CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team won a program-record 12th consecutive game and secured a second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference race with a dominant 16-5 victory against SIU Edwardsville, Saturday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (42-13, 22-7 OVC) won its last 11 conference contests to move past both Jacksonville State and Belmont in the final weekend. The Govs will receive a first-round bye in next week’s Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship in Jackson. Austin Peay will begin tournament play with a 3 p.m., Thursday contest against an opponent to be determined.
Once again, Austin Peay jumped out quickly against SIU Edwardsville (16-35, 10-20 OVC), scoring in each of the first five innings. The Govs scored the game’s first three runs, led 6-1 after three innings and 9-4 after five innings. After a scoreless sixth, Austin Peay tacked on seven additional runs in its final two innings to secure the win.
The Govs offense posted 19 hits for its 12th consecutive double-digit hit tally. Eight of the Govs starting nine posted a hit, seven finishing with a multi-hit outing.
Left fielder Cody Hudson led the Govs with a 3-for-5, four RBI effort that included a three-run home run in the seventh inning. Center fielder Dylan Riner went 2-for-5 with three RBI, including a run-scoring double in the fifth.
First baseman Craig Massoni had a three-run home run in the eighth inning as part for a 2-for-4, three RBI effort. He finished the regular-season as the OVC’s batting leader with a .389 batting average.
Shortstop Reed Harper continued his late season charge with a 3-for-6 outing that left him two hits shy of breaking APSU’s career hits mark. His 275 career hits behind only Greg Bachman’s 276-hit total set last season.
Reliever Kevin Corey (2-1) picked up the win after entering the fourth inning with the bases loaded and allowing only two runs to score – narrowing the Govs lead to 6-4. He would toss 2.1 scoreless innings of his own while striking out four. Starter Ryan Quick allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits through 3.2 innings.
SIUE starter Sam Hopkins (1-7) suffered the loss after allowing six runs on five hits and three walks in the opening two-plus innings. Designated hitter Matt Highland led the Cougars offense with a 4-for-5, four RBI outing that included a pair of RBI doubles and a two-run single.