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.
Morehead St- 000 000 050 – 5 8 0
Austin Peay – 003 000 100 – 4 6 1
WP: David Calderon, 3-1
LP: A.J. Gaura, 1-1
Save: Brent Stoneking, 3
– Kane Sweeney, 2-for-5, HR, 3RBI
– Chris Robinson, 2-for-4
– Cayce Bredlau, 1-for-3, HR, 3RBI
– Dre Gleason, 1-for-4, HR
– 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.