BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Junior Michael Davis’ eighth-inning three-run home run gave No. 2 seed Austin Peay State University's baseball team a 4-3 victory against No. 3 seed Florida in first-round action of the NCAA Baseball Championship’s Bloomington Regional at Bart Kaufman Field.
Austin Peay (46-13) extended the nation’s longest win streak to 16 games. More importantly advanced in the winner’s bracket and will face either host Indiana or No. 4 seed Valparaiso in a 6 p.m. (ET) contest. That contest will be available on ESPN3.
Leading 3-1 in the middle of the seventh, Florida (29-29) brought in reliever Ryan Harris. The Govs greeted the new pitcher with back-to-back singles by first baseman Craig Massoni and shortstop Reed Harper. Left fielder Cody Hudson hit into a fielder’s choice, leaving APSU with runners on first and third with one out. Then with Davis at the plate, Hudson stole second base to remove the threat of the double play.
That piece of insurance would prove unnecessary. Davis worked the count to 2-1 before Harris left a pitch over the middle of the plate. Davis hit a high fly ball towards the scoreboard in left field where it caught a ride on the wind and found its way out of the park for three runs and a 4-3 lead.
Austin Peay handed the ball to closer Tyler Rogers in the ninth. He would hit right fielder Justin Shafer to start the inning but promptly induced a double play ball from first baseman Vickash Ramjit. Third baseman Josh Tobias followed with a ground out to second base to end the game.
The Govs broke up a scoreless affair in the bottom of the fourth. Third baseman Jordan Hankins led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a ground out. After shortstop Reed Harper walked, Hudson hit a ground ball to shortstop, allowing Hankins to score.
Austin Peay’s 1-0 lead would hold up until the sixth inning. Govs starter Zach Hall surrendered back-to-back one-out walks and was lifted for reliever Lee Ridenhour. He would build a 1-2 count against Shafer when the Florida right fielder would get a piece of a pitch low in the zone and blast it out of the park in left for a go-ahead three-run home run.
Junior Kacy Kemmer (6-0) would come on in relief of Ridenhour and tossed two scoreless innings to pick up the win in the come-from-behind affair. Rogers recorded his 22nd save in his 24th opportunity. Hall went 5.1 innings in the start and was tagged for two runs on three hits.
Hankins, Massoni and catcher P.J. Torres each went 2-for-4 to lead the Govs eight-hit attack.
Harris (5-4) suffered the loss after allowing the three run home run in his only inning of work. Florida starter Jonathon Crawford went without a decision despite holding Austin Peay to one run on four hits over his 6.1 innings.