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Rye, three relievers shut out defending OVC champs

APSU Athletics Communications

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay starting pitcher Josh Rye combined with three relievers to toss a four-hit shutout as the Govs opened the home portion of its OVC schedule with a 6-0 victory against defending champion Tennessee Tech on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park Friday.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

Saving pitching for later in the series is always a top concern in Game 1 of a series. Garrett Spain’s three-run double in the seventh went a long way to helping save the Govs bullpen. The freshman center fielder saw first baseman Parker Phillips intentionally walked in front of him to load the bases with two out. Spain fell behind in the count 1-2 and fouled off a pitch before taking another ball to level the count. He then drove the next pitch down the first-base line and past the TTU first baseman into the corner for a bases-clearing hit to double the Govs lead.

WATER COOLER CHATTER

GOVS HALT TECH TEAR. Austin Peay’s shutout win ended Tennessee Tech’s six-game win streak in the series which was tied for its longest win streak in the series. In addition, it was the Governors first shutouts of the Golden Eagles since back-to-back 6-0 shutouts in a 2005 doubleheader – those twin shutouts were complete game efforts tossed by Rowdy Hardy (nine innings) and Devin Thomas (seven innings).

ESPN FRIENDLY. Friday’s game against Tennessee Tech was the Govs first home game broadcast on ESPN+ this season. The Governors improved to 2-0 on game’s broadcast on the ESPN digital networks. APSU defeated No. 1 Vanderbilt in a game broadcast on the SEC Network +.

THE REST OF THE STORY

Rye (2-2) faced trouble only in the first inning when Tennessee Tech put two runners aboard with two outs, but a TTU base runner was hit by a batted ball, ending the threat. The Governors starter battled his way through the next four innings, with a 16-pitch fifth inning the most comfortable frame he had in his outing.

Austin Peay (6-9, 2-2 OVC) quickly worked to provide Rye with run support, with five consecutive base hits in the bottom of the first providing three runs. Catcher David Martinez drove in the game’s first run with a single that was the fourth hit in the barrage. Left fielder Malcolm Tiplerfollowed with a two-run double and an early 3-0 lead.

Neither team would threaten to score over the next five innings. Rye and reliever Ryan Kouba kept Tennessee Tech off the scoreboard. Meanwhile, TTU reliever Nic Dye entered the game to start the second inning and began his outing with five scoreless frames.

However, Dye ran into trouble in the seventh as he hit a batter and walked another before departing the game. He was relieved by Daniel Holley who struck out the first batter he faced before Tennessee Tech intentionally walked first baseman Parker Phillips to get to center fielder Garrett Spain. The Govs freshman fell behind in the count but leveled the count at 2-2 before lacing a double down the right-field line, clearing the bases and doubling the Govs lead to secure the win.

Rye picked up the win after five scoreless innings that saw him strike out six batters while scattering three hits and three walks. Kouba added two innings of relief followed by single innings from Tucker Weaver and Luke Brown to seal the Govs’ second shutout of 2019.

Spain went 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Govs offensive effort. Martinez went 1-for-4 with an RBI and Tipler chipped in a 1-for-3, two RBI outing.

TTU starter Caleb Morgan (1-3) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on five hits in the first inning. Shortstop Jay Meuse’s 2-for-4 night at the plate accounted for half the Golden Eagles offense.

Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech resume their three-game series with a 1 p.m., Saturday contest at Hand Park. Austin Peay will turn to left-hander Jacques Pucheu (2-0, 1.08 ERA) against Tennessee Tech right-hander Caleb Morgan (1-0, 2.95 ERA).