CLARKSVILLE - Austin Peay jumped out to a quick lead and then had to hang on to post an 8-7 victory against Eastern Illinois in Ohio Valley Conference action, Sunday, at Raymond. C. Hand Park. The Govs won the three-game OVC series, 2-1.
Austin Peay (12-13, 3-2 OVC) led 5-0 after three innings all courtesy designated hitter Tyler Childress. He drove home the Govs two first-inning runs on a two-out single to center field. Two innings later, he came to the plate after an Eastern Illinois error extended the inning and belted a three-run home run to left center, giving APSU its five-run advantage.
After Eastern Illinois (7-18, 3-3) left the bases loaded in the second, but did not let opportunity pass it by in the fourth. The Panthers struck for three runs in the fourth, but again left the bases loaded as reliever Chuck Edlin steadied himself after allowing two inherited runners to score by retiring three straight hitters.
The Govs added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The Panthers ultimately provided the Govs the game-winning run when their left fielder misplayed a fly ball by right fielder Rolando Gautier, allowing a run to score and giving APSU an 8-3 lead.
The Panthers did not go quietly, scoring runs in the seventh and eighth innings to narrow the deficit to 8-5. But Eastern Illinois threatened to take the lead in the ninth as the Govs suddenly had defensive troubles. First Gautier misplayed a fly ball to allow first baseman T.J. McManus to reach second base with one out. After designated hitter Jake Samuels brought him home with a double, APSU reliever Ryne Harper got the inning's second out. But he was unable to rest easy as EIU center fielder Matt Kucharski singled in Samuels, cutting the Govs lead to one run.
Harper had the game-ending out wrapped up when EIU second baseman Brad Schweigert hit a ground ball to shortstop Reed Harper. However, Harper was unable to secure the ball and allowed Schweigert to reach base. Ryne Harper settled in and got the third out on his third try, inducing center fielder Zach Borenstein into a pop out.
Edlin (1-0) picked up his season's first victory after throwing 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out two. APSU starter Zach Toney left with no decision after allowing three runs over 3.1 innings.
Childress led the Govs 11-hit offensive effort with a 3-for-4, 5 RBI outing. Center fielder Michael Blanchard finished 3-for-4with a RBI - his second straight three-hit outing.
EIU starter Christian Slazinik (1-5) allowed six runs on six hits over 3.1 innings and was tagged for the loss.
McManus had three hits to lead Eastern Illinois which lost despite posting 12 hits and outhitting Austin Peay.
Austin Peay closes out its five-game home stand with a 6 p.m., Tuesday contest against Evansville.