CLARKSVILLE - Austin Peay State University's bullpen tossed five scoreless innings and the offense produced two seventh-inning runs for a 7-6 victory against Western Kentucky, Wednesday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
With the win, Austin Peay (10-2) is off to its best 12-game start in program history, equaling the mark set by the 1958 team. It also snapped the Govs six-game losing streak against the Hilltoppers - dating back to April 14, 2009.
Trailing 6-5, Austin Peay turned to its bullpen to hold the Hilltoppers in check. Reliever Kacy Kemmer was the first on call and tossed four scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Closer Tyler Rogers came on board in tossed a scoreless ninth.
The Govs offense used a pair of two-out hits in the seventh to take the lead for good. Right fielder Rolando Gautier, who singled earlier in the frame, scored on second baseman Jordan Hankins two-out double, tying the game. First baseman Craig Massoni broke the tie with a single through the right side, scoring Hankins for the 7-6 lead.
The game was a see-saw affair through four innings. Austin Peay took a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Massoni and left fielder Cody Hudson had RBI hits. The Govs had an opportunity to do more damage, but ran into an inning-ending double play that saw two baserunners caught stealing.
Western Kentucky (4-6) tied the game with a two-run second inning and a run in the third frame. Center fielder Trevor Lowe scored two runs on a single - his first collegiate base hit - in the second inning. Right fielder Anderson Miller tied the game in the third with his bases-loaded RBI ground out.
The Govs regained the lead in the third with Hudson's two-run single. However, the lead would not last long as WKU first baseman Regan Flaherty hit a line-drive home run over the wall in right for three runs and a 6-5 lead.
Austin Peay starter Jared Carkuff made his first collegiate start and went four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. Kemmer (1-0) picked up his season's first victory with his four scoreless innings. Rogers notched his season's sixth save.
Hudson finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBI. Massoni added a 2-for-3, two RBI outing.
Western Kentucky used seven pitchers in the contest, reliever Jake Thompson (1-3) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on three hits over 1.2 innings.
Flaherty led the Hilltoppers with his 2-for-5, three RBI effort.
Austin Peay returns to action when it hosts the four-team reound-robin Riverview Inn Classic, Friday-Sunday. The Govs begin the tournament with a 3:30 p.m., Friday contest against Milwaukee. UALR and Creighton will meet in the tournament's noon, Friday contest.