JACKSON - The Cardiac Govs struck again as Austin Peay State University's baseball team outlasted Jacksonville State, 7-6, in 11 innings, in an elimination contest of the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship, Friday, at Pringles Park.
Austin Peay (35-22) took advantage of a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch by Jacksonville State's Todd Hornsby, which allowed third baseman Greg Bachman to scamper home with the game-winning run. It capped a contest that saw the Govs tie the game twice, but failing to grab a lead until the final pitch.
Jacksonville State (28-30) jumped out to a 5-2 lead through three innings as it pelted Austin Peay starter Casey Delgado for five runs on six hits in a 2.1-inning span. Right fielder Kyle Bluestein had a two-run double in the first and a solo home run in the third as part of the Gamecocks early-game uprisings.
The Govs went to their bullpen after Bluestein's home run and reliever Andy Cox had an immediate impact, retiring six of the first seven batters he faced. He would allow only one run during his 4.2-inning outing, that coming off a sixth-inning RBI single by second baseman Kyle Stone.
With Cox on the mound, Austin Peay's offense started to climb back into the contest. The Govs scored two runs in the second on consecutive RBI singles by right fielder Rolando Gautier and center fielder Michael Blanchard. Austin Peay got within one run in the fourth as designated hitter Jon Clinard pushed home a run with a groundout and second baseman Jordan Hankins' RBI single.
The Govs tied the game for the first time, 5-5, on Bachman's solo home run that cleared the clubhouse in left field. Southeast Missouri would break the tie with the Stone single in the sixth, putting the Govs down 6-5 after six innings.
Austin Peay tied the game again in the seventh and again Bachman had a hand in the matter. He got on base with a one-out single and the Govs would load the bases on back-to-back walks. Gautier would come through with a patient bases-loaded walk-drawn against Hornsby-that pushed Bachman home.
Closer Tyler Rogers (4-3) picked up the win, capping an impressive outing by the Govs bullpen with four scoreless innings that saw him allow only four base runners.
Bachman led the Govs 13-hit effort with a 4-for-5, one-RBI outing that left him two hits shy of the program's all-time hits record of 263 by current Los Angeles Dodgers starting catcher A.J. Ellis. Gautier finished the night 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Hornsby (3-4) was the hard-luck loser after allowing one run on two hits and four walks over 4.1 innings. Bluestein led the Gamecocks' offense with a 2-for-5, two-RBI outing. Catcher Cal Lambert had a team-best 3-for-4 outing.
Austin Peay advances to play the winner of Friday night's contest between Southeast Missouri-Eastern Illinois in a noon, Saturday contest.
NOTES: It was the Govs sixth walk-off win this season and first since April 15... Austin Peay defeated Jacksonville State for the fifth consecutive time in tournament play... Harper posted his second hit of the championship and stands at 196 career hits... Cox and Rogers combined for 8.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits.