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Govs fail to utilize early scoring opportunities

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay saw a pair of early scoring opportunities go begging in a 4-1 loss to Missouri State, Thursday afternoon, in the opening day of the SAF Dirt Classic on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.

Austin Peay (2-2) will look back at the first and second innings and wonder what could have been. In the first, the Govs put two men aboard with one out and then loaded the bases after a second out, but did not score. In the next inning, APSU saw four consecutive batters reach base with one out, scoring a run, but could not scratch across another run and led 1-0 after two frames.

Governors starter Nolan Monaghan made that run stand up through three innings. He retired eight of the first 10 batters he faced through three scoreless frames.

Missouri State (3-1) would break through in the fourth, capitalizing on third baseman Grant Wood’s leadoff walk. He advanced to third on designated hitter Drake Baldwin’s single and scored when the Govs could not turn a double play that would’ve ended the inning, tying the game 1-1.

It would be another inning before the tie would be broken as the Bears gained the lead. Consecutive walks followed a leadoff double to load the bases in the sixth. After a fly out, shortstop Mason Hull earned the third walk of the frame to push across the go-ahead run. Left fielder Greg Ziegler added a RBI single and second baseman John Privitera tacked on a sacrifice fly to extend the MSU lead to 4-1.

Austin Peay’s offense was stymied after second baseman Malcolm Tipler’s single in the fourth, going without a hit the rest of the game. The Govs would earn six walks over the final four innings, including two each in the eighth and ninth innings, but could not put a run on the board.

Govs reliever Ryan Kouba (0-2) suffered the loss in relief after allowing three runs on two hits and four walks in 1.2 innings. Relievers Peyton Jula and Drew McIllwain combined for 3.1 scoreless innings to end the game.

MSU starter Matt Russell (1-0) notched his season’s first win after holding the Govs to one run on four hits and three walks in 5.0 innings.  The Bears bullpen did not allow a run over the final four innings despite walking five batters.

Right fielder Skyler Luna posted Austin Peay’s lone RBI as part of a 1-for-5 day at the plate, and now has a hit and RBI in each of his first four games.  

MSU’s Ziegler had a 2-for-3 outing that was the only multi-hit performance in the game.

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