APSU Sports Information
Richmond, KY – Starting pitcher Josh Rye struck out a career-best eight batters over 7.2 innings, and the Austin Peay State University (APSU) offense supplied five home runs in an 8-1 Ohio Valley Conference series-opening victory against Eastern Kentucky, Friday night at Earle Combs Stadium.
Austin Peay Baseball takes down Eastern Kentucky, 8-1, Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)
Rye (4-3) opened the game by retiring the first six batters he faced and allowed just two base runner through the opening five innings.
His lone blip on the day was a solo home run to open the sixth inning, but he responded by retiring seven of the next eight batters he faced – five via strikeout.
Austin Peay (15-13, 9-4 OVC) would support Rye’s performance with a five-homer barrage. Center fielder Garrett Spain opened the salvo with a leadoff shot in the second, his season’s second home run.
One inning later, first baseman John McDonald hit his season’s first home run with a second-straight leadoff home run.
With the Governors leading 3-1 entering the fourth, left fielder Malcolm Tipler and designated hitter Matthew Joslin hit back-to-back one-out homers in the fourth. It was Tipler’s first home run this season and Joslin’s second.
Catcher David Martinez would secure the victory in the ninth, hitting a two-run home run to set the final score. It was Martinez’ fifth home run this season, all coming in his last seven games.
Eastern Kentucky (17-14, 5-5 OVC) could not solve Rye until third baseman Logan Thomason’s leadoff home run in the sixth. The Colonels would get two aboard with two out in the eighth to end Rye’s outing, but APSU reliever Ryan Kouba struck out the first batter he faced to end the threat. EKU would load the bases in the ninth but could not score.
Rye posted career bests in innings pitched (7.2) and strikeouts (eight) while walking only one batter and scattering five hits. Kouba would hit a pair of batters in the ninth but struck out two, including the game’s final batter.
Martinez led Austin Peay with a 3-for-5, three RBI outing that also included an RBI single in the third.
McDonald went 2-for-3 with a fourth-inning double joining his home run. Second baseman Bobby Head extended his hit streak to 10 games with a sixth-inning single.
Eastern Kentucky starter Jake Lewis (0-2) suffered the loss in his season’s first start, going three innings while allowing three runs on four hits. At the plate, Thomason led the EKU offense with a 2-for-3 outing.
Moment That Mattered
Leading 3-0 after three innings, Austin Peay began the fourth facing a new Eastern Kentucky pitcher as Nick Laster took over. The Colonels reliever made a statement by striking out the first batter he faced. Left fielder Malcolm Tipler made sure the momentum stayed in the Governors favor by belting his first home run of 2019 over the wall in right.
On the very next pitch, designated hitter Matthew Joslin turned that momentum into a tidal wave with a towering home run to left field, giving the Govs a 5-0 lead.
Water Cooler Chatter
The Govs five-homer day was its first since a five home run contest against – Eastern Kentucky last season. Austin Peay hit five home runs in the opening game of a doubleheader against EKU, Parker Phillips hitting for three parts of the home run cycle. The 2019 Govs hit four solo home runs and a two-run shot, but two Govs hit their first of the season and two others hit their second.
Rye’s career-high eight-strikeout night certainly didn’t appear that was after five innings with only three strikeouts to his credit. He closed the sixth with a strikeout before striking out four straight – two to end the seventh and two to start the eighth. Four of his eight strikeouts ended innings.
What The Win Means
In one way, Austin Peay stays atop the OVC standings table after Friday’s action, posting their league-leading ninth win.
The Govs are one-half game ahead of both Murray State and Jacksonville State, who with 7-3 OVC records are ahead of APSU when using win percentage as the ranking method.
Next Up For APSU Baseball
APSU Baseball and Eastern Kentucky are scheduled to resume their three-game OVC series with a 3:00pm (CT), Saturday contest. However, with inclement weather forecast Sunday, the schedule is subject to change.
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, Bobby Head, Colonels, David Martinez, Earle Combs Stadium, Eastern Kentucky, Garrett Spain, Governors, Govs, Jake Lewis, John McDonald, Josh Rye, Logan Thomason, Malcolm Tipler, Matt Joslin, Matthew Joslin, Murray State, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Parker Phillips, Richmond KY, Ryan Kouba