CLARKSVILLE – Shortstop Reed Harper had five hits, including a RBI single in a pivotal eighth-inning outburst, to lead Austin Peay State University’s baseball team to a 9-3 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Morehead State, Sunday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (35-13, 16-7 OVC) scored the game’s final six runs to secure the victory. Second baseman Jordan Hankins' solo home run in the seventh put the Govs ahead for good. Austin Peay would push the lead to 5-3 later in the inning thanks to a passed ball.
The Govs broke the game open with a four-run, two-out rally in the eighth inning. Hankins drove in a run with a single, first baseman Craig Massoni followed with a RBI double, Harper chipped in a run-scoring single and left fielder Cody Hudson wrapped up the rally with a RBI triple and the Govs were up 9-3.
The late run support gave closer Tyler Rogers his easiest save this season. He recorded the game’s final four outs, working around back-to-back singles in the ninth, to pick up his season’s 19th save.
Morehead State (15-34, 9-15 OVC) took advantage of a rough first inning by Austin Peay starting pitcher Ryan Quick. The Eagles got back-to-back one out base hits before Quick surrendered back-to-back walks, the second pushing in a run. Designated hitter Bobby Burns but the Eagles ahead 2-0 with a sacrifice fly before Quick could shut down the rally.
Quick settled in after the first, allowing one base runner the next two innings. He would face a bases-loaded jam with two out in the fourth, but escaped without allowing a run. The final out of the fourth would begin a stretch of seven consecutive batters retired by Quick as he kept the game within reach.
Austin Peay’s offense got off to a slow start, scoring only one run through the first five innings. Right fielder Rolando Gautier doubled to start the third and eventually scored on when Hankins hit into a fielder’s choice.
The Govs would take its first lead in the sixth. With runners on the corners and one out, catcher Matt Wollenzin drove in the tying run with a RBI single. Center fielder Dylan Riner gave APSU its first lead with a sacrifice fly that was deep enough to allow pinch runner Brett Carlson to score for the 3-2 advantage.
Morehead State would rally to tie the game in the seventh. Quick returned to the mound and would surrender a leadoff walk followed by back-to-back singles, the latter by right fielder Brandon Rawe tying the game. Reliever Kacy Kemmer would enter and get a line drive out before inducing an inning-ending double play.
Kemmer (5-0) picked up the win as the Govs rallied behind his scoreless 1.2 innings of work for the win. Quick was left with no decision despite striking out a career-high tying nine batters. He held the Eagles to three runs on seven hits over six-plus innings.
Harper finished the day 5-for-5 with two doubles and a RBI. Hankins was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Massoni and Hudson each chipped in two hits as the Govs posted 14 hits in the victory.
Morehead State reliever Dan Hyatt (2-2) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on three hits over 1.1 innings. Eagles starter Matt Anderson allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings but did not factor into the decision.
Greenwell led Morehead State with a 4-for-5 outing. The Eagles rapped out 10 hits against the Govs but left 11 men stranded.
Austin Peay will take the upcoming week off for finals. The Govs return to action when they travel to UT Martin for a three-game OVC series, beginning with a 6 p.m., Friday contest.