CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team scored the game’s first seven runs in a 10-6 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Belmont, Sunday afternoon at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay (28-12, 11-6) won the three-game series against Belmont (27-11, 14-4 OVC), 2-1, snapping a stretch where it lost back-to-back OVC series.
The Govs jumped out early thanks to a three-run first inning as five consecutive hitters reached base with one out. First baseman Craig Massoni drove in the game’s first run with a single. Center fielder Cody Hudson followed with a two-run single, putting APSU up 3-0.
Austin Peay extended its lead with a four-run third inning. Shortstop Reed Harper had a sacrifice fly followed by designated hitter Kyle Schlatter’s RBI single. Catcher P.J. Torres put the Govs ahead 7-0 with a two-run home run to left.
Starter Zach Hall made the most of the early run support. He faced four batters in both the first and second innings before running into trouble in the third. Belmont loaded the bases with two out as Hall surrendered a single and back-to-back walks. However, Hall escaped the jam with a ground out.
The Bruins would not let Hall escape another jam in the fourth. Again with two outs, Hall allowed a walk and a single. Center fielder Drew Ferguson made the Govs starter pay with a three-run home run to left field, slashing the lead to 7-3.
Austin Peay’s offense responded with the game’s next three runs. The Govs plated a run in the sixth as third baseman Jordan Hankins singled, stole a base, advanced on a wild throw and scored on a balk. Austin Peay tacked on two more runs in the fifth as second baseman Brett Carlson doubled into the right center gap, left fielder Tommy Hager scored on the hit and right fielder Rolando Gautier scampered home as the throw from center got by the third baseman, giving APSU a 10-3 lead.
Belmont would threaten in the eighth inning. The Bruins scored two runs off reliever Jared Carkuff when designated hitter Spencer Petett hit a two-run home run to left field. Austin Peay turned to reliever Kevin Corey who got the inning’s first two outs before an error extended the inning. Corey would surrender back-to-back walks, loading the bases, before departing.
Austin Peay turned to closer Tyler Rogers and he needed one pitch to escape the jam. Belmont right fielder Drew Turner could only tap the first pitch he saw back to Rogers who tossed home to record the force out and end the threat. Rogers would retire the side in order, including two strikeouts, to record his season’s 14th save.
Hall (4-2) picked up the win after allowing four runs on seven hits and five walks over 6.1 innings. He did tie a career-best with six strikeouts. The Govs pitching staff recorded 29 strikeouts in the series against Belmont, including 10 Sunday.
Hankins finished with a three-hit outing to pace the Govs 11-hit performance. Hudson posted a 2-for-3, two RBI outing while Torres also chipped in two RBI.
Belmont starter James Buckelew (3-3) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs on seven hits over 2.2 innings. Petett had two hits and two RBI to lead Belmont’s offense.
Austin Peay returns to action when it hosts Evansville in a 4 p.m., Wednesday doubleheader (2 7-inning contests).