RICHMOND, Ky. - Shortstop Reed Harper capped a six-run sixth inning with a three-run single and Austin Peay State University's baseball team held on for a 10-9 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Eastern Kentucky, Friday afternoon at Turkey Hughes Field.
Trailing 6-3 after five innings, Austin Peay (23-14, 10-2 OVC) saw two of its first three batters strike out in the sixth. First baseman Tyler Childress started the Govs two out rally with a single. Right fielder Rolando Gautier was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Center fielder Michael Blanchard and designated hitter Jon Clinard followed with RBI singles and second baseman Jordan Hankins tied the game with a walk.
Eastern Kentucky (16-18, 8-5 OVC) attempted to stem the tide by replacing starter Matt Harris with closer Matt Fyffe. However, Harper had other ideas driving the first pitch he saw into center field for a single. The ball then got away from the EKU center fielder and by the time the play ended the Govs had the bases cleared and led 9-6.
The Colonels fought back with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, to move back within one run, 9-8. Govs starter Ryan Quick worked in and out of trouble in both frams, allowing one run to score but stranding a runner at second base in both innings.
Austin Peay got a much-needed insurance run in the eighth as center fielder Michael Blanchard drove the ball just over the wall in right field, giving APSU a 10-8 lead.
That run proved vital as Eastern Kentucky mounted one last valiant charge in the ninth. Designated hitter Alex Hughes led off the inning with a double, ending Quick's night on the mound. Closer Tyler Rogers entered the game and surrendered a walk before notching a strike out.
The Colonels were unfazed by the first out, as center fielder Austin Grisham drove a run across when he beat out an infield single, cutting the Govs lead to one run, 10-9. Rogers added to his woes when he hit left fielder Jacob Daniel to load the bases with one out.
Austin Peay gathered its infield around Rogers following the hit batsmen and the momentary break seemed to do the trick. Rogers needed just one more pitch to end the game, getting third baseman Bryan Soloman to ground into an inning-ending double play that went third base to home plate to first.
Quick (4-1) tied his season's longest outing, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits while striking out four over eight-plus innings. Rogers recorded his season's seventh save allowing a hit, a walk, a hit batsman and struck out one to record the final three outs.
Harper led the Govs offense with a 3-for-5, four RBI performance that included a second-inning home run, a fourth-inning double and the two-RBI single. Blanchard went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. Austin Peay posted 17 hits in the victory.
Harris (4-4) suffered the loss after allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 13 hits over 5.2 innings. Soloman went 1-for-3 with a three-run, third inning home run.
Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky continue their three-game OVC series with a 1 p.m. (CT), Saturday contest.