Costanzo flirts with shutout bid as Austin Peay Govs down Eagles
APSU Sports Information
Morehead, KY – Starter Michael Costanzo took a shutout into the eighth inning and Austin Peay State University’s baseball team supplied a pair of home runs in a 10-4 Ohio Valley Conference victory against Morehead State, Friday night at Allen Field.
Costanzo (7-1) opened the game with seven shutout frames. His biggest trouble came in the first inning when he allowed a leadoff single and then saw a ball hit the top of the wall in right for a second single. However, he worked around the runners on the corners by issuing his first strikeout.
Austin Peay Baseball pitcher Michael Costanzo pitches seven inning shutout against Morehead State, Friday. (APSU Sports Information)
After tossing a scoreless second, Constanzo would allow a single in the third, which would be wiped out on an inning-ending fielder’s choice. That single would be the last base hit he would allow until the seventh inning as he retired 13 consecutive batters.
Meanwhile, Austin Peay’s (22-16, 12-7 OVC) offense went to work and provided Constanzo with plenty of run support. Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli opened the game with a double and scored on third baseman Malcolm Tipler‘s double to supply an early 1-0 lead.
The Govs lead would grow by leaps in the fourth and fifth frames. Left fielder Nick Walker hit his season’s fifth home run, a two-run blast to right field, in a three-run fourth inning. First baseman Parker Phillips continued his recent power hitting ways in the fifth with a towering three-run home run to left, extending the lead to 7-1.
That was enough for Costanzo, who would allow his first extra-base hit to start the eighth – a double by catcher Hunter Fain. The Eagles would break up the shutout bid two batters later when third baseman Bryce Henson hit a single up the middle to score Fain.
Morehead State (24-15, 11-5 OVC) would narrow the deficit against the Governors bullpen in the ninth, but could not overcome a nine-run deficit in the inning. Austin Peay closer Brett Newberg was called on late and retired three of the four batters he faced to close the door.
Costanzo won his second straight start, allowing one run on seven hits in the eight-inning outing. However, he did not allow a walk to any of the 31 batters he faced while striking out five. The second time this season he has not issued a walk in a start.
Giovannelli went 3-for-4 with a walk, RBI and run scored to pace the Govs 10-hit attack. Phillips and Walker each ended the night with the home run as their lone hit on the day.
Morehead State starter TJ Satterly (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks in five innings. Hensor led the Eagles offense with a 4-for-5, two RBI outing.
Costanzo Goes Long
Facing a Morehead State team that had scored 64 runs during its four-game win streak entering the weekend, Costanzo put together a clinic on shutting down a dangerous offense. His eight-inning outing was the longest by a Govs pitcher since Alex Robles‘ complete game against Jacksonville State last season. He carried the shutout through 7.1 innings, which was his longest outing of the season before Friday’s outing.
Costanzo Continues Climb to 200
Costanzo’s five-strikeout effort against Morehead State moved him into ninth on the Govs career strikeouts list. He finished the night with 195 career strikeouts, moving past Tom Morgan (193, 1953-58) for the ninth spot on the career Ks list.
Phillips Yard Work
Phillips’ fifth-inning home run, measured at over 420 feet, was his sixth home run in the Govs last four games. He also has 15 RBI in those same four games.
Up Next for APSU Baseball
Austin Peay and Morehead State continue the three-game OVC set with a noon (CT), Saturday contest at Allen Field. The Governors will send left-hander Jacques Pucheu (4-1, 4.36 ERA) to the mound against Eagles lefty Dalton Stambaugh (4-3, 5.98 ERA).