JACKSON, Tenn. – Senior starter Casey Delgado opened his outing with six scoreless innings to lead No. 26 Austin Peay State University’s baseball team past Tennessee Tech, 6-2, in the Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship at The Ballpark at Jackson.
With the win, second-seeded Austin Peay (44-13) advances to the championship round, Saturday, for the third consecutive year thanks to its school-record 14th consecutive victory, which also is the nation's longest active win streak. The Govs will meet the winner of the Eastern Kentucky-Tennessee Tech contest in a 3:30 p.m. affair. The Austin Peay alumni association will hold a picnic for all APSU fans at the field one hour prior to the scheduled first pitch.
Delgado (9-2), who made a mark in the postseason a year ago, showed that form again against top-seeded Tennessee Tech. Only once would face a runner in scoring position through the first six innings. After allowing a leadoff walk in the sixth, he would post his season’s 100th strikeout against TTU first baseman Zach Stephens before inducing a pair of fly outs to end the inning.
Austin Peay’s offense staked Delgado to an early lead and did so while chasing Tennessee Techs tarter Ross Spurgeon after he faced just six batters in the first inning. The Govs would score twice in the frame and did so without a hit. They received four walks and a hit batter in the frame and used shortstop Reed Harper’s ground out for a run and catcher P.J. Torres bases-loaded walk to build a 2-0 lead in the first.
Harper would strike again in the second inning, pushing the lead to 3-0 with a bases-loaded single. However, the Govs would not be able to add to their lead as TTU reliever David Hess, who entered with two out in the first, got a much-needed double play to end the threat.
The Govs would finally add their much needed insurance runs in the sixth inning as they got to Hess , who was deep into his five-inning outing. Austin Peay rapped out four consecutive base hits, including third baseman Jordan Hankins’ two-run single and first baseman Craig Massoni’s RBI single, pushing its advantage to 6-0.
Tennessee Tech (40-16) would touch up Delgado in the seventh. The Golden Eagles posted four straight hits against the Govs starter, including second baseman Zach Zarzour’s RBI single that knocked Delgado form the game. Reliever Kacy Kemmer entered the game with the bases loaded and surrendered a run on a ground out before recording the first of what would be three consecutive strikeouts to end the frame with APSU leading 6-2.
The Golden Eagles threatened again in the ninth inning as APSU closer Tyler Rogers struggled to find the zone to being the frame, walking the first two batters he faced. He would induce a fielder’s choice before striking out the final two batters for the win.
Delgado (9-2) picked up the win, his third straight, and held Tennessee Tech to two runs on six hits over 6.1 innings.
Austin Peay was held to a single-digit hits total for the first time during its win streak, but posted 10 walks. The Govs eight-hit outing was spread out with eight Govs each posting a hit. Harper and Hankins each had a hit and two RBI.
Spurgeon (2-4) suffered the loss after walking three batters and surrendering two runs in 0.2 innings. Third baseman Daniel Miles had two of TTU’s seven hits.