MEMPHIS – Defending a national ranking for the first time in program history, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team used seven unanswered runs to secure a 9-2 non-conference win against Memphis, Tuesday night at FedEx Park.
No. 30 Austin Peay (39-13) broke the game open in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring five runs to break open a tie game. Third baseman Jordan Hankins had a huge hand in the breakout, belting a two-run home run in the fifth inning that provided the game-winning runs. One inning later he added a RBI single, putting the Govs ahead 7-2 and they would not look back.
The Govs opened the game’s scoring with a pair of runs in the third inning. Austin Peay scored the first run thanks to a Memphis error and added a second on shortstop Reed Harper’s single.
Memphis (32-21) had a chance to put up a big number in its half of the second. The Tigers opened the frame with three consecutive singles, shortstop Ethan Gross’ single pushing across the first run. Austin Peay starter Jared Carkuff hit first baseman Tucker Tubbs to load the bases with one out and end his outing.
Reliever Kevin Corey would surrender the game-tying run on a balk but then wriggled out of the jam. Right fielder Bryce Beeler singled to shortstop Reed Harper who promptly threw home. While Harper’s throw was high, the runner at third stopped before reaching home and was retired in a rundown. Another infield single loaded the bases again, but a line drive to right field ended the threat.
Corey (1-1) would pick up the win, following those two outs with two more scoreless innings. The Govs bullpen amassed 6.2 scoreless innings and allowed four hits. Carkhuff, making his first start in a month, allowed two runs on six hits over the opening 2.1 innings but did not factor into the decision.
The Govs offense posted double-digit hits for the ninth consecutive game, finishing with 13 hits against a Memphis pitching staff that allowed only 7.7 hits per nine innings entering the contest.
Hankins led the offensive effort with a 2-for-5, three RBI outing. Second baseman Brett Carlson added his first career three-hit outing while Harper and center fielder Dylan Riner each chipped in two hits.
Memphis starter Michael Wills (4-4) suffered the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings. Second baseman Zach Willis led Memphis’ offense with a 3-for-4 outing.
Austin Peay wraps up the regular-season slate with a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series against SIU Edwardsville, beginning with a 6 p.m., Thursday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.