Jackson, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team saw its incredible late season run end in the Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship’s consolation final as they dropped a 7-6, 11-inning contest to Murray State, Saturday afternoon in The Ballpark at Jackson.
Trailing 6-5 after six innings, Austin Peay State University (23-33) pieced together a rally to tie the game.
Catcher Jack Alexander walked to begin the inning and left fielder TJ Foreman singled. Shortstop John Bolton moved the runners with a sac bunt and pinch hitter Ty DeLancey drove in the run with a ground out.
The APSU Govs would have a runner in scoring position just once the rest of the way. Second baseman Malcolm Tipler walked to start the eighth and moved around the bases with back-to-back groundouts. However, Murray State ended the threat with a fly out with the game still tied.
Murray State (32-24) was held off the board by the Governors pitching after a four-run fifth inning provided it the 6-5 lead. Austin Peay State University stranded Racers in running position in both the sixth and ninth innings – retiring eight consecutive batters in between threats.
Austin Peay State University escaped a serious Murray State threat in the 10th inning. After an infield error and a single put the first two batters on base, reliever Harley Gollert induced a ground ball for a double play, leaving a runner on third. A foul out to first baseman Bobby Head ended the inning.
Murray State threatened again in the 11th inning after a single and a walk opening the inning. The Racers moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Austin Peay State University responded by intentionally walking a batter to load the bases with one out. Gollert got the Murray State batter to swing at a pitch in the dirt for a strikeout but the ball got to the backstop allowing the game-winning run to score.
Austin Peay State University opened with the game’s first run after third baseman Gino Avros singled to start the game and scored on an error. Single runs in the third and fourth innings followed Avros reaching base after being hit by a pitch and singling with two outs, respectively, extending the APSU Govs lead to 3-1.
The Governors pushed the lead to 5-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Designated hitter John McDonald, Alexander and Foreman each singled to start the inning, Foreman’s hit driving in a run. After a sacrifice, right fielder Skyler Luna drove in a second run with an infield single, pushing APSU’s lead to 5-2.
Murray State responded immediately with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth. Center fielder Jake Slunder drove in a run with a single and right fielder Brock Anderson added another run with a ground out. Second baseman Jordan Cozart then gave the Racers a 605 lead with his two-run home run to left field.
Gollert (4-5) was the hard-luck losing pitcher after holding Murray State to one run over the final 2.1 innings. Reliever Nick Wellman carried the game into extra innings with his 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Starter Peyton Jula allowed six runs on seven hits while striking out five over the opening 4.2 innings.
Avros scored three times and was 2-for-5 at the plate. Second baseman Malcolm Tipler went 3-for-5 with a walk. Austin Peay State University outhit the Racers, but each of their 14 hits went for singles.
Anderson went 1-for-6 with two RBI and Cozart was 1-for-5 with two RBI to lead Murray State’s offense. Reliever Connor Holden (2-1) tossed 4.2 scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
Austin Peay 6, Murray State 7
W: HOLDEN, Connor (2-1) L: GOLLERT, Harley (4-5)