The Austin Peay baseball team broke a tie game in the top of the ninth and hung on for a 9-8 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Morehead State before a crowd of 584 on Saturday afternoon (May 3) at MSU’s Allen Field.
The crowd was MSU's second straight of more than 500 and its best at home since 1994.
The Governors, who have won nine of the last 10 game in the series, improve to 19-29 overall, 11-12 in league action and 6-13 on the road. The Eagles, who had previously won six consecutive games at Allen Field, slip to 24-22 overall, 12-11 in conference play and 10-7 at home.
"Give Austin Peay credit," Head Coach Mike McGuire said. "They made a few more plays than we did today. We battled throughout the game, but couldn't get timely hits when we needed them. We also didn't pitch to our capability and had to go deep into our bullpen again."
Freshman third baseman Alex Robles and freshman left fielder Ridge Smith got things rolling with singles in the top of the ninth. Freshman pinch runner Chase Hamilton and Smith eventually scored, which gave Austin Peay a 9-7 advantage heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Hamilton crossed the dish on a bunt single by senior catcher P.J. Torres. Smith scored moments later when he teamed up with Torres on a successful double steal. The Governors, who plated runs in five different innings, recorded 13 hits and four stolen bases in the contest.
APSU opened the game with four runs in the first. MSU responded with four runs in the second. The teams exchanged single runs until the affair became knotted at seven. The tilt featured four ties.
Robles led Austin Peay by going 3-for-5 with two runs and one RBI. Three other Governors notched two hits apiece. Junior right-hander A.J. Gaura, who allowed one run in 1.2 innings, earned the win. Senior left-hander Alex Belew, who registered the final out, picked up the save.
Junior second baseman Tyler Bigler led Morehead State by going 3-for-6 with one run and one RBI, while freshman catcher Jimmy Wright belted his third homer of the year. Sophomore right-hander Matt Ellenbest, who was charged with both runs in the ninth, took the loss.
"We had some good at-bats, but ended up with nothing to show for them," McGuire said. "We made some mistakes on the base paths, hit into some double plays and struggled with our situational hitting. It's hard to beat a quality opponent when you leave 12 runners on base."
APSU used seven pitchers on Saturday, while MSU summoned six. The series opener on Friday, which was played in three hours and 36 minutes, featured 353 pitches. Game two of the weekend set, which took three hours and 33 minutes to play, featured 332 pitches.
The teams are slated to wrap up their three-game OVC series on Sunday (May 4) at 1 p.m.
"Our crowds the past two days have been excellent, and we hope to have that type of support in the series finale," McGuire added. "Sunday is a big game in terms of the conference race. We need a good start from Willie (Sligh) and need to take care of business on offense."