MOREHEAD, Ky. - First baseman John Hogan and designated hitter Haskell Fink each provided game-winning hits as Austin Peay State University's baseball team swept both ends of an Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader, 7-3 and 12-10, from Morehead State, Saturday at Allen Field.
Austin Peay (21-19, 9-4 OVC) saw its 2-0 lead in the opener evaporate as Morehead State tagged Govs starter Jeremy Dobbs for three runs in the fourth to take a 3-2 advantage.
However, the Govs responded with a five-run fifth inning sparked by Hogan's two-run home run that provided the game-winning run. Shortstop Reed Harper would add a RBI triple and center fielder Rolando Gautier chipped in an RBI single to push the lead to 7-3 where it would stand.
Dobbs (8-2) worked in and out of trouble throughout the contest - only getting tagged in the three-run fourth inning. Morehead State threatened to score more runs in the third through sixth innings, but saw 10 runners left of base.
Dobbs notched his OVC-leading eighth win after allowing three runs over seven innings, with seven hits and six walks while striking out six. Mike Hebert tossed a scoreless 1.2 innings before making way for closer Ryne Harper who got the game's final out for his season's fifth save.
Morehead State starter Trey Smith (0-9) was tagged for seven runs on 12 hits over 4.2 innings. Reliever Josh Schneider tossed the final 4.1 innings without allowing a run.
The nightcap was a see-saw affair as Morehead State (7-32, 3-9) scored the game's first nine runs. However, the Govs scored the game final nine runs, capped by designated hitter Haskell Fink's game-winning two-run home run in the ninth.
Austin Peay had few answers in the first three innings as its pitching was ineffective, the offense was stagnant and the defense surrendered three uncharacteristic errors.
The Eagles tagged Govs starter Jack Snodgrass for nine runs (four earned) on nine hits and three walks before chasing him after just 2.2 innings. Offensively, Governors batters struck out five times in the first three innings. A promising leadoff double by Reed Harper in the second went for naught as the next three APSU hitters went down looking on strikes.
But the Govs showed signs of waking up in the fourth, scoring three runs to end the early Morehead State run. After a Morehead State error allowed a run to score, second baseman Jon Clinard delivered two runs on his single up the middle, slashing the lead to 9-3.
The Eagles added a run in the fourth and after a scoreless fifth, Austin Peay trailed 10-3. But the Govs sent 12 men to the plate in a six-run sixth inning to make things interesting late. Clinard began the scoring with a bases-loaded two-run double. Another Eagles error gave the Govs a third run in the frame. Hogan chipped in a RBI double while starting designated hitter Matt Wollenzin and right fielder Tyler Childress each batted in runs to cut the deficit to 10-9.
Austin Peay would not need a hit to tie the game in the seventh and force extra innings. Second baseman Jordan Hankins - who entered the game for Clinard - opened the inning with a walk. Center fielder Rolando Gautier reached after the Eagles pitcher fielded his sacrifice attempt and threw it over the head of the second baseman, allowing Hankins to reach safely.
The Govs then successfully sacrificed the runners over, forcing Morehead State to intentionally walk first baseman John Hogan to load the bases. The gamble did not pay off as Fink walked in a pinch-hit role to force the game-tying run across.
Two innings later, Fink would again come up big, blasting a two-run home run to straight-away center field to give the Govs the lead. Closer Ryne Harper (3-2) wrapped up an extended outing by striking out the side in the ninth to pick up the win after throwing 2.1 scoreless innings in the second game.
MSU reliever Cody Gibson (1-6) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on two hits over the final two innings. Starter Garrick Whittle was left with no decision after allowing eight runs (four earned) on seven hits over five innings.
Reed Harper extended his hit streak to 18 games with a 6-for-10 effort in the doubleheader, with three hits in each game. Hogan had four hits and three RBI on the day. Fink, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the opener had a walk and the game-winning home run in the nightcap.
Morehead State designated hitter Eric Bainer was 5-for-7 and reached base in 8 of his 10 plate appearances. First baseman Michael Fear had three hits and four RBI in the doubleheader , including two hits and four RBI in the nightcap.
Austin Peay, which retained a share of first-place with the sweep completes the three-game OVC series against Morehead State with a noon (CDT), Sunday contest.