Charleston, IL – A weather delay proved pivotal as the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team dropped the opening game of its Ohio Valley Conference series against Eastern Illinois, 7-4, Friday afternoon at Coaches Stadium.
A pitcher’s duel between Austin Peay State University’s Luke Brown and Eastern Illinois Cameron Doherty kept the offenses largely at bay.
The Governors scored two runs thanks to catcher Jack Alexander, who provided a RBI double in the first and a solo home run in the third inning. The Panthers leaned on shortstop Trey Sweeney’s two solo home runs, including a sixth-inning homer that tied the game at 2-2.
And then the lightning and rain came and ended both starting pitchers outings following a one-hour delay. It was up to the bullpens to settle the contest over the final three innings.
Austin Peay State University (16-28, 11-11 OVC) would get on the board quickly after the stoppage. Shortstop John Bolton singled to drive in pinch runner Xavier Torres, who was on base for designated hitter Reid Brown who singled just before the delay, for the go-ahead run.
But Eastern Illinois (21-21, 12-13 OVC) pieced together a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning. A walk and a single set up third baseman Dalton Doyle, who provided a three-run home run to left field for a 5-3 Panthers lead.
APSU would get one of those runs back in the eighth. Second baseman Malcolm Tipler led off with a single and got to second on a passed ball. Right fielder Bobby Head singled to drive in the run, narrowing the deficit to 5-4.
However, the Panthers added insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. A leadoff walk to Sweeney was promptly converted by relief pitcher Ryan Ignoffo’s home run to left center, setting the final score.
Brown went six innings, holding the Panthers to two runs on five hits while striking out four. Reliever Harley Gollert (3-4) allowed five runs on four hits over two innings and suffered the loss.
Alexander paced the Govs offense with a 2-for-4, two RBI outing. Bolton also went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Ignoffo (4-1) picked up the win after allowing one run on four hits over 2.2 innings, helping his own cause with the late home run as part of a 2-for-4, two RBI day at the plate.
Sweeney went 3-for-3 with two home runs, two RBI, a walk, and three runs scored to lead Eastern Illinois’ offense.
Austin Peay State University and Eastern Illinois continue their three-game series with Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader.
Austin Peay 4, Eastern Illinois 7
W: IGNOFFO, Ryan (4-1) L: GOLLERT, Harley (3-4)