CLARKSVILLE – Junior right fielder Rolando Gautier hit a go-ahead three-run home run and Austin Peay State University’s baseball team fended off a late Lipscomb charge to post a 6-4 non-conference victory, Tuesday night at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Lipscomb (10-20) scored the game’s first runs off Austin Peay starter Zach Hall. The Bisons saw four consecutive batters reach base during a two-out rally in the fourth. Second baseman Noah Chandler had a RBI double and first baseman Tyson Ashcraft followed with a RBI triple to put Lipscomb up 2-0.
The lead did not last the inning as Austin Peay (23-5) responded with its own two-out rally in the bottom half of the fourth. Catcher Britte Underwood started the rally with his first career triple down the first-base line. After third baseman Kevin Corey walked, Gautier hit a ball that landed atop the wall in right center and bounced out of the park for his season's first home run – a three-run shot that gave APSU a 3-2 lead.
The Govs would tack on much needed insurance in the seventh. Austin Peay greeted Lipscomb reliever Blake Fonfara rudely, with the first three batters reaching base. The Bisons made another pitching change, but first baseman Craig Massoni hit a high chopper over the drawn-in infield to drive in a run. The Govs took advantage of a wild pitch and an infield error to plate two more runs and build a 6-2 advantage.
Lipscomb returned the favor in the eighth, taking advantage of Austin Peay’s bullpen. Reliever Kacy Kemmer saw an infield error allow the leadoff batter to reach and then allowed a one-out walk before leaving the game. He was followed by reliever Hunter Lindley who walked the first batter he faced before surrendering a two-run single to Ashcraft.
Lipscomb continued its rally with left fielder Chad Shannon reaching on a bunt single. The Govs escaped the inning neatly when second baseman Jordan Hankins ranged deep into the hole toward the first base side of the field and nabbed catcher Nick Rome’s ground ball. He quickly turned against his momentum and threw to second where shortstop Reed Harper caught the throw and threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play – snuffing out the Bisons final scoring opportunity.
Hall (3-1) picked up the win after holding Lipscomb to two runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out four. Closer Tyler Rogers tacked on a scoreless ninth inning to record his season’s 11th save.
Gautier finished the night 2-for-3 with three RBI and two walks to pace the Govs offense. Hankins and Underwood each had 2-for-3 outings.
Lipscomb starter Jacob Knott (1-4) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on six hits and four walks over six innings. Ashcraft led the Lipscomb offense with a 2-for-4, three RBI performance.
Austin Peay returns to action with a 6 p.m., Wednesday contest at Western Kentucky.