CLARKSVILLE – Behind a pair of solid pitching performances, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team swept an Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader, 5-4 and 10-1, from Jacksonville State, Friday at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (19-3, 4-0 OVC) saw starting pitchers Lee Ridenhour and Casey Delgado each go seven innings in their starts. The Govs bullpen then tacked on two scoreless innings in each contest to solidify the wins.
Ridenhour (4-0) threw six scoreless innings in the day’s first game and retired 11 consecutive batters going into the seventh inning. His start only was blemished in the seventh when Jacksonville State began the inning with four straight hits and sent nine men to the plate en route to a four-run inning. Still Ridenhour allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out six over seven innings.
Delgado (4-1) followed with an even better performance in Game 2, striking out a career-high nine batters. He held Jacksonville to three hits over six innings before running into trouble in the seventh inning. Delgado would allow three hits in the seventh, including two that didn’t leave the infield, and surrendered his only run.
Austin Peay’s offense recovered from its sub-par outing at Indiana State, Tuesday, and rapped out 25 hits in Friday’s doubleheader.
In the series opener, Austin Peay saw base running errors again cut short a pair of early scoring opportunities. However, the Govs persevered and it was designated hitter Brett Carlson who delivered the game’s first runs with a two-run single in the fourth.
The Govs tacked on three more runs in the fifth. Second baseman Jordan Hankins drove in a run to start the rally. Austin Peay then coaxed a pair of walks to load the bases. Catcher P.J. Torres made the hard work pay off with a two-run double to left, putting APSU ahead 5-0.
Jacksonville State (11-14, 5-3 OVC) finally solved Ridenhour in the seventh as the first four batters posted hits. Designated hitter Paschal Petrongolo broke up the shutout bid with an RBI single and shortstop Andrew Bishop added a RBI double. The Gamecocks continued the rally with an RBI on a ground out before first baseman Adam Miller cut the APSU lead to one run with an RBI single. However, Ridenhour escaped further damage with a groundout.
The Gamecocks would receive no opportunities following the seventh. Reliever Kacy Kemmer retired the side in order in the eighth. Closer Tyler Rogers only allowed a two-out single en route to his APSU record 21st career save – his ninth this season.
Austin Peay took all the drama out of the second game early. The Govs saw their first four batters of the contest reach base. First baseman Craig Massoni drove in the first run with a single to right. One out later, shortstop Reed Harper gave APSU a lead it would not relinquish with a single that scored two runs. Catcher P.J. Torres closed the four-run first with a RBI groundout.
The Govs tacked on single runs in the second and third innings. Massoni’s RBI single was responsible for the APSU run in the second while third baseman Kevin Corey’s RBI groundout put APSU ahead 6-0 after the third.
Austin Peay continued to press and it used a Jacksonville State error to extend its lead in the sixth. Left fielder Cody Hudson singled to center field, scoring right fielder Rolando Gautier easily. The Gamecocks committed two errors on the play, allowing center fielder Dylan Riner to score from third and the Govs led 8-0 after six.
Jacksonville State again solved the Govs starter in the seventh inning. Delgado alternated hits and outs to the first five batters. The Gamecocks run scampered home when first baseman Adam Miller reached on an infield single that Delgado knocked down but could not find. Delgado would recover and ended the threat with a ground ball out.
Hankins finished the day’s scoring with a two-run home run to right center.
Harper had a multi-hit outing in each contest, going 2-for-4 in Game 1 before posting a 3-for-5, two RBI outing in Game 2. Massoni recovered from a hitless opening game outing to go 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI in Game 2.
Jacksonville State starters picked up the losses in both contests. Game 1 starter Casey Antley (4-2) allowed five runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. Game 2 starter Taylor Shields did not fare much better, allowing six runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings.
The Gamecocks offense was held to 14 hits in the doubleheader, Miller leading the effort with a 3-for-8, two RBI combined effort.
Austin Peay and Jacksonville State will conclude their three-game series with a noon, Saturday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.