CLARKSVILLE - Austin Peay State University's baseball team surrendered a late lead but rallied to post a 9-8, 11-inning victory against Northern Illinois, Sunday afternoon at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (5-2) rallied with one out to score the winning run. Catcher Trey Lucas reached on an infield error to begin the rally. First baseman John Hogan singled through the right side and Lucas went from first to third on the play. Left fielder Adam Browett was intentionally walked to load the bases. The Govs then received more help from the Huskies defense as pinch hitter Blake Frazier fouled a ball down the right field line and the NIU right fielder caught the ball. Lucas advanced from third on the sacrifice to score the winning run.
Northern Illinois (0-6) tied the game at 8-8 with a three-run ninth inning. Austin Peay reliever Eric Davis got into trouble after surrendering a walk and hitting a batter with one out. Designated hitter Joe Etcheverry made the free passes pay with a three-run home run down the right-field line.
The Govs applied pressure in its half of the ninth, loading the bases with two out. Lucas began the rally with a one-out double. Hogan reached on a walk and both runners advanced after Browett reached on an outfield error. But Austin Peay could not plate the winning run as the Huskies caught Lucas out at home plate on a fielder's choice and recorded the third out with a strikeout to force extra innings.
Austin Peay led 3-0 after three innings as first baseman Matt Kole posted sacrifice flies in both the first and third innings. Northern Illinois took its only lead of the game in the fifth, scoring four runs before chasing Austin Peay starter Jeremy Dobbs from the mound. The Govs tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the fifth on Kole's RBI double.
Govs right fielder Jared DeLong broke up the tie in the seventh with a two-run home run down the right field line. Austin Peay added what appeared to be two insurance runs in the eighth - one on an NIU error and the second on a bases loaded walk issued to DeLong.
Austin Peay closer Zach Gerler (1-1) picked up the victory after tossing two innings of scoreless relief. Dobbs left after 4.2 innings and allowing four runs on six hits and five walks.
Shortstop Jon Clinard, DeLong and Hogan each had two hits. DeLong and Kole each had three RBI.
Northern Illinois reliever Tom Barry (0-2) was tagged for the loss after allowing one unearned run and striking out three batters over three innings of work. Huskies starter Jeremy Gonzales left after five innings, allowing four runs on four hits and four walks. Etcheverry led the Huskies offense with a 3-for-4, four RBI outing.
Austin Peay returns to action with a 3 p.m., Tuesday contest at Western Kentucky.
- AP -