BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – It was a tough day on the mound for Austin Peay State University as it suffered a 15-6 loss to host Indiana, Saturday, in winner’s bracket action of the NCAA Baseball Championship’s Bloomington Regional at Bart Kaufman Field.
Austin Peay (46-14) moves into the loser’s bracket and will face No. 4 seed Valparaiso in a noon (CT), Sunday contest. The winner of that affair will earn the right to face Indiana in the 6 p.m. (CT) regional final – Indiana needing one win to clinch the title and its challenger needing two wins to claim the region crown.
The Govs used six pitchers in the contest and each had trouble find the strike zone – combining to issue a season-high 12 Indiana hitters. The Hoosiers took advantage of the free passes for seven of its 15 runs.
Austin Peay, playing as the home team, got off to a flying start with a three-run first inning courtesy shortstop Reed Harper’s blast into the left field bullpen. The Govs nearly extended its lead with another home run but catcher P.J. Torres long fly ball was caught right at the wall.
Indiana (45-14) quickly responded by sending 10 men to the plate and scoring five times in the second inning. Catcher Kyle Schwarber tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run, two-out single. First baseman Travis Bell gave Indiana a 5-3 lead with a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left center.
The Govs cut that deficit in half with third baseman Jordan Hankins’ RBI single in the second. However, that would be the last hit allowed by Indiana starter Joey Denato.
Denato (9-2) settled in after allowing that run and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced in his six-inning outing – allowing only a pair of walks and a batter reaching on an error. He would pick up the win after holding APSU to four runs on six hits while striking out nine.
Meanwhile, the Indiana offense continued to pile up walks and hits that took advantage of those free passes. The Hoosiers tacked on two runs in the fourth and four more in both the fifth and sixth innings to break the game open.
Austin Peay would strike for two runs in the seventh inning off the Indiana bullpen, but could not muster a late charge.
Delgado (9-3) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on five hits in 1.2 innings – his shortest start this season. The Govs used four relievers before turning the game over to Alex Belew who threw 3.1 scoreless innings, striking out three, to close out the contest.
Center fielder Dylan Riner and Hankins each went 3-for-4 to lead Austin Peay, which posted 11 hits. However, the Govs recorded a season-high 13 strikeouts with six of the nine starters registering a strikeout.
Designated hitter Scott Donley and shortstop Michael Basil each had two hits and four RBI to lead Indiana which posted 14 hits.