CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay got a three-run home run
in the first inning of both games of an Ohio Valley Conference
doubleheader Saturday afternoon. Tennessee Tech couldn’t
overcome the deficit in the opener, falling 6-2, but responded with
a 4-3 win in the second game behind a complete-game effort on the
hill by Lee Henry.
The two teams play the rubber game in the three-game series Sunday at 12 p.m. in Raymond C. Hand Park. Austin Peay left-hander Jeremy Dobbs is scheduled to start against Tennessee Tech right-hander Michael Alcorn.
Austin Peay used the early lead and a strong pitching performance to claim a 6-2 victory in the first game. The Govs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first frame and held on for the victory.
Starter Jack Snodgrass (3-1) picked up the victory after allowing one run on three hits and four walks over 6.2 innings while striking out seven. Reliever Ricky Marshall halted a Golden Eagle rally in the seventh, and pitched the final 2.1 innings to get the save, allowing one run on two hits, walking two and fanning three.
Tech starter Chad Oberacker (2-2) took the loss, despite settling down and pitching six strong innings after yielding the four-spot in the first. Chad Hayes pitched the final two innings for Tech, allowing one run on two hits.
The key to the game came quickly as the Govs scored four runs on five hits in the opening inning. Jon Clinard doubled and Michael Blanchard reached on a bunt single. Adam Browett cleared the bases with a three-run home run. A walk, a single and another walk loaded the bases with two out, and the third walk of the inning forced home a run for a 4-0 lead.
A walk, a sacrifice and a throwing error by the Golden Eagles made it 5-0 in the sixth inning.
Tech got one run back in the top of the seventh, but missed out on an opportunity to cut further into the lead by leaving the bases loaded. With two outs, Cory Wright walked and Casanova Donaldson singled. A walk to Heath Cheverton loaded the bases, and a walk to Trice Powers plated Tech’s first run.
Marshall came in from the bullpen and got the final out to get out of the jam.
Austin Peay made it 6-1 with a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Blanchard, scoring Jared Delong, before Hayes picked the runner off first base to end the frame.
Tech tried to rally in the ninth, getting a leadoff double by Wright and a walk to Donaldson. Pinch-hitter Tate McMillan’s smash to third was misplayed into an error, allowing Wright to score, but Marshall retired the next two batters to preserve the win.
Tech tried to the turn the tables in the second game, and a two-run home run by A.J. Kirby-Jones staked the Golden Eagles to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. It was his 12th of the season.
However, for the second time in the afternoon, Austin Peay got a three-run home run in the bottom of the first and moved on top, 3-2. This time, a single and a double set the stage for Greg Bachman’s drive to left center field.
Tech tied the game in the top of the second when Donaldson walked and Cheverton doubled to drive him home and make it 3-3.
While Henry was mowing down the Govs over the final six innings, Tech scratched together the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth without a hit. Alex Henry walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Kirby-Jones greeted Marshall with another walk, and Ben Burgess also drew a free pass to load the bases.
APSU brought in Daniel Tenholder, and Webb knocked a fly ball to left that scored Henry for Tech’s 4-3 lead.
The Govs had a last chance in the seventh when Delong led off with a single up the middle, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch. Henry got back-to-back strikeouts to finish the game and give Tech the split.
Henry (5-1) worked seven innings, allowing six hits and three runs. He walked five and struck out seven. Tech managed just three hits of APSU’s three pitchers. Starter Ryne Harper (3-3) took the loss, going 4.1 innings and allowing four runs, all three hits and three walks, while striking out six. Tenholder pitched 2.2 perfect innings with two strikeouts.