UT Martin Skyhawks down Austin Peay Govs in series opener
Austin Peay Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team could not solve a trio of UT Martin pitchers and lost a 6-3, 12-inning Ohio Valley Conference contest, Saturday night at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Early on it looked like the game might turn into a slugfest. UT Martin (9-36, 5-20 OVC) got on the board in its half of the first thanks to third baseman Nick Molina’s three-run home run.
Austin Peay Men’s Baseball. (Michael Rios-Clarksville Sports Network)
Austin Peay countered with two runs in its half of the inning and tied the game in the second on shortstop Garrett Copeland’s RBI single.
However, both teams turned to their bullpens in the third inning and neither offense was able to scratch out a run for the next nine frames.
UT Martin reliever Carter Smith stymied Austin Peay for 7.1 scoreless innings, striking out 12 while allowing only three hits and three walks. He was replaced by John Houston (3-1), who picked up the win after striking out six of the nine Govs he faced over the final 2.2 innings.
Austin Peay (19-31, 11-14 OVC) used nearly its entire roster of pitchers after pulling starter Alex Robles following the second inning. Reliever Kevin Corey (0-1) – the eighth APSU pitcher – went 5.1 innings more than double his longest previous pitching outing (2.2 innings). He retired the first 14 batters he faced before allowing a two-out single in the 11th. However, he was undone by a pair of Austin Peay errors in the 12th and was the hard-luck loser.
Corey started the 11th with a strikeout then surrendered an infield single that was too hot for third baseman Ridge Smith to handle. The Skyhawks then attempted to move the runner with a sacrifice bunt, but saw an APSU throwing error saw the batter at first and a runner at third.
UT Martin quickly made Austin Peay pay for the miscue as first baseman Phil Sorenson singled to right field, driving in the go-ahead run. A second run would cross the plate as the Govs relay throw home sailed into its dugout. Right fielder Nico Zych’s RBI single off reliever Ryan Quick gave UT Martin a 6-3 lead it would not relinquish.
Austin Peay recorded 11 hits in the contest, but never had more than one hit in any inning after the second. The Govs top three in the order – shortstop Garrett Copeland, center fielder Cayce Bredlau and right field Rolando Gautier – each went 2-for-5 at the plate. However, the Govs suffered a 19-strikeout outing, Bredlau the only Govs batter to avoid a strikeout on the night.
Molina finished the night 1-for-6 with three RBI to pace the UT Martin eight-hit attack. Zych went 2-for-6 with one RBI.
Austin Peay and UT Martin continue their three-game OVC series with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park. The Govs will recognize their eight seniors prior to the start of the contest.