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OVC Battle Of Offenses Finally Turns Offensive

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — With two of the top 10 offenses in the country going head to head on a Sunday getaway game, you’d figure there would be a cavalcade of offensive fireworks lighting up the Clarksville sky. Guess what? There was barely ANY offense Sunday … relatively speaking, that is. Morehead State made a spirited comeback with five runs in the eighth inning to surpass Austin Peay State 5-4.

A look at Raymond Hand Park in Clarksville, Tennessee. The only park that might have more foul ground than Stanford's Sunken Diamond.A look at Raymond Hand Park in Clarksville, Tenn. The only park that might have more foul ground than Stanford’s Sunken Diamond.

LINESCORE:
Morehead St- 000 000 050 – 5  8  0
Austin Peay – 003 000 100 – 4  6  1

PITCHING
WP: David Calderon, 3-1
LP: A.J. Gaura, 1-1
Save: Brent Stoneking, 3

TOP HITTERS.
EAGLES:
– Kane Sweeney, 2-for-5, HR, 3RBI
– Chris Robinson, 2-for-4

GOVERNORS:
– Cayce Bredlau, 1-for-3, HR, 3RBI
– Dre Gleason, 1-for-4, HR

RECORDS:
– Morehead State, 27-17, 13-8 Ohio Valley
– Austin Peay, 22-19, 13-11 Ohio Valley

HOW IT WENT DOWN: 
San Diego head coach Rich Hill told me last week, “That Morehead State team, those guys can RAKE! I’m serious.”

He is a man who speaks from experience after having his Toreros lose three of four games on opening weekend to the Eagles.

Well, Coach was wrong. For eight innings that is. For eight innings of Sunday’s game at APSU, the Eagles were handcuffed to the tune of three hits and no walks. They were constricted like an Alice Cooper album cover. Governors starting pitcher Jared Carkuff did an admirable job in going six strong innings and striking out six Eagle batters and throwing 70 strikes in his 103 pitches.

Jared Carkuff gave hope to the Governors for a series win with his 7.0 innings of stellar work on the mound. Jared Carkuff gave hope to the Governors for a series win with his 7.0 innings of stellar work on the mound.

Adding to that, the Govs also got a three-run home run from Cayce Bredlau in the third inning and a solo yard call from Dre Gleason in the seventh inning to give them a fairly safe 4-0 lead with six outs to get.

Dre Gleason gave the Governors a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning with a solo home run.Dre Gleason gave the Governors a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning with a solo home run.

But then suddenly in the eighth inning, everything went south for APSU and north for the Eagles. Carkuff finally became a bit frazzled, walking the first batter of the top of the eighth to nine-hole hitter Braxton Morris. Then came the big momentum-swinging moment of the game.

With Ryan Kent at bat, home plate umpire Randy Clayton called a strike on a pitch that seemed a time zone or two outside the zone. Morehead State Mike McGuire immediately took particular umbrage, arguing with some vigor. Normally, arguing balls and strikes is a certain no-no. But McGuire’s vehement yell-match seemed to only fire up his team and not get him kicked out.

In the 8th inning Morehead State head coach Mike McGuire read the riot act to home plate umpire Randy Clayton after his amoeba-like strike zone.In the 8th inning Morehead State head coach Mike McGuire read the riot act to home plate umpire Randy Clayton after his amoeba-like strike zone.

Two pitches later a screaming double from leadoff hitter Ryan Kent put men on second and third with on out.

Austin Peay head coach Gary McClure had seen enough and pulled Carkuff, to a hearty round of applause might I add. The dude done well.

But his replacements couldn’t keep the fire burning. Michael Costanzo came on to face No. 2 hitter Kane Sweeney and stroked a towering three-run home run over the right-field fence to pull the Eagles to within 4-3.

MSU first baseman Kane Sweeney gets the heroes welcome after his three-run dinger to pull the Eagles within a run in the 8th inning.MSU first baseman Kane Sweeney gets the heroes welcome after his three-run dinger to pull the Eagles within a run in the 8th inning.

And believe me when I say, the Morehead State dugout was electric-charged and yipping at a fevered pitch.

A.J. Gaura came on for the Govs, but didn’t help matters. He immediately walked Brandon Rawe and then gave up a single to Chris Robinson. Three batters later, the game would be tied when Blake Tanner hit an RBI single on a seemingly harmless pop-up that just eluded the glove of a diving APSU shortstop Garrett Copeland and squeezed under the glove of second baseman Imani Willis. Finally, Tyler Niemann stroked the game-winning RBI single.

That made it 5-4, ending the scoring for the day. Credit MSU starter David Calderon and reliever Brent Stoneking for keeping their cool enough to quell the Governor bats long enough to wait for their own offense to pick them up.

With the 5-4 win, Morehead State took two of three from Austin Peay and stay within 4.5 games behind OVC leader Southeast Missouri State in the standings.

Brandon Rowe and Chris Robinson are two of the top hitters in the country. Rowe is in the top ten nationally in doubles and Robinson entered the day with a .396 average, good for 20th in the nation. Brandon Rowe and Chris Robinson are two of the top hitters in the country. Rowe is in the top ten nationally in doubles and Robinson entered the day with a .396 average, good for 20th in the nation.

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