Evansville, IN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team closed its five-game Evansville swing by splitting a doubleheader against Purdue Fort Wayne Saturday at German American Bank Field.
PFW won the opener 5-3 in eight innings before APSU rallied to claim the nightcap by a 4-2 score.
Purdue Fort Wayne (3-14) nabbed its first lead of the four-game series in Saturday’s first game when first baseman Braedon Blackford hit a two-run home run for a 2-1 advantage.
Austin Peay (6-10) tied the game in the fourth inning when first baseman Michael Robinson hit a two-out solo home run to left center field. The APSU Govs took the lead, 3-2, two innings later on another solo home run, provided by right fielder Garrett Martin – his seventh of 2023.
The Mastodons tied the game in the seventh inning. After Blackford intentionally walked to put runners on the corners, left fielder Ben Higgins hit a single into shallow center field, tying the game 3-3 and forcing extra innings. In the eighth inning, PFW loaded the bases with one out. Catcher Dylan Stewart was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, and center fielder Jacob Walker drove in a run with a ground out and a 5-3 lead.
In its half of the eighth, Austin Peay State University saw Martin walk with one out, bringing the tying run to the plate. But the APSU Govs could not extend the game as PFW reliever Kevin Fee induced back-to-back ground outs to end the game.
Austin Peay State University starting pitcher Lyle Miller-Green went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out seven batters. Reliever Devin Crawford (0-1) allowed two runs in one-third of an inning and took the loss.
Martin went 2-for-3 with his solo home run to lead APSU’s five-hit offensive outing.
Fee (1-0) picked up the win for Purdue Fort Wayne with three scoreless innings of relief. Blackford led the Mastodons with his 1-for-4, two-RBI effort.
Austin Peay State University scored a run in the first inning of the day’s second game but had the opportunity for more. The APSU Govs loaded the bases with no outs.
Shortstop Jon Jon Gazdar led off the inning with a double. Third baseman Ambren Voitik followed with a four-pitch walk, and they both advanced on a passed ball. Martin followed with a ball he pounded into the ground for an infield single, loading the bases.
Gazdar would score on a wild pitch for a 1-0 APSU lead, and Miller-Green followed with a walk to load the bases again. But after a mound visit, PFW starter Brody Fine escaped the inning with a pair of strikeouts and an infield fly.
Purdue Fort Wayne again struck for two runs in the third inning to take the lead, 2-1. And again, Blackford was involved with a two-run single to capitalize on a pair of runners reaching safely to begin the frame.
The APSU Govs regained the lead with three runs in their half of the third inning. Martin opened the frame with a single. Center fielder Clayton Gray followed with a single on a hit-and-run play that allowed Martin to get to third base. Left fielder Harrison Brown tied the game with a sacrifice fly that allowed Martin to score.
Austin Peay State University kept plugging away, with Michael Robinson earning a two-out walk. Gray and Robinson then completed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position.
In the sixth, Purdue Fort Wayne threatened one last time with back-to-back one-out singles. Govs starter Jacob Kush responded by inducing a flyout before striking out the final batter he faced to end the threat.
Kush (1-1) picked up his season’s first win after holding PFW to two runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out seven. Reliever Kyle Magrans notched his first save by striking out a batter as part of a scoreless seventh inning. The duo combined not to walk a Mastodons runner in seven innings.
Gazdar and Martin had two hits in the APSU Govs’ second five-hit outing.
Blackford went 1-for-3 with two RBI to pace the Purdue Fort Wayne offense. Fine (0-3) suffered the loss after allowing four runs on five hits and four walks in 2.2 innings.
Number of Note
Seven: Right fielder Garrett Martin followed his hitless weekend at Oklahoma State with a hit in all five games played in Evansville this week. On Saturday, he had back-to-back two-hit games against Purdue Fort Wayne and finished the series 7-for-11 (.636) with two home runs and three RBI.
Governor of the Game
On a day where the APSU Govs’ offense mustered just seven runs on 10 hits, pitching was responsible for keeping both Saturday games close. In the opener, Miller-Green set career highs in innings pitched (7.0) and strikeouts (7). Kush followed with a career-best six innings in the day’s second game, also striking out a season-high seven batters.
Austin Peay State University’s starting pitchers combined for 21 innings pitched (out of 31 pitched) during the four-game series. They posted a 3.86 ERA (9 ER) and struck out 22 batters.
Miller-Green and Kush each pitched a quality start Saturday, the APSU Govs’ first quality starts of 2023.
Austin Peay State University closed its week in Evansville with a 4-1 record.
The Governors won their third-straight four-game series.
Martin’s five-game hit streak is the APSU Govs’ longest active hit streak.
Center fielder Clayton Gray extended his hit-safely streak to seven games.
Next Up For APSU Baseball
The Austin Peay State University men’s baseball team’s road trip will hit the 13-game mark when it meets Western Kentucky on Tuesday for a 3:00pm game at Nick Denes Field in Bowling Green, Kentucky.