Austin Peay Softball keeps OVC Title hopes alive with sweep of UT Martin
Martin, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball team knew coming into the final weekend of the regular season they would need to win all four games to earn a share of the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title and they’re half-way to that goal after sweeping UT Martin, Friday at Bettye Giles Field, by 3-2 and 4-1 finals.
All that remains between the Govs and a share of their first-ever OVC title, in their 34-year history, are two OVC victories Sunday, May 5th at SIU Edwardsville with the first pitch set for 1:00pm.
Austin Peay Softball beats UT Martin 3-2 and 4-1 Friday keeping OVC Title hopes alive heading into Sunday doubleheader at SIU Edwardsville. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay 3, UT Martin 2
For the first four innings of the contest, Austin Peay (30-19, 15-5 OVC) and UT Martin traded scoreless frames on the scoreboard, before the Govs broke on top by scoring two runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Brooke Pfefferle would get things going for the Govs with a single to right field, and after moving to second base on a sacrifice by Drew Dudley, was joined on the bases by Kacy Acree – who reached on an infield single.
The Skyhawks (29-25, 10-12 OVC) would retire the next Govs hits for the second out of the inning, bring up the Govs all-time RBI leader Danielle Liermann.
She didn’t disappoint, as Liermann blasted a line drive over the center fielders head and off the fence for a double driving in Pfefferle and Acree for a 2-0 lead.
Liermann finished the game reaching base all four times she came to the plate, coming on two singles and two walks.
UT Martin wouldn’t go down without a fight, as they answered the Govs two runs with two of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, 2-2.
But Austin Peay would have the final response, with Pfefferle driving in Morgan Rackel with a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning for the 3-2 final margin.
Kelsey Gross (6-1) would pick up the win for the Govs, going the first five innings and allowing two runs on four hits and striking out three, while Rackel came in to pick up her first save of the season – throwing two shutout innings of relief and striking out one.
Austin Peay 4, UT Martin 1
Much like the opener, the Govs and Skyhawks struggled to find scoring chances through the first three-and-a-half innings, before UTM broke on top with a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning for a 1-0 advantage.
But the lead was short lived for the Skyhawks, with the Govs answering with a run of its own in the top of the fifth, coming on an infield single by Carly Mattson, scoring Acree to tie the game 1-1.
The Govs would take the lead for good in the top of the next inning, scoring three times, highlighted by a to-run homer by Gross and an RBI single by Acree.
Rackel (20-6) would pick up the complete-game win, giving up the one run on three hits, while striking out 11 and walking none.
Inside the Boxscore
With the two wins at UT Martin, the Govs have now won 30-or-more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.
Earning the victory in Game 2, Morgan Rackel becomes the first pitcher in program history to record 20-or-more wins in two different seasons.
With her first-inning strikeout in Game 1, Govs pitcher Kelsey Gross picked up her 150th career strikeout.
With her two stolen bases, Natalie Schilling ties former APSU standout Louranda Sanders (1997-00) for the all-time program lead in career stolen bases, with 57 career steals.
With her two stolen bases, Kacy Acree becomes fourth player in program history to steal at least 40 bases in a career.
The Govs have now won the last five meetings versus UT Martin.
Danielle Liermann has reached base in 13 straight games, while Carly Mattson has reached base in 11 straight.