Clarksville, TN – Shortstop Garrett Kueber  hit a home run as part of a three-hit, three-RBI day and led the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team to a 6-1 Ohio Valley Conference series-opening victory against SIU Edwardsville, Friday night, on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.
After four scoreless frames, Kueber used a one-out infield single to start a quick rally. Right fielder Aaron Campbell  doubled into the right center gap and the Govs had a 1-0 lead.
Austin Peay (22-18, 14-8 OVC) saw its lead doubled with one swing of Kueber’s bat in the seventh. His solo home run to left center field – his second of 2019 – giving the Govs a 2-0 lead.
The Govs broke the game open in the eighth, sending eight men to the plate in a four-run frame. Catcher David Martinez  hit a two-run single and Kueber drove in two more with a double to the wall in left center, putting APSU ahead 6-0.
Starter Josh Rye  (6-3) got off to a strong start, facing one over the minimum through three innings thanks to a second-inning double play and a runner caught stealing in the third. SIUE would get a runner in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth innings, but could not get the base hit they needed and remained scoreless.
Rye would hit a batter with one out in the sixth and the Govs went to their bullpen with the 1-0 lead. Reliever Greg Leban  dominated the Cougars in his 1.2-inning outing, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Brett Newberg  took over on the hill in the eighth and struck out the side, working around a one-out double, before the Govs broke the game open.
Rye picked up the win – his career-high tying sixth victory – scattering four hits and two walks over his 5.1 scoreless innings. He struck out six batters with Leban (four), Newberg (three) and Thompson (one) all combining to strike out 14 Cougars batters.
Kueber posted his third three-hit outing of the season, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Martinez went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Campbell was 1-for-4 with a RBI. Center fielder Garrett Spain  extended his reached safely streak to 40 games – tied for third longest in APSU history – with an eighth-inning walk.
SIUE (16-23, 8-11 OVC) was held to eight hits, third baseman Raul Elguezabal and left fielder Eric Giltz each posting two hits. The Cougars lone run scored on a bases-loaded passed ball in the ninth inning. Starter Collin Baumgartner (1-5) suffered the loss despite holding Austin Peay to one run on five hits over his six innings of work.
Moment That Mattered
Clinging to a 1-0 lead and well after the sun set at Raymond C. Hand Park, stepped to the plate with one out in the seventh, as the second batter to face SIUE reliever Chris Robinson. After seeing two pitches, the Govs shortstop launched a line drive to left center that cleared the wall in front of the scoreboard, doubling the lead.
Water Cooler Chatter
Rye Ties Own Wins Mark
Spain Extends Streak Late
With an eighth-inning walk, freshman center fielder Garrett Spain  extended his reached safely streak to 40 games. The streak, which accounts for every game of the 2019 season, is tied for third longest in program history, equaling the mark set by Ryan Kane in 2006. Next on the list is Chuck Abbott’s 43-game streak set in 1996. Joe Lancaster holds the Govs record with 48 consecutive games reached safely in 1999.
What The Win Means
Austin Peay moved up to second in the OVC standings with the victory against SIUE. The Govs remain one-game behind league-leading Belmont, which won at Tennessee Tech. Austin Peay is only one-half game ahead of Jacksonville State and Morehead State – two teams playing each other this weekend with Morehead State winning the series opener.
Next Up For APSU Baseball
APSU Baseball and SIU Edwardsville continue their three-game OVC series with a 1:00pm, Saturday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.