CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team scored the game’s first five runs and held on to secure a 6-5 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Morehead State, Saturday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (34-13, 15-7 OVC) got off to an auspicious start as right fielder Rolando Gautier led off the bottom of the first with a home run. However, the Govs were not able to capitalize on a pair of one out walks and settled for a 1-0 lead.
The Govs expanded their lead in the second with a four-run rally with two out. Center fielder Dylan Riner started the rally with a bunt single. Following a Gautier walk, second baseman Kevin Corey drove in a run with a single. Third baseman Jordan Hankins extended the rally with an infield single to load the bases.
First baseman Craig Massoni took advantage of the opportunity, singling up the middle and driving in a pair of runs, pushing the APSU lead to 4-0. Morehead State starter Noah Smallwood helped the Austin Peay cause with a wild pitch that allowed Hankins to score from third and the Govs lead 5-0 after two innings.
Austin Peay starter Zach Hall held Morehead State in check through four innings. He retired the first eight batters he faced before surrendering back-to-back two-out singles in the third. Hall would get out of that jam and retire the next four batters before hitting the first batter he faced in the fifth.
Morehead State (15-33, 9-14 OVC) would build off that miscue, putting another man aboard with a one out single. First baseman Kane Sweeney stepped to the plate and railed a two-run double just past a diving Cody Hudson in left field, cutting the APSU lead to 5-2.
The Govs would scratch out what proved to be a pivotal insurance run in the fifth. Hudson began the inning with a bunt single. He stole second and third base before scoring on catcher P.J. Torres squeeze bunt, a play Torres beat out at first base for a single.
Morehead State again turned to the home run to make things uncomfortable for Austin Peay. Hall would be made to pay for his own throwing error in the sixth when third baseman Alan Mocahbee hit a home run to left field, cutting the APSU lead to two runs. Sweeney would narrow the deficit to one run, 6-5, with a two-out solo home run in the seventh.
Hall would settle back in and retired the next three batters he faced before turning the ball over to closer Tyler Rogers. The Govs all-time saves leader cleaned up, retiring four of the five batters he faced to pick up his season’s 18th save.
Hall (5-2) picked up the win after allowing five runs on six hits over 7.2 innings. He did not allow a walk in the contest and struck out five Eagles batters.
Corey led the Govs 13-hit attack with a 3-for-4, one RBI effort. Hankins, Massoni and Riner each had two hits.
Smallwood (1-5) suffered the loss after allowing six runs on 11 hits over six innings. Sweeney led Morehead State’s offense with a 3-for-4, three RBI outing and has seven hits in the series’ first two games.
Austin Peay and Morehead State will close their three-game OVC series with a rescheduled noon, Sunday contest.