CLARKSVILLE - Third baseman Greg Bachman had six RBI in the first four innings and Austin Peay State University's baseball team posted a 9-6 victory against Illinois State in opening day action, Friday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Bachman was responsible for six of Austin Peay's (1-0) first seven runs in the contest. He opened the scoring with a three-run first-inning home run off the scoreboard in left. One inning later, he added a two-run single up the middle, giving the Govs a 6-1 lead. However it was his run-scoring double in the fourth that provided the eventual game-winning run and was his final hit of a 3-for-5 opening-day effort.
Outfielder Cody Hudson added some insurance in the fifth with his line drive home run just over the wall in right center that gave the Govs a 9-5 lead.
On the mound, Austin Peay starter Casey Delgado got off to auspicious start, retiring Illinois State in order in the first. He found trouble in the second with back-to-back one out walks but allowed only one run on outfielder Brock Stewart's sacrifice fly.
Illinois State (0-1) put Delgado to the test in the third, again nursing back-to-back one out walks from the right-hander. Unlike the second inning, the walks led into the heart of the Redbirds order which did not allow Delgado to escape without paying a price. Catcher Matt Mirabal hit a run-scoring double, third baseman Zac Johnson guided a two-run single through the right side and designated hitter Matt Hollenbeck laced a run-scoring double to left center in a four-run outburst that trimmed the Govs lead to 6-5.
Delgado stemmed the Redbirds rush with consecutive flyouts to end the third then retired the side in order in the fourth. He ran his streak of consecutive outs to six before surrendering a one-out single to Mirabal in the fifth. Delgado retired the final two batters he faced to end the fifth.
Austin Peay's bullpen took over from there and kept things interesting. Brock Boyher was the first man out of the pen and worked around a leadoff single in the sixth. He found more trouble in the seventh, ultimately loading the bases with two outs before departing.
Mike Hebert entered the game and hit the first batter he faced before ending the frame with a flyout. Hebert again found himself in trouble in the eight, putting the first two batters on base. He struck out second baseman Kevin Tokarski, the Redbirds leadoff hitter. But pinch hitter Eric Aguilera put a scare into the home crowd with his hard-driven fly ball to centerfield. Govs centerfielder Michael Blanchard outran the ball to the wall, made the catch and then began a relay to complete an inning-ending double play.
Not even Austin Peay closer Tyler Rogers would escape without some drama as two batters reached base with two outs before he induced a chopper back to the mound where he ended the game with a throw to first.
Delgado (1-0) picked up the win after allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks over five innings. Rogers picked up his season's first save.
Shortstop Reed Harper opened the season with a 4-for-5 outing, including a run-scoring single in the second, to extend his hit streak to six games. Bachman extended his hit streak to five games with his three-hit outing. Four other Govs recorded a hit, including Hudson who was 1-for-2 with his home run.
Illinois State starter Chris Razo (0-1) was tagged for the loss after allowing nine runs on 10 hits and four walks over four-plus innings. Mirabal led the Redbirds eight-hit offensive effort with a 3-for-5 showing.
Due to inclement weather forecast in the Clarksville area, the start of tomorrow's scheduled doubleheader has been changed. Austin Peay and Illinois State will begin the doubleheader at 11 a.m., Saturday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.