momentum that we need.”
“Our pitching staff did an amazing job all weekend. Keeping an offensively sound team to four runs in 21 innings is huge. They were able to keep us in the game and give the hitters time to push a couple of runs across and that is all we can ask for from them.”