CLARKSVILLE - A wild eight-run fifth inning propelled Austin Peay State University's baseball team to a 9-6 non-conference victory against Illinois State, Saturday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Trailing 4-0, Austin Peay (5-1) sent 14 men to the plate in the fifth inning, scoring eight runs on six hits while Illinois State's defense chipped in five errors. The Govs began the inning with three straight singles, catcher P.J. Torres driving home APSU's first run. Illinois State starter Dylan Craig then sandwiched a walk to left fielder Dylan Riner, loading the bases, between a pair of outs and looked poised to escape the threat.
Austin Peay turned to reserve infielder Brett Carlson as a pinch hitter and he fell behind 1-2 before working a bases-loaded walk to keep the inning alive. Second baseman Jordan Hankins followed with a two-run double, tying the game, and Carlson scampered home on a throwing error from the outfield to give APSU a 5-4 lead.
The Govs kept the pressure on as shortstop Reed Harper followed with an RBI single and first baseman Craig Massoni posted his second hit of the inning. Illinois State's defense followed with consecutive errors, allowing one more run to score and keeping the inning going. Designated hitter Kyle Schlatter wrapped up the scoring with a bases-loaded walk, giving APSU an 8-4 lead.
The late Austin Peay rally made a winner of starter Casey Delgado (1-1), who notched his season's first victory despite Illinois State scoring a run in four of the first five innings. Redbirds center fielder Chad Hinshaw was a thorn in Delgado's side, leading off the game with a single and scoring, hitting a solo home run in the third and reaching on an infield error and scoring in the fifth.
Austin Peay's relief corps would surrender two runs over the next three innings - on shortstop Brett Kay's two-run eighth-inning double - before closer Tyler Rogers entered the game to start the ninth. He would face the tying run at the plate with two runners in scoring position and two outs, but induced a ground out to record his season's third save.
Center fielder Cody Hudson went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Austin Peay's 10-hit attack. Hankins was 2-for-5 with two RBI and Massoni chipped in a 2-for-3 outing.
Craig (0-1) had the Govs stymied through four innings before the disastrous fifth inning. He struck out the Govs in order in the first and allowed only three base runners, including one hit, through four innings. Ultimately, Craig was responsible for six runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six over 4.2 innings in the losing effort.
Hinshaw led the Redbirds offense with a 3-for-4, four run scored outing. Kay and right fielder Eric Aguilera each had two RBI.
Austin Peay and Illinois State close out their three-game series with a 1 p.m., Sunday contest at Hand Park.