Members of the Govs celebrate after a victory earlier this season. The Govs scored two runs in the bottom of the second and hung on for a 3-1 non-conference win over Lipscomb Tuesday night.
CLARKSVILLE – After his squad suffered a 9-8 loss to SIU-Edwardsville in their series finale Sunday, Austin Peay baseball coach Gary McClure said he wanted the Govs wanted to treat Tuesday’s non-conference matchup against Lipscomb as preparation for this weekend’s final Ohio Valley Conference home series.
If Tuesday’s result was any indication, the Govs appear to be in great shape as Andy Cox scattered five hits and one run over five innings while the Govs lineup scratched out three runs to hang on for a 3-2 win over the Bisons.
“Our guys did a great job,” McClure said. “We came in off a really tough loss and in a midweek game you never know what’s going to happen. We got some big performances from a lot of guys tonight. I’m proud of the way we played.”
On a night usually reserved to give the entire Govs bullpen some innings, McClure elected to stick with Cox, who settled down to turn in his best start of the season despite hitting three batters in the game’s first two innings.
“The first couple of innings were a little bit of a struggle,” Cox said. “I had to find my release point but once I settled in and found it I was pretty much in command after that. Once I got comfortable I felt fresh all over again.”
Cox (3-1) finished with no walks while striking out four Bisons in his longest outing of the year in the win.
“He was fine and he wanted to pitch more,” McClure said. “But I told him there was no shot of coming back this weekend if we pitched him any more. He gave us everything he had tonight.”
After the fifth, Cox handed the ball off to Govs reliever Kacy Kemmer, who turned in a solid performance of his own, striking out four while scattering three hits in as many innings.
“I go into every game thinking it’s a close game,” Kemmer said. “You have to go in and be ready to be competitive and hit the zone and trust your teammates. I’ve got a lot of trust in Coach and (Govs catcher P.J. Torres) calling the pitches and I just tried to execute.”
At the plate, the Govs (29-18) were able to nab a pair of runs in the bottom of the second behind an RBI double from Cody Hudson and an RBI groundout from Matt Wollenzin.
The runs would ultimately prove to be the difference, but the Govs tacked on an insurance run in the eighth after a Michael Blanchard single led to a Jordan Hankins RBI single.
“We faced some tough pitching and we did a good job of getting our guys runs,” McClure said. “I wish we could have gotten more but our pitchers made them hold up.”
Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Bisons (22-26) were held scoreless for the remainder of the ball game but had a chance to tie it at 2-2 in the top of the eighth.
After Bisons center fielder Zach Lowery singled up the middle with two outs. One batter later, first baseman Griffin Moore singled to right and Bisons head coach Jeff Forehand elected to wave Lowery home.
Govs right fielder Rolando Gautier threw a strike to first baseman Tyler Childress, who threw home to catcher P.J. Torres for the bang-bang putout.
“I was a bit surprised they tried to send him home on a ball hit to shallow right field,” McClure said. “But we hit the cutoff like we wanted to and Childress threw a strike to the plate. (Lipscomb) tried to make a hustle play and it didn’t work out for them.”
A half inning later, the 219 on hand Raymond C. Hand Park saw a brief scare as Torres would have to leave the game after awkwardly slipping out of the batters box on his run to first.
Wollenzin finished the game behind the plate as a precaution, but Torres left the park under his own power and is expected to be fine.
Despite issuing the only two walks of the game, Govs closer Tyler Rogers also struck out the side in the ninth to slam the door shut for his 10th save of the year.
Lipscomb starter Tyler Burstrom (1-1) lasted just two innings, but received the loss after giving up the pair of Govs runs.
The win marked the eighth straight for the Govs over the Bisons.
In addition, Tuesday’s game was also played in a blistering two hours and 32 minutes, giving the Govs a chance to rest up as they head to Evansville Wednesday for another midweek non-conference affair.
“Tomorrow we go for win No. 30,” McClure said. “Our guys will treat it just like any other game but that’s a big accomplishment. We’ll have our work cut out for us because Evansville is a good team but we’re looking forward to it.”
Austin Peay used a strong start to defeat Lipscomb 12-7 at Ken Dugan Field in Nashville Tuesday. The Govs will host Western Kentucky in their final non-conference tuneup Wednesday before beginning OVC play this weekend.
With four days remaining until the beginning of the OVC season, the Austin Peay baseball team made the short drive to Nashville to take on Lipscomb in the team’s next-to-last non-conference game before heading to Southeast Missouri this weekend.
Cody Hudson had five hits and five RBI while sophomore second baseman Jordan Hankins added a grand slam as the Govs downed the Bisons, 12-7, Tuesday night at Ken Dugan Field.
The Govs (11-9) broke the game open in the second inning, scoring six runs with two outs. Hudson posted the Govs first two runs on a single into the left center gap. After the second Bisons error in the frame, Hankins hammered a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right for a grand slam that put APSU ahead 6-0.
The Govs would extend their lead to 8-0 in the third on Hudson’s two-run home run. Lipscomb (7-14) fought back in its half of the third, scoring three runs, including two on center fielder Zach Lowery’s triple to right.
Austin Peay tacked on two runs in both the sixth and ninth innings, pushing its advantage to 12-3. Right fielder Rolando Gautier’s double accounted for both sixth-inning runs. Hudson added an RBI triple in the ninth to round out his outing before senior third baseman Greg Bachman wrapped up the Govs scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Lipscomb made one last valiant effort to climb back into the contest, scoring four runs in the ninth. Left fielder M.L. Williams began the rally with a solo home run and Lowery added a two-run double. Austin Peay closer Tyler Rogers came on and surrendered an RBI fielder’s choice before inducing a ground out to end the game.
Hudson finished the day 5-for-6 with five RBI, a double and a triple. Senior designated hitter Jon Clinard and junior shortstop Reed Harper each had two hits. Hankins finished the night 1-for-5 with four RBI.
Austin Peay starting pitcher Casey Delgado (3-2) was the beneficiary of the Govs offensive outburst. Still the junior hurler put forth his own quality effort, surrendering three runs over six innings while scattering 10 hits and striking out six.
Lowery led Lipscomb’s 15-hit attack with a 3-for-5, four RBI night. Bisons starter Will Blalock (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing six unearned runs over two innings.
Austin Peay returns to action when it hosts Western Kentucky in a 6 p.m., Wednesday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Portions of a recap from the Austin Peay Sports Information Dept. were used in this story.
Austin Peay’s baseball team will play two midweek games before it opens Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend.
First, the Govs wrap up a four-game road trip at Lipscomb at 6 p.m. Tuesday and then they host Western Kentucky at 6 p.m. Wednesday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Austin Peay is looking to snap out of a slump that has seen it lose six of its last eight outings.
The Govs open OVC play with a three-day series Friday at Southeast Missouri.
LIPSCOMB | GAME 20 | WEEK 6
Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | First Pitch: 6 p.m.
Location: Nashville, Tenn. | Stadium: Dugan Field (1,500) | Live Stats: www.LipscombSports.com
Series: LU leads, 60-62-1 | Streak: APSU, six wins | McClure vs. LU: 22-12
WESTERN KENTUCKY | GAME 21 | WEEK 6
Dates: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | First Pitch: 6 p.m.
Location: Clarksville, Tenn. | Stadium: Raymond C. Hand Park (777) | Live Stats: www.LetsGoPeay.com
Series: WKU leads, 58-88-1 | Streak: WKU, two wins | McClure vs. WKU: 17-30
|PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
||Austin Peay Starter
|Tue. at Lipscomb
||RHP Casey Delgado
||RHP Will Blalock
||(Jr., 2-2, 9.61 ERA)
||(RFr., 0-0, 4.38 ERA)
|Wed. vs. Western Ky.
||RHP GJ Strauss
||(So., 0-1, 6.00 ERA)
GOVERNORS QUICK HITS
Austin Peay has dropped six of its last eight outings after losing a three-game series, 1-2 (3-4 [13 inn.], 7-2 [10 inn.], 3-7) at Ohio State last weekend • The Govs offense has averaged 3.8 runs per game and is batting .241 during its recent eight-game stretch, but has been held below that scoring average in six of the eight games • Sophomore outfielder Rolando Gautier has seen his bat come alive during the Govs recent downturn, posting a team-leading .375 batting average • Senior designated hitter Jon Clinard has a seven-game hit streak and is batting .400 (12-of-30) during the streak and has moved into the leadoff spot in the last five games • Junior Casey Delgado, Tuesday’s starter, will be making his third appearance in six days – after starting against Evansville, March 14, and appearing in relief at Ohio State, March 18 – but has not pitched more than two innings in three previous outings • Austin Peay’s starter for Wednesday’s contest will be determined following Tuesday’s contest at Lipscomb • The Govs bullpen continues to be a strength, posting a 3.26 ERA and limiting opponents to a .234 batting average this season while averaging 4 innings a game • Austin Peay was picked to finish first in the OVC’s preseason poll • Four Governors were selected to the league’s preseason team – Toney, Harper, senior outfielder Michael Blanchard and sophomore second baseman Jordan Hankins • Austin Peay returns 7 of its 8 defensive starters from last season.
ABOUT THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS
Lipscomb: The Bisons were swept by USC Upstate (10-9 [11 inn.], 2-1, 7-0) to open Atlantic Sun Conference play last weekend • After starting the season 4-1, including a pair of wins against Middle Tennessee, Lipscomb lost its next nine outings before ending that streak with three wins against Siena two weekends ago • Junior right fielder and leadoff hitter Lee Wilson ranks 14th among Atlantic Sun hitters with a team-best .346 batting average • Senior second baseman Zak Messer leads Lipscomb in home runs (5) and RBI (19) while batting .316 this season • Redshirt freshman Will Blalock will be making his season’s 4th start and made his last start against San Diego, March 7, allowing 1 run over 4.2 innings
Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers lost a three-game Sun Belt Conference-opening series, 1-2 (9-2, 2-7, 1-9) to Middle Tennessee last weekend • WKU is 1-3 in midweek outings, but was victorious in its last midweek affair – a 13-1 decision against Butler • Sophomore first baseman Scott Wilcox ranks 15th among Sun Belt hitters with a WKU-best .338 batting average • Junior left fielder Adam Lavelle leads the team with 16 RBI while junior catcher Ryan Huck has a team-best 2 home runs • Sophomore GJ Strauss will be making his season’s 4th start, but it will be his first start since March 7 when he surrendered two runs over three innings in a loss to Evansville.
Freshman forward Malcolm Smith, a Clarksville Academy graduate, was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team, the conference office announced.
The Clarksville, Tenn., native averaged 9.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 30 games. He started seven of the final eight games of the regular season.
“Malcolm has been relentless this season playing a lot against bigger five-men,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “He’s a hard worker and very deserving of this honor.”
Smith scored in double digits 14 times this season and had at least 20 points three times. He posted a high of 22 points against Mercer on Dec. 1 as he went 6-of-9 from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line.
Smith shot 47.1 percent from the field and 62.1 percent (105-169) from the free throw line.
USC Upstate earned three of the league’s top four awards. Torrey Craig was named Player of the Year, Ty Greene was selected as Freshman of the Year, and Eddie Payne was tabbed as Coach of the Year. Belmont’s Ian Clark was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Lipscomb opens the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship as the No. 7 seed against No. 2 seed Mercer Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. central in Macon, Ga. The game will be carried on ESPN3 and Nashville’s 102.5 The Game.
Austin Peay State University women’s tennis team returns to action with a pair of weekend matches against Belmont and Lipscomb, Friday and Saturday.
The weekend kicks off at 2pm, Friday, against future Ohio Valley Conference member Belmont before hosting Lipscomb, 11:30am Saturday, following the Govs and Lady Govs free tennis clinic at the APSU tennis courts.
While senior Vanja Tomic has gotten off to a hot start, the rest of the young Lady Govs have struggled. Tomic currently stands at 5-2 overall including two wins against ranked opponents. Sophomore Andra Cornea, who started the season at No. 6 singles, has since moved to No. 5 singles to post a 3-0 mark.
Much of the Lady Govs success is tied to the depth that can be provided by the four freshmen, Alison Carre, Ornella DiSalvo, Jovana Karak and vanessa Tavarez.
Belmont enters Friday’s match having won three of its last four matches. Lipscomb, meanwhile, hosts Abilene Christian, Friday, before traveling to Clarksville.