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Govs win with pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam

APSU Athletics Communications

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay’s Matthew Joslin entered Tuesday’s game quickly gaining notoriety as a clutch hitter. With one swing of his bat, he only added to his growing legend with his pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam giving the Governors a stunning 12-9 nonconference victory against Southern Illinois on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.

Austin Peay (19-16) entered the ninth inning facing a 9-7 deficit. And if that wasn’t daunting enough, Southern Illinois handed the ball to closer Trey McDaniel, who began the day ranked sixth nationally in saves.

After a strikeout began the inning, the Governors saw four consecutive batters reach base safely. Right fielder Parker Phillips, the third batter in that parade, hit a single to drive in designated hitter Malcolm Tipler, cutting the deficit to one run, 9-8.

Southern Illinois (17-16) walked first baseman Andrew Flaherty to load the bases and get to the bottom of the Austin Peay order. The Salukis got an out away from escaping the danger with a strikeout of the next Governors hitter to the plate.

But Austin Peay had a weapon waiting in its dugout, and head coach turned to Joslin in a pinch-hit role. Joslin quickly fell behind in the count, 1-2, but took the next offering over the wall in straightaway center field for the game-winning grand slam.

Joslin improved to 6-for-8 with 12 RBI in bases-loaded situations for the Governors. The grand slam joins the freshman’s personal highlight reel that began with a two-out, game-tying two-run single that forced extra-innings in Austin Peay’s upset win at then-No. 1 Vanderbilt in February.

Tipler, Phillips and center fielder Garrett Spain each had two RBI to support the 12-run outburst. Spain went 2-for-4 at the plate to boost his batting average to .358 – tops among Ohio Valley Conference freshmen.

Ryan Kouba (1-0) was the beneficiary of the walk-off heroics, securing his first win after allowing one run in the top of the ninth while striking out the side. It was a rough night for the Govs pitching staff with seven pitchers combining to surrender a season-high tying 10 walks while striking out eight.

The Salukis posted just five hits in the contest, third baseman Grey Epps leading the way with a 2-for-3, two RBI outing. McDaniel (1-3), the fifth Salukis pitcher of the day, suffered the loss after allowing five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Austin Peay begins a four-game road trip when it travels to UT Martin for a three-game OVC series scheduled to start Thursday at Skyhawk Baseball Field.