CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay State University rallied for the game’s final five runs to secure a 5-3 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Belmont, Saturday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Belmont (27-10, 14-3 OVC) struck in the first when Austin Peay starter Casey Delgado surrendered a single and back-to-back walks with one out. The Bruins plated one of those runs on right fielder Drew Turner’s sacrifice fly for the early 1-0 lead.
The Bruins second run was assisted by an Austin Peay error in the second. Left fielder Dom Veltri doubled to start the frame and scored on third baseman Scott Moses’ single when third baseman Jordan Hankins throw eluded the first baseman. Delgado got some help from the Bruins when he struck out designated hitter Spencer Petett and Moses attempted to advance to third on the wild pitch but was thrown out for the double play.
Delgado faced his toughest test in the fourth inning after allowing three consecutive singles to start the frame, including a RBI single by Moses to give Belmont a 3-0 lead with no outs. Delgado struck out Petett and again saw the Bruins help him out of the jam. Catcher Jamie Ritchie hit a ground ball to Hankins at third base as Veltri broke on contact and was retired in a rundown for the second out. Delgado struck out center fielder Drew Ferguson to end the threat.
Austin Peay (27-12, 10-6 OVC) finally broke through against Belmont starter Austin Coley in the bottom of the fourth. Left fielder Tommy Hager put the first run on the board with his two-out RBI single. Right fielder Rolando Gautier followed with a RBI double, cutting the Belmont lead to 3-2.
The Govs had to wait for the bottom of the order to come up again in the seventh to piece together its game-winning rally. Catcher P.J. Torres and Hager each walked with one out, Torres scoring and tying the game on Gautier’s double into the right field corner. Second baseman Brett Carlson drove in the g0-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
Belmont’s lone error came next as Hankins ground ball got past the third baseman to extend the inning. First baseman Craig Massoni made the extra out count, singling through the left side to score Gautier. The Govs saw their rally snuffed out when Hankins was called out at home trying to advance from second on Hudson’s single to left field.
The Govs bullpen made the lead stand up as four pitchers combined for three scoreless innings to end the game. Reliever Hunter Lindley threw a scoreless seventh inning and Ryan Quick followed with the first two outs of the eighth. Closer Tyler Rogers retired the final four batters to notch his APSU single-season record 13th save.
Delgado (6-2) picked up the win after holding Belmont to three runs while scattering six hits and striking out nine over six innings.
Gautier paced the Govs offense with a 3-for-5 performance that included two run-scoring doubles. Hudson broke out of a recent slump with a 4-for-4 outing. Hager added a 2-for-3, RBI effort.
Belmont reliever Blake Harvey (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in two innings. Starter Austin Coley did not factor into the decision after holding Austin Peay to two runs on seven hits over five innings. He was forced from the game after he was hit by a line drive to end the fifth inning.
The Bruins finished with seven hits, six coming from the 5-6-7 hitters: Turner, Veltri and Moses, who had two hits each.
Austin Peay and Belmont conclude their three-game OVC series with a 1 p.m., Sunday contest.