Clarksville, TN – Starting pitcher Harley Gollert threw seven shutout innings, but the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team could not fend off Eastern Kentucky’s ninth-inning charge in a 7-5 loss, Friday, on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.
After allowing a leadoff walk in the fourth, Gollert would retire 11 consecutive batters before allowing a two-out single in the seventh. He ended the inning and his outing with his eighth strikeout of the day.
Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky starter Michael Schuler kept Austin Peay State University at bay through five shutout innings. In his final inning on the mound, the Govs threatened, putting a runner on second twice in the inning.
However, EKU cut down one of the runners and Schuler stranded the second with a pair of fly-outs.
Austin Peay (6-9) took advantage of the first three pitchers out of the Eastern Kentucky bullpen. First baseman Ty DeLancey singled to start the sixth against EKU reliever Jordan Fox. But the EKU reliever would battle back by recording the next two outs before allowing a single to third baseman Michael Robinson.
Eastern Kentucky (10-5) would return to its bullpen but with little immediate effect. APSU designated hitter Harrison Brown singled to drive in the game’s first run. Center fielder Skyler Luna then hit a ground ball to third base, but the throw to first sailed high, allowing two runs to score for a 3-0 lead.
The Governors extended their lead with two runs in the seventh. With the third Eastern Kentucky reliever starting the inning, right fielder Gino Avros doubled to start the inning and advanced to third on an error. Shortstop John Bolton brought Avros home with a single. The fourth EKU reliever would allow a walk and then throw a wild pitch, allowing Bolton to score a 5-0 lead.
Eastern Kentucky loaded the bases in the eighth inning against the first Govs reliever but could not drive in a run. But they found much more success in a snowy ninth inning against Austin Peay State University’s second and third relievers as the first seven EKU batters reached base safely.
Center fielder Ron Franklin doubled to drive in the Colonels’ first two runs, who each reached safely to start the inning. The next two batters reached against APSU Govs’ reliever Zach Wyatt to load the bases before left fielder Kendal Ewell walked to push home the third run. Shortstop Logan Thomason then tied the game, 5-5, with his two-run single.
Austin Peay State University would get an out on a sharp lineout to second baseman Jonah Beamon. But Eastern Kentucky got back-to-back walks – Sebastian Greico earning a walk to drive in the go-ahead run. Third baseman Conner Davis tacked on an insurance run with his sacrifice fly before the Govs could end the inning.
Eastern Kentucky closer Will Brian worked a scoreless ninth, with the Colonels defense supplying three impressive infield outs, to record his fifth save. The comeback effort made a winner of reliever Bryce Travis (1-1) – the fifth EKU reliever – who struck out two batters in 1.1 innings of work.
Wyatt (1-1) – the Govs’ third reliever – suffered the loss after allowing three runs while recording the three ninth-inning outs.
Franklin went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI to pace Eastern Kentucky’s offense. Thomason added a 1-for-4, two-RBI effort.
Robinson reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Harrison Brown and Bolton had the Govs two RBI.
Next Up For APSU Baseball
The Austin Peay State University baseball team and Eastern Kentucky are scheduled to continue their three-game series with a Saturday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park. The first pitch is at 1:00pm.
Jacksonville State 7, Austin Peay 5
W: TRAVIS, Bryce (1-1) L: WYATT, Zach (1-1) S: BRIAN, Will (5)