EUGENE, Ore. - A trio of pitchers combined for Austin Peay State University's sixth shutout this season in a 1-0 victory against Indiana State, Saturday in the NCAA Baseball Championship's Eugene Regional at PK Park.
With the win, Austin Peay (39-23) advances in the loser's bracket to face Cal State Fullerton, which fell to host Oregon 7-5 in Saturday's second game, at noon (PT), Sunday. It was the Govs third NCAA Championship win and the second consecutive year they have won at least one game in the tournament.
The Govs could not solve Indiana State starter Sean Manaea in the first three innings. Michael Blanchard's leadoff walk in the first was their only baserunner through six batters. At his best, Manaea struck out four consecutive Austin Peay batters before allowing a walk to Tyler Childress who he promptly picked off.
Austin Peay solved the Sycamores left hander briefly in the fourth, but that would prove to be enough. Jon Clinard led off the inning with a walk and Jordan Hankins followed with a bloop single. One out later, Reed Harper walked to load the bases. Rolando Gautier brought home the game's lone run with a single to shallow left field.
The Govs still had bases loaded with one out, but could not capitalize further. Cody Hudson struck out looking for the inning's second out. Moments later Gautier would be caught straying from first base to end the inning.
Govs starter Andy Cox (6-1) battled through some early game trouble, including leaving the bases loaded in the third inning. However, once handed the 1-0 lead he really settled in retiring 12 of the 13 batters he faced. However, he would need more than one stellar defensive play to secure the win, including Michael Blanchard's home-run robbing catch on Ryan Walterhouse in the fourth.
The win was Cox' fourth-straight when starting as he allowed only three runs and three walks over seven scoreless innings.
Austin Peay turned to its bullpen in the eighth with Ryan Quick making his first appearance since the regular season's end. He would retire four of the five batters, including a strike out to start the ninth, before making way for closer Tyler Rogers. Rogers would allow a base hit to the first batter he faced but then induced a game-ending double play for his season's 12th save.
The shutout was the Govs third of the postseason. Their six shutouts this season is one shy of the program record of seven shutouts set in 2005.
The Govs offense mustered just seven hits, but took advantage of five walks. Hankins and Bachman each had 2-for-4 outings to pace the offense.
Manaea (5-3) suffered the loss despite allowing only one run on seven hits and five walks. He would strike out nine Govs batters over his 7.1 innings pitched. Landon Currey finished the game 3-for-4 and had the Sycamores first three hits in a five-hit outing.