MURFREESBORO - Austin Peay State University's baseball team utilized a big fourth inning en route to a 5-2 victory against Middle Tennessee, Tuesday night, at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
Austin Peay (3-1) had opportunities in each of the first three innings - the leadoff hitter getting on base each frame. However, Middle Tennessee (2-2) worked out of the resulting jam each time - courtesy a double play in the first, back-to-back strikeouts in the second and a pickoff in the third.
The Govs broke through in the fourth as the first six batters reached base. Center fielder Cody Hudson got Austin Peay on the board with an RBI double into right field. The Govs second run came when first baseman Craig Massoni scampered home on a passed ball. Catcher P.J. Torres followed with an RBI single and third baseman Kevin Corey later added an RBI ground out to put Austin Peay up for good, 4-2.
Middle Tennessee threatened in the first inning with a runner on third with one out. However, Corey snagged a hard ground ball and threw home to cut down the run. The Blue Raiders grabbed the early lead courtesy catcher Michael Adkins' second-inning two-run home run.
Austin Peay starter Zach Hall worked out of a jam in the third with a runner on third and no outs, but he induced a pop out and got a double play to end the threat. Hall would have little trouble the game's remainder, retiring five of six after the third inning en route to the win in his Govs debut.
Hall would depart and leave two runners on base for reliever Kacy Kemmer in the sixth inning. Kemmer got out of the inning with a fielder's choice, a foul out to the catcher and a ground out. He would put two runners on in the seventh but escaped without allowing a run before retiring the side in order in the eighth.
Kemmer faced one batter in the ninth before turning the ball over to closer Tyler Rogers, who promptly struck out the first two batters he faced. He had what appeared to be the third out, but shortstop Reed Harper's throw pulled Massoni off the bag. Rogers was unfazed and induced a game-ending ground out for his season's second save.
Hudson led Austin Peay with a 2-for-4, RBI outing. Second baseman Jordan Hankins also was 2-for-4 with a ninth-inning RBI single that pushed the lead to 5-2. Right fielder Rolando Gautier had the Govs other two-hit outing.
Middle Tennessee starter Garrett Ring (0-1) allowed three runs on five hits over three-plus innings. Adkins would lead the Blue Raiders with a 2-for-4, two RBI outing.
Austin Peay begins an eight-game home stand when it hosts Illinois State in a three-game series, beginning with a 3 p.m., Friday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.