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Govs waste Thompson’s strong start

APSU Athletics Communications

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Austin Peay starter Tyler Thompson supplied five strong innings, but surrendered a one-run lead late in a 3-2 nonconference loss to Southern Illinois, Tuesday, at Itchy Jones Stadium.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

After two scoreless frames to start the game, Austin Peay saw shortstop Garrett Kueber start the third with a single. The Governors did not allow the opportunity to pass by without pressing the advantage, Kueber promptly stealing his first base of 2019 to get into scoring position. Third baseman Gino Avros then did his job, singling through the middle of the field to drive home Kueber. The early run support allowed starting pitcher Tyler Thompson to pitch with a lead for the first time this season.

WATER COOLER CHATTER

AVROS DELIVERS. Making his sixth start of 2019 and batting leadoff for the second time, Gino Avros again delivered a key RBI. In his second at-bat of the game he singled up the middle (his 4th hit of 2019) to drive in the game’s first run (his 3rd RBI).

THOMPSON SHINES. Starter Tyler Thompson continued to take strides forward on the mound. After tying his longest career start in his first start at Vanderbilt, Feb. 27, he went a then-career-long four innings the next week against Lipscomb. The rangy right-hander took the next step forward against the Salukis, going a career-best five innings while allowing just one run on three hits.

THE REST OF THE STORY

Thompson stormed out of the gates, needing just 13 pitches to get through the first three innings allowing no runs and one hit. He would surrender a run in the fourth after allowing the leadoff batter to reach base but kept the tying run on base to end the fourth. Thompson tacked on a quick scoreless fifth frame and left the mound with a 2-1 lead.

Austin Peay (5-9) would not find success against SIU starter Mason Hiser until the third inning. Shortstop Garrett Kueber singled to start the rally and would steal second base to get into scoring position. Third baseman Gino Avros delivered a single up the middle to drive in Kueber for the game’s first run.

The Govs extended their lead two batters later when right fielder Parker Phillips’ dying line drive eluded the Saluki’s right fielder for a double. Avros, who stole second base earlier, sprinted home and the Govs led 2-0.

Southern Illinois (9-5) threatened to flip the score in the seventh, loading the bases against the Austin Peay bullpen. The Salukis would load the bases with two outs, forcing the Govs to bring in closer Brett Newberg. The pitching change did the trick as Newberg struck out the first batter he faced to hold the lead.

However, Austin Peay would not be as fortunate one inning later as the Salukis pieced together their game-winning rally. Second baseman Nikola Vasic walked to start the frame and then advanced to third on a throwing error. Newberg would get a strikeout for the first out but surrendered a sacrifice fly to third baseman Ian Walters, tying the game.

The Salukis weren’t finished, stringing together three consecutive singles after the sacrifice fly. Right fielder Brad Hudson lifted a single over the head of Kueber at shortstop to bring home the go-ahead run.

Thompson was left with no decision for the third consecutive start. He went a career-best five innings against the Salukis, allowing only one run on three hits. Thompson did not issue a walk to any of the 18 batters he faced while striking out two. Newberg (1-3) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in one inning of work.

Southern Illinois starter Mason Hiser held Austin Peay to two runs on four hits over eight innings to pick up the victory. Trey McDaniel allowed one hit and struck out a batter in a scoreless ninth to notch his fifth save.

Austin Peay returns to Clarksville for a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series against defending champion Tennessee Tech. The series is scheduled to start with a 6 p.m., Friday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.