Austin Peay Govs rally to defeat Gamecocks in pitcher’s duel
APSU Sports Information
Jacksonville, AL – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball rallied for three runs in their final at bat against the Ohio Valley Conference leader Jacksonville State, Friday afternoon at University Field, to earn a split with the Gamecocks, taking the opener, 3-1, before coming up short in the nightcap, 3-0.
Austin Peay Softball beats Jacksonville State 3-1 in opener before falling 3-0 in nightcap, Friday. (APSU Sports Information)
The victory snapped an 11-game overall losing streak to JSU and was the fifth overall victory by the Govs in Jacksonville in 21 games.
The Govs return home Tuesday for their next action at Cathi Maynard Park, as they host Murray State in a Heritage Bank Battle of the Border doubleheader, scheduled first pitch is 4:00pm.
Austin Peay 3, Jacksonville State 1
Trailing 1-0 and down to their final three outs, Austin Peay (21-15, 6-2 OVC) opened the top of the seventh with three straight hits by Kelsey Gross, Carly Mattson and Lexi Osowski to load the bases.
Katelyn Smith was then inserted as a pinch hitter and drove a 1-1 pitch into right field for a single to drive in pinch runner Kelsey Gray with the tying run.
Jacksonville State (24-10, 8-2 OVC) was able to get the next Gov hitter for the first out of the inning, but Drew Dudley followed by lacing the first pitch she saw into right field, scoring Osowski and Brooke Pfefferle to give the Govs their first lead of the game, 3-1.
That would be all the runs that APSU starter Morgan Rackel (15-5) would need, as the left-hander held off a scoring threat by the Gamecocks in the bottom of the inning for the 3-1 final.
Rackel would finish the game giving up just five hits, one walk and struck out seven, while only allowing two runs to reach second base after giving up a run in the bottom of the second inning. She was also aided by several hustle plays on defense, including two diving catches in foul territory by Mattson and Gross
Jacksonville State 3, Austin Peay 0
Austin Peay had scoring chances in Game 2, but unlike Friday’s opener couldn’t come up with the big hit with runners in scoring position or hitting into a pair of double plays to end scoring threats.
Mattson led the Govs with two hits, including a double, while Kacy Acree and Emily Moore had the other two Govs hits.
Kelly Mardones (3-9) was the tough-luck loser for the Govs, as she limited the Gamecock to just four hits and three runs – only one earned – in her complete-game effort, while walking two and striking out eight.
Inside the Boxscore
The win by Morgan Rackel ties Morgan Brewer (2010-13) for fourth-place all-time in program history with 37-career victories.
The eight strikeouts recorded by Kelly Mardones in Game 2 versus JSU was a career single-game high.
In picking up hits in both games, Carly Mattson has a season-long nine-game hit streak.
The seventh-inning rally by APSU in Game 1 marked the first time this season the Govs posted a come-from-behind win after trailing their opponent after six innings.
Drew Dudley leads the team with four game-winning hits this season.
The win in game 1 versus JSU gives this group four-year seniors 86 career wins, tying for the third-most wins by a senior class in program history.
On late-inning rally
“Our kids showed a lot of heart out there today and battled one of the best teams in the conference pitch-for-pitch, and play-by-play and found a way to win. I’m particularly proud of the way the bottom part of our lineup really came through in the seventh and strung a bunch of hits together, especially Katelyn Smith with her big pinch-hit to tie the game and Drew Dudley driving in two which gave us the lead and turned out to be the game winner.”
On pitching in both games
Both Morgan (Rackel) and Kelly (Mardones) pitched well today against a very dangerous hitting team and really kept them in the ball park and gave us a chance to win both games.”
On returning home for a huge showdown with Murray State
“We are looking forward to returning home and carry this momentum into our games versus Murray State on Tuesday. They are a huge rival for us, and the games are Heritage Bank Battle of the Border Games, so we are looking forward to having a huge crowd out there in the stands being our 11 man in the lineup like they’ve been at all of our home games this season.”