JACKSON, Tenn. – Nationally-ranked Austin Peay State University’s baseball team continued its hot-hitting ways, pounding out 17 hits in a 13-4 victory against Eastern Kentucky, Thursday, in the second round of the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Tournament at The Ballpark at Jackson.
No. 26 Austin Peay extended the nation’s longest active win streak to 13 games thanks to a 17-hit barrage. Eight of the Govs nine starters registered a hit in their 13th consecutive game with 10-plus hits.
Second-seeded Austin Peay (43-13) got off to a shaky start as No. 5 seed Eastern Kentucky took advantage of an error to post a pair of runs. Catcher Stephen Hagen drove in a run with a double and designated hitter Bryan Soloman pushed home Hagen with a two-out single for an early 2-0 lead.
The Govs offense responded with the game’s next 13 runs. Austin Peay took the lead in the second thanks to an Eastern Kentucky error that allowed a pair of runs to score, giving APSU a 3-2 advantage.
Austin Peay broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning with the Govs sending 11 men to the plate. Senior shortstop Reed Harper had two hits in the frame, his leadoff single was his 277th career hit – breaking the APSU record. Second baseman Jordan Hankins would add a two-run double. Harper would return to the plate and laced a two-run single through the infield, giving APSU a 10-2 lead.
Govs starter Zach Hall (8-2) settled in after the rough first inning and did not allow a run over the next six innings. He escaped a pair of jams in that scoreless stretch – a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and another in the sixth that saw an EKU runner on third with one out. Hall would leave two runners on bases upon his departure in the eighth, one of those runs eventually scoring. He would finish with the win – his fourth straight – after 7.1 innings where he allowed three runs and struck out six.
Harper’s 4-for-5, two RBI performance paced the Govs 17-hit attack. Hankins and designated hitter Michael Davis each added three hits. Hankins’ had a pair of doubles while Davis fell a triple shy of the cycle, but had a towering home run that cleared the clubhouse in left field.
Eastern Kentucky (21-33) would tack on that run and another in the ninth, but could not solve the Govs pitching in a nine-hit outing. Catcher John Wilson, who entered the game in the sixth, led the effort with a 2-for-2 outing. Soloman chipped in a 2-for-4, one BRI performance.
Colonels starter Myles Scott (3-3) suffered the loss after allowing nine runs on nine hits and five walks through 4.2 innings.
Austin Peay advances to the winner’s bracket final where it will face either No. 1 seed Tennessee Tech or No. 6 seed Southeast Missouri in a 7 p.m., Friday contest.