APSU’s Costranzo, Newberg and Head combine to cage Tigers in series opener
APSU Sports Information
Clemson, SC – Austin Peay State University pitchers Michael Costanzo and Brett Newberg did not allow a run after the fourth inning as APSU’s baseball team used an early offensive onslaught to down No. 5 Clemson, 6-3, in nonconference action, Friday night, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Austin Peay (30-20) broke out to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings, using four singles to score two runs in the first before hitting a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning.
Austin Peay Baseball scores early in 6-3 win over nationally rank Clemson Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)
Freshman shortstop Bobby Head hit his first collegiate home run in the fourth followed by Garrett Giovannelli’s sixth homer this season.
Clemson (37-13) would answer back in the third inning. Tigers shortstop Logan Davidson reached base on an infield single, bringing right fielder Seth Beer to the plate. Beer would cut the Govs lead in half with a home run to right field.
The teams would trade runs in the fourth inning. Austin Peay hit back-to-back doubles, Head again supplying an RBI, in the top of the inning. The Tigers responded with a double and a single in the bottom of the inning.
Austin Peay would get a key insurance run in the ninth inning when first baseman Parker Philips drove his 18th home run of the season. He is now one shy of tying the Governors single-season home run record set by Nate Manning in 1996.
Costanzo (9-1) made the most of the early run support, scattering eight hits over his six-inning outing. He got stronger late, retiring the Tigers in order in fifth and striking out the final two batters he faced in the sixth inning.
Newberg would enter the game to start the seventh inning and would work out of jams in the seventh and ninth innings. Clemson would get the tying run aboard in the seventh after a leadoff single and a walk only to see Newberg strike out a batter to end the threat.
Clemson would piece together a bigger threat to the Governors lead in the ninth, using back-to-back two-out singles to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of cleanup hitter Chas Williams. But Newberg induced a line drive out to center field, ending the game for his season’s sixth save.
Head would pace the Governors offense with his 3-for-4 outing that saw him fall a triple shy of the cycle while batting in two runs. Giovannelli went 2-for-5 with a RBI and scored twice in the win.
Clemson starter Jacob Hennessy made just two turns through the Governors order in the loss, allowing five runs on eight hits in his 3.1 innings. Beer went 2-for-4 with two RBI while Davidson and catcher Kyle Wilkie each had three hits.
First vs. Top Five
Phillips Homer Tally
The Governors win against Clemson was their first-ever victory against a Top 5 ranked opponent. Austin Peay had two wins against a No. 6 ranked team, including last season’s victory at North Carolina State and a 2002 win at Florida. It was the Govs sixth game all-time against a team ranked among the Top 5.
Phillips ninth-inning home run was his 18th of 2018, tying him for second most in a season. He is tied with Michael Johnson (2002) and one shy of single-season leader Nate Manning (1996) for the program record. It also was Phillips’ 30th career home run, making him the ninth to reach that milestone.
Costanzo’s Ninth And 92nd
Senior Michael Costanzo notched his ninth win this season, becoming one of 18 Govs pitchers to record nine or more wins in a season. He also struck out six batters, finishing the night with 92 strikeouts this season – third most in a season – as he continues his march to join the 100-strikeout club currently occupied by only Casey Delgado (105 Ks, 2013).
Junior Brett Newberg notched his sixth save this season, becoming one of only 14 Govs relievers to record six or more saves in a season.
Up Next for APSU Baseball
Austin Peay and Clemson continue their three-game series with a 3:00pm (CT) contest. The Governors will look to clinch a series win and will turn to left hander Jacques Pucheu (7-1, 4.03 ERA). The Tigers will counter with right-hander Brooks Crawford (6-2, 3.86 ERA).