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HomeSportsAustin Peay State University Baseball wins hit fest against Liberty, 18-15

Austin Peay State University Baseball wins hit fest against Liberty, 18-15

APSU BaseballLynchburg, VA – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team trailed by six runs in the first inning, led by five runs after the fifth inning, and entered the ninth inning tied 15-15.

But first baseman Harrison Brown broke that tie with a two-out, two-run single as Austin Peay State University’s baseball team defeated Liberty, 18-15, in ASUN Conference action Saturday on Worthington Field at Liberty Baseball Stadium. 

Austin Peay (10-13, 3-2 ASUN) led by six runs late but saw its 15-9 lead erased in the eighth inning as Liberty (10-12, 2-3 ASUN) rallied for six runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, capped by a grand slam by second baseman Nathan Keeter.

But in the ninth, Austin Peay State University pieced together some two-out magic of its own. Right fielder Nathan Barksdale started the inning with a four-pitch walk but the next two Governors batters were retired. Liberty intentionally walked center fielder Garrett Martin, bringing second baseman Jon Jon Gazdar – a.k.a the ASUN’s toughest batter to strikeout – to the plate. Gazdar would need just five pitches to earn a walk, loading the bases.

Up stepped Harrison Brown, who promptly watched the count run to 3-1. His patience rewarded, he laced the 3-1 offering past the Flames first baseman, and two Governors scored for a 17-15 lead. Shortstop Jaden Brown followed up by taking the first pitch he saw through the same spot on the field for a run-scoring single and an 18-15 lead.

That was enough for APSU Govs closer Davin Pollard (1-0), who struck out the first two batters he saw in the inning before inducing a ground out to seal the victory. He retired all four batters he faced for his season’s first victory.

Harrison Brown was 2-for-6 with two RBI, including the game-winning single. Martin was 3-for-5 with a double, home run, and five RBI. Jaden Brown, Gazdar, and designated hitter Lyle Miller-Green also had home runs as the APSU Govs set season highs for runs scored and base hits (17).

Keeter hit two home runs in his 2-for-5, seven RBI effort to lead Liberty. Reliever Jeremy Beamon (0-1) pitched the ninth inning, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks.

Austin Peay State University got a promising start, scoring two runs in the first inning. Miller-Green hit a solo home run to right center to open the day’s scoring. Martin followed with a double to right field, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on Gazdar’s sacrifice fly.

Liberty quickly erased that lead in an inning eerily similar to its second inning of Game 1. The Flames took advantage of four walks and an Austin Peay State University error to strike for eight runs while sending 12 men to the plate. Keeter delivered the final blow in the inning with a three-run home run into the Liberty bullpen for an 8-2 lead.

The Governors’ adversity started in the second inning when reliever Jackie Robinson departed early due to an apparent injury. Reliever Peyton Jula closed out a scoreless second inning and returned to start the third.

However, his first pitch of the third inning sailed over the Liberty batter’s head. Jula was ejected, along with head coach Roland Fanning, and followed by catcher Trevor Conley. Reliever Tyler Hampu followed and completed the third without allowing a run.

Austin Peay State University’s demeanor changed after the ejections, which showed at the plate in the fourth inning. Catcher Gus Freeman opened the inning with a single, Barksdale walked, and Gray singled to load the bases. Miller-Green then slapped a single through the infield for a run. Martin followed with a two-run single, tying the game 8-8.
But the APSU Govs kept going as, two batters later, Jaden Brown hammered a three-run home run to left-center field for an 11-8 lead. Austin Peay State University extended its lead with a three-run fifth inning highlighted by Gazdar’s 409-foot home run to straight-away centerfield for a 14-9 advantage. The APSU Govs tacked on what appeared to be an insurance run in the eighth courtesy of a wild pitch, setting the scene for the frantic final innings.

Governor of the Game

Harrison Brown’s patience paid off in the ninth inning, and he supplied his fourth game-winning hit of 2023. He went 2-for-6 with two RBI, adding a third-inning single to his tally.

Number of Note

18 – The 18-run outburst was the Govs best of 2023. It also was their most runs scored in a game since Game 3 of the 2022 season. The Govs defeated Boston College 18-17 on Feb. 20 in a game won on Knaje Guthrie’s walk-off walk.

Other Notables

Austin Peay State University overcame a six-run deficit, matching its largest comeback win this season. The APSU Govs trailed by six runs against Southern Illinois in the season’s fourth game before winning 14-13.

The top of the APSU order – Gray, Miller-Green, Martin, and Gazdar – combined for 11 hits and 11 RBI in the win.

Austin Peay State University hit four home runs in a game for the second time this season, equaling their tally set on February 19th against Illinois State.

Right fielder Nathan Barksdale did not record a hit Saturday but reached base four times – three walks and reached on an error – and scored all four times. He also nabbed his first stolen base of 2023.

Gray, Martin, and Gazdar each had three-hit days. It was Gray’s second three-hit outing and the third of the season for Martin and Gazdar.

Martin became the second Governors hitter with a five-RBI game in 2023, joining Miller-Green, who had five RBI on February 19th against Illinois State.

Brown’s four RBI outing was his first this season and his team-leading eighth multi-RBI effort this season.

Next Up For APSU Baseball

The Austin Peay State University baseball team leveled the three-game series, 1-1, with Saturday’s victory. The Governors and Flames close the weekend on Sunday at noon CT with the series victory up for grabs.


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