EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Austin Peay State University's baseball team scored eight unanswered runs and posted a 9-5 victory in the opening game of its Ohio Valley Conference series against SIU Edwardsville, Friday night at Simmons Baseball Complex.
Austin Peay (27-17, 13-5 OVC) broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run fourth inning. The Govs loaded the bases as catcher P.J. Torres doubled and first baseman Tyler Childress and right fielder Rolando Gautier each walked. Center fielder Michael Blanchard cleared the bases with a triple that found the wall in right center field. Blanchard would score on designated hitter Jon Clinard's sacrifice fly, giving APSU a 5-1 lead.
The Govs tacked on two runs in the fifth and solo runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to extend its lead to 9-1. Third baseman Greg Bachman's two-run home run - his 10th this season - accounted for the sixth inning's tally. Second baseman Jordan Hankins had a sixth-inning solo home run and added a RBI single in the seventh.
Austin Peay starter Zach Toney (4-2) took advantage of the run support to notch his second consecutive win. He surrendered a first-inning run then did not allow another run until giving up back-to-back doubles to start the sixth. Toney finished the night allowing three runs on eight hits over six-plus innings.
SIU Edwardsville (23-23, 9-10 OVC) cut the lead to 8-3 with the back-to-back doubles off Toney in the seventh then added two more runs in the ninth to set the game's final margin.
The Cougars out-hit the Govs, 13-12, but Austin Peay's offense took advantage of the eight walks it was handed by SIUE pitching.
Hankins led the Govs with a 3-for-5, two RBI outing. Blanchard finished the night 2-for-6 with a team-best three RBI while Harper and Bachman each added two hits.
SIUE starter Drew Staples (1-2) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits and four walks over 4.2 innings. Left fielder Travis Becherer led the Cougars with a 4-for-5, RBI performance. First baseman Joel Greatting was 1-for-5 with two RBI.
Austin Peay and SIU Edwardsville will continue their three game OVC series with a 1 p.m., Saturday contest.
NOTES: Blanchard's fourth-inning triple was the 12th of his career, moving him past Greg Tubbs (1981-84) for the Govs all-time triples mark... Bachman's two hits gave him 240 career hits, one shy of the fourth spot on the Govs all-time hits list held by Lance Wampler (241 hits, 1997-00)... Austin Peay saw its OVC lead return to 1½ games as Jacksonville State dropped a 5-3 decision to Southeast Missouri and Eastern Kentucky fell to UT Martin, 11-7, Friday.