APSU Govs sweep Racers, tie Heritage Bank Battle of the Border standings
Austin Peay Sports Information
Murray, KY – Austin Peay State University’s softball team saw its win streak reach a program tying 10-straight games, Friday afternoon at Racer Field, as the Governors swept Murray State in an Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader by finals of 6-0 and 8-6.
The two wins knot-up the standing in the annual Heritage Bank Battle of the Border competition between the two schools, with both schools currently standing at 32 points each, with only the OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championship left to decide this school-year’s winner.
Austin Peay Softball beats Murray State 6-0 and 8-6 Friday afternoon. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay (35-15, 16-4 OVC) also all but locked up a second-place finish in the OVC standings, needing only to win one of its two remaining games left on the schedule versus last-place Tennessee State to lock-down the spot, while also keeping their slim chances to catch league leader Eastern Kentucky for the regular-season title alive.
The two losses suffered by Murray State (16-36, 6-16 OVC) knocked the Racers out of post-season consideration and ended their season.
The Govs conclude their 2018 regular season schedule, 1:00pm, Sunday afternoon, as they travel to Tennessee State for an OVC doubleheader.
Follow the Govs softball team on Austin Peay’s official athletics website Let’sGoPeay.com or on Twitter @AustinPeaySB for more information or updates.
Austin Peay 6, Murray State 0
Austin Peay put up a four-run second inning to take an early lead versus the Racers, highlighted by Carly Mattson‘s 10th home run of the season to get the scoring started, with Emily Harkleroad also picking up an RBI with a single, while the Govs also took advantage of three Murray State errors to score their other two runs in the frame.
Those runs would be all the Govs pitching staff would need, with Morgan Rackel and Kelsey Gross combined to throw a seven-hit shutout, with Rackel getting the win improving her record to 19-6 on the season and Gross picking up her third save.
Austin Peay would add-on to their lead with single runs in each of the fifth and seventh innings, with Danielle Liermann driving in a run in the fifth and Bailey Shorter in the seventh.
Austin Peay 8, Murray State 6
The Govs would see Murray State jump out to a 4-0 lead after one inning, but Austin Peay would respond by taking the lead for good with a five-run third inning versus the Racers, powered by a three-run homer by Mattson – her second of the day and 11th of the season – and with RBIs by Shorter and Liermann.
APSU starter Kelly Mardones (12-4) would settle down after the shaky opening inning, holding the Racers at bay until the bottom of the seventh, giving up two final runs, before Gross came in to record the final two outs and pick up the save, her second of the day.
The Govs also scored a single run in the fifth inning — on an RBI single by Brooke Pfefferle — and two final runs in the sixth, on an RBI single by Shorter and an RBI double by Liermann.
Inside the Box Score
Junior third baseman Danielle Liermann became the school’s all-time leader in runs batted in (119), breaking a tie with APSU Athletics Hall of Famer Andera Miller, with her RBI single in the fifth inning of Game 1.
The 10-game winning streak ties the school record for consecutive wins set by the 1997 team.
The combined Game 1 shutout by Morgan Rackel and Kelsey Gross was the Govs 14th shutout of the season, tying the 1989 team for the most in a single season.
Junior outfielder Kacy Acree has now reached base in her last 26 games, the longest streak by an Austin Peay softball player since before the 2000 season.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Gross‘ four saves this season tie for the second-most in a single season by a Govs pitcher.
Junior outfielder Natalie Schilling’s three runs scored versus Murray State gives her 42 on the season, only the fourth player in school history to score at least 40 runs in a season.
Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Rodney DeLong
On winning two hard-fought road games
“Wins are always great, and road wins are even better. I was just happy about how gritty we were today. We fell down 4-0 in that second game and battled back. It was just a great mental and physical effort by our girls.”
On pitching still getting it done
“How about our (pitching staff) today? They all threw really well, even with Morgan (Rackel) not feeling well. Both Kelsey (Gross) and Kelly (Mardones) had to pick-up the slack and they did, they threw well.”
On Carly Mattson‘s big day
“It seems like every time Carly hits a home run, it’s a big home run in a clutch situation. She did it again today. It was a big, big hit that got us in the lead in that first game and really got us going.”