APSU Sports Information
St. Louis, MO – Starting pitcher Brandon Vial and two other pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout as Austin Peay State University’s baseball team completed an opening weekend sweep with a 2-0 victory against Illinois, Sunday, at Billiken Sports Center.
Vial (1-0), who won in his Governors debut, held Illinois to five hits through his 7.1 innings but never allowed a hit to snowball into bigger things.
Austin Peay Baseball pitcher Brandon Vial pitched 7.1 scoreless innings against Illinois, Sunday. (APSU Sports Information)
Illinois (1-1) got two doubles in the contest but Vial worked his way around both.
After a leadoff double in the second, Vial froze the runner with a strikeout, pop out and fly out. In the seventh, Vial surrendered a one-out double and saw the runner reach third on a wild pitch, but he induced a fly out to end the inning. .
Vial’s lone walk would come to the last batter he faced before turning the game over to reliever Brett Newberg who closed the eighth by retiring both batters he faced. Kyle Wilson entered in the ninth for his first pitching appearance as a Governor and struck out two of the three batters he faced to record the save.
Austin Peay (3-0) scored both its runs in the third inning with a litany of infield base hits. Left fielder Brandon Kelley opened the barrage with an infield single to second base. Shortstop Garrett Giovannelli followed with a single that just got over the third baseman’s head. Right fielder Nick Walker loaded the bases with a bunt single.
The Governors would convert those base hits into a run as the Fighting Illini gave up a run to turn a double play. But shortstop Garrett Kueber drove in a second run with a hot shot off the third baseman to give Austin Peay a 2-0 lead that the pitching staff made hold up.
Designated hitter John McDonald paced the offense with a 3-for-4 outing in his Austin Peay debut. Kelley and Giovannelli both went 2-for-4 as the Governors pounded out 10 hits in the win.
Illinois starter Cyrillo Watson (0-1) surrendered the two APSU runs on eight hits and four walks over his four innings of work. Right fielder Jack Yalowitz went 2-for-4 to lead the Fighting Illini offense.
On a weekend that each of the Governors pitchers put forth a stellar effort, Vial had the final say and made the biggest statement with 7.1 scoreless innings in his debut. While he allowed five base hits and a walk, he never allowed Illinois to string together hits. The Fighting Illini ended the game 0-for-11 with runners on base and 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, largely when Vial was on the mound.
McDonald’s Solid Debut
While Vial’s first outing wearing the Red and White stole the show another Governors player had a solid debut of his own. Designated hitter John McDonald opened his APSU career with a hit in each of his first three at-bats, including a double, before ending the day 3-for-4 at the plate.
A 30 K Weekend
The Govs pitchers didn’t piece together a double-digit strikeout effort after back-to-back 10-plus strikeout outings to begin the campaign. However, Austin Peay pitchers struck out 30 batters in 93 opponent at-bats while walking just six batters all weekend.
The 3-0 start is the Governors first under third-year head coach Travis Janssen. It is Austin Peay’s first 3-0 start since the 2012 OVC Championship season when they opened 3-0 against Illinois State.
FIist Time A Charm
Sunday’s meeting was the first ever between Austin Peay and Illinois on the baseball diamond. Of course, the two programs have met a handful of times on the basketball hardwood, most notably in the 1987 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament where the Govs defeated the Fighting Illini in the opening round.
Next Up for APSU Baseball
Austin Peay will return home to start a truncated four-game homestand, beginning with a 3:00pm, Tuesday, February 20th contest against Southern Illinois. The Salukis opened their 2018 at Jacksonville State and suffered a three-game sweep.
Single-game, flex, season and boxLife Suite tickets for Austin Peay baseball are available by calling the Governors Athletics Ticket office at 931.221.PEAY  or online at LetsGoPeay.com/SportTix
About APSU Sports Information
Austin Peay State University Sports Information provides the latest news and updates on the Athletic endeavors of the student-athletes at APSU. Under the direction of Brad Kirtley, the APSU SID’s office consists of Cody Bush, and Colby Wilson. To contact the APSU Sports Information office, contact, 931.221.7561.
Web Site: http://www.apsugovernors.com
SectionsAssociations, Austin Peay State University, Baseball, Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Sports
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Baseball, APSU Men's Baseball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Billiken Sports Center, boxLIFE, Brandon Kelley, Brandon Vial, Brett Newberg, Fighting Illini, Garrett Giovannelli, Garrett Kueber, Governors, Govs, Illinois, Jacksonville State., John McDonald, kyle wilson, Nick Walker, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Salukis, Southern Illinois, St. Louis MO, Travis Janssen