MURRAY, Ky. – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team did not lead until the end, coming from behind to post a 4-3, 12-inning Ohio Valley Conference victory against Murray State, Thursday, at Reagan Field.
Austin Peay (20-5, 5-1 OVC) grabbed its only lead in the 12th when catcher P.J. Torres led off the inning with a single and scored on center fielder Dylan Riner’s sacrifice fly. Closer Tyler Rogers, who had to escape trouble in the two previous innings, faced three batters in the bottom of the frame and induced a game-ending double play to secure the win.
Murray State (12-13, 6-4 OVC) got on the scoreboard first when third baseman Brandon Elliott wrapped a home run inside the foul pole in left for a 2-0 lead. The Govs got one of those runs back in the sixth on left fielder Cody Hudson’s RBI single. But the Thoroughbreds got the run back in their half of the sixth on first baseman Mike Kozlowski’s RBI single.
The Govs tied the game, 3-3, in the eighth when Riner walked to start the frame and scored when first baseman Craig Massoni hit his season’s fifth home run over the wall in left center.
Austin Peay starter Lee Ridenhour put forth his season’s second nine-inning performance. He held Murray State to three runs on six hits while striking out a career-high nine batters. Ridenhour retired 10 consecutive batters from the second to fifth innings. He followed that with eight consecutive batters retired after allowing the RBI single to Kozlowski.
However, Ridenhour’s most impressive moment came in the ninth. Kozlowski led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play. Ridenhour escaped the threat by inducing a pop out, a soft ground out back to the mound and striking out the next three batters, pushing the game to extra innings.
Murray State starter Cameron Finch matched his counterpart through six innings. One week after throwing a no-hitter against SIU Edwardsville, Finch held Austin Peay scoreless through five innings before allowing a sixth-inning run. He scattered four hits and struck out four batters while allowing only the one run.
APSU’s Rogers (5-0) picked up the win but not without some tense moments in the 10th and 11th innings. He entered the game in the 10th with a runner on first base and one out and promptly struck out the first batter he faced. Rogers appeared to have the inning ended with a simple groundball to shortstop Reed Harper, but the ball took a bad hop off Harper. Rogers hit the next batter to load the bases with two out before inducing a fly out to end the threat.
Rogers’ 11th inning got started quickly with back-to-back ground outs. Yet Rogers could not find the inside corner and walked the next two batters to put the winning run in scoring position again. He would escape the threat with a foul out to the left corner.
Murray State reliever Brock Downey (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing one run over the final four innings.
Torres had Austin Peay’s only multi-hit outing, finishing the day 2-for-4. Massoni was 1-for-5 with two RBI while Riner and Hudson each had a hit and RBI.
Kozlowski led Murray State’s eight-hit outing with a 3-for-5 performance.
Austin Peay and Murray State continue their three-game league set with a 3 p.m., Friday contest.