CLARKSVILLE - Third baseman Greg Bachman laced a single into the left center gap to bring home the game-winning run in Austin Peay's 10-9, 11-inning victory against Arkansas State, Sunday night, in the final game of the Riverview Inn Challenge at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (9-5) began the 11th with back-to-back singles - designated hitter Jon Clinard singling to left field and center fielder Michael Blanchard beating out an infield bunt. Those hits chased Arkansas State reliever Morgan Croft who did not record an out after starting the inning. The Red Wolves turned to Tyler Winfield who threw two pitches to Bachman, the second finding ground in the left center gap to end the game.
Arkansas State (9-7) dominated the first three and a half innings - with 17 baserunners during that stretch - but had only three runs to show for its effort. The Red Wolves plated those three runs in the first as the first four batters reached base against Govs starter Casey Delgado. Arkansas State left fielder Logan Uxa delivered the inning's biggest blow with a two-run home run that ended the game-opening rally.
Delgado would get out of the first, but faced only five batters in the second before leaving with the bases loaded. Head coach Gary McClure then pulled a rabbit out of his hat by turning to closer Tyler Rogers in the long relief situation.
Rogers pitched admirably in his season's longest outing, going 4.1 innings and striking out seven. He surrendered only one run while on the mound - a leadoff home run to Zach George in the sixth.
While Rogers was putting zeros on the scoreboard, the Govs offense finally hit its swing. Austin Peay struck for seven runs in the fourth to catapult into the lead. Outfielder Dylan Riner hit his first collegiate home run - a two-run blast - and Bachman added a two-run home run of his own to punctuate the outburst.
Arkansas State did not give in and slowly worked back into the contest. The Red Wolves outlasted Rogers' appearance and took advantage of the Govs bullpen for four runs in the seventh inning. Uxa again had an important role in the comeback, his two-run double shrinking the lead to one run, 9-8.
Austin Peay finally handed the ball to Mike Hebert (2-0) in the eighth. He battled through adversity early in his outing, surrendering the game-tying run on a RBI single by George, in the ninth. However, he settled in from there and retired eight of the final nine batters he faced after the game-tying hit, including seven of his eight strikeouts, as he picked up the win.
The Govs offense, which had 10 hits in the tournament's first two games, broke out for 13 hits against Arkansas State. Hankins and Clinard each had three hits in the contest. Bachman finished the night 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Croft (0-1), the seventh of eight Red Wolves pitchers, was tagged for the loss. The Red Wolves offense recorded 14 hits in the contest - the most surrendered by the Govs pitching staff in a game this season. Uxa finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBI.
Austin Peay returns to action when it travels to Memphis for a 6:30 p.m., Tuesday contest that is the make-up date for an earlier postponed contest.