MURRAY, Ky. — Austin Peay State University’s softball team went into the final day of the regular season, Sunday afternoon, knowing it needed two wins to punch its ticket into the Ohio Valley Conference post-season tournament for the first time since 2007.
Unfortunately, the Lady Govs came up three runs short, as they were swept by the Racers in the OVC doubleheader 6-4 and 10-9 – in nine innings.
In Game 1, Austin Peay (18-26, 9-17 OVC) would score the first run of the day in the top of the second inning, with Jessica Ryan blasting a two-out home run – her fourth of the season – over the center field fence.
Ryan would finish the game with three hits.
The Lady Govs lead would be short-lived, with Murray State (23-26, 14-10 OVC) scoring three times in the bottom of the inning on three hits and three walks.
Murray State would add to its lead in the third inning, scoring three more runs on three hits to go up 6-1.
Ryan would hit her second home run of the game in the top of the sixth inning to cut the Lady Govs deficit to 6-3, while also becoming the first Lady Gov in school history to hit two home runs in a game twice in a career.
Kayla Davidson would hit the Lady Govs third home run of the game, in the top of the seventh to make it 6-4, but that would be as close as they would get, as Austin Peay had a chance to tie or go ahead by loading the bases – with two outs – but Racer closer CheyAnne Gaskey got Ryan on a swinging third strike to end the game.
Davidson and Laurel Burroughs had two hits each for Austin Peay.
In Game 2, Austin Peay got into a hole early with Murray State scoring three times in the first inning and adding one more in the second to go up 4-0.
But Austin Peay didn’t lie down, as the Lady Govs responded with a six-run third inning to take its first lead since early in Game 1.
Ryan would get the rally going with a walk to open the inning and was safe at second when the ball came out of the glove of Murray State second baseman Christian Cox, as she tried to tag Ryan on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Courtney Brower.
It looked like the rally was going to end there for the Lady Govs, with the next two batters going down in order and Burroughs missing on a third strike.
But the ball got away from Racer catcher Ellyn Troup and her throw to first base was wild allowing Burroughs to be safe to continue the inning – but also allow Ryan to score from third with the Lady Govs first run.
Lauren de Castro followed with her team-high fifth triple – down the right field line – to drive in Brower and Burroughs to make it 6-3 Murray State.
Mel Pavel continued the rally by ripping a double into left field to score de Castro to make it 6-4.
But the Lady Govs pitches couldn’t quite the Racer bats, as Murray State tied the game 6-6 in the bottom of the inning.
Austin Peay would retake the lead in the fourth, on an RBI single by de Castro scoring Brower, and making it 8-6 in the fifth on an RBI single by Guest – scoring Pavel following her second double of the game.
Pavel finished the game with three hits.
But Austin Peay’s pitching couldn’t corral the Racers, as they retook the lead 9-8 in the bottom of the fifth by scoring three runs on four hits.
Murray State finished Game 2 with 18 total hits.
Austin Peay would force extra innings with Pavel leading off the seventh inning with her third home run of the season – a shot over the center field fence to make it 9-9.
It would be Murray State that would finally score in extra innings, as the Racers pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth inning for the 10-9 final.
With the losses, seniors Brewer, Norton and Ryan saw their APSU careers come to an end.