Deland, FL – On a night defined by pitching and defense, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team dropped a walk-off 3-2 decision to Eastern Kentucky, Wednesday night, in its debut appearance at the ASUN Baseball Championship on Melching Field.
With the loss, Austin Peay State University (25-31) enters must-win territory in its final two games and needs help in the pool’s only remaining game. With two APSU wins and a Jacksonville State victory against Eastern Kentucky Thursday night, the APSU Govs would advance out of the pool.
Austin Peay State University entered the sixth inning trailing 2-0 with only one hit against Eastern Kentucky starting pitcher Michael Schuler. Left fielder Clayton Gray singled and stole second base. Third baseman Ambren Voitik followed with a one-out single, moving Gray to third.
Shortstop Jon Jon Gazdar made the leadoff base hit payoff with a single to left field, driving in Gray with Voitik advancing to third on a misplay by the EKU outfielder. That misplay proved key as right fielder John Bay hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field, scoring Voitik and tying the game.
Neither team would score again until the ninth inning when Eastern Kentucky (29-29) broke through to win the game. Designated hitter Max Williams singled with one out, and shortstop Logan Thomason and first baseman Miguel Larreal walked with two outs. Govs’ reliever Peyton Jula would battle to a full count against catcher Will King, but the EKU hitter took the 3-2 offering down the left field line to drive in the winning run.
Eastern Kentucky built a 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and fourth inning, but the Govs defense prevented the fourth inning from becoming a bigger frame. The Colonels loaded the bases with no outs and scored a run when right fielder Roderick Criss earned a walk to push in a run.
APSU Govs starter Jacob Kush would get a strikeout from the next batter before Williams hit a fly ball into foul territory in right field. Bay and second baseman Jaden Brown converged, with Bay making the catch and taking contact from Brown. Bay regained his feet and fired a strike to catcher Trevor Conley whose swipe tag got left fielder DJ Sullivan before he could score, ending the inning.
Bay, who also made a catch at the right field wall to end the second inning, went 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk, sac fly, and an RBI. Third baseman Ambren Voitik, who made a leaping catch on a line drive to open the eighth, was 2-for-4 with a double – the game’s only extra-base hit – and a run scored. Shortstop Jon Jon Gazdar was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Kush escaped his fourth-inning jam and retired eight of the final nine batters he faced to secure his fourth quality start of the season. He went 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out six batters. Jula (5-5) allowed the walk-off run in his 1.2-inning outing that saw him allow three hits and walk four.
King went 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead EKU’s seven-hit offensive outing. Eastern Kentucky starting pitcher Michael Schuler went 8.0 innings and allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out 10 batters. Reliever Joe Clancy (5-2) picked up the win with his scoreless ninth inning.
Next Up For APSU Baseball
The Austin Peay State University baseball team continues to play in the ASUN Baseball Championship with a Thursday 1:30pm CT contest against host Stetson, which is 1-1 in the tournament after losing to Jacksonville State earlier Wednesday.