April 19, 2017
Austin Peay Beats Western Kentucky 7-3
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Junior starting pitcher John Sparks set the tone with four scoreless innings and Austin Peay State University’s baseball team notched a 7-3 nonconference victory against Western Kentucky, Wednesday night at Nick Denes Field.
Sparks, making his first start of 2017, delivered his best outing with four scoreless frames. He retired the first seven batters he faced, striking out two, before surrendering a one-out single in the third. Sparks returned in the fourth and walked back-to-back batters with one out, but battled back with two fly ball outs to end his night.
LONG BALL LIFTOFF. Redshirt freshman Parker Phillips launched a leadoff home run in the seventh inning for his eighth home run this season. It also is the sixth consecutive game the Govs have posted a home run, launching 11 home runs in that span.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE. Phillips also had two doubles as part of his 3-for-4 outing. He was one of four hitters with a double in the contest, the Govs finishing with five doubles. That tally included three doubles in the second inning.
WALK THIS WAY. Austin Peay also worked six walks out of the Hilltoppers pitching staff. The Governors have displayed their patience at the plate over the last three games, earning 24 walks in those contests.
THE FULL RECAP
Austin Peay (17-18) supplied Sparks early run support, using three doubles and a single to plate two runs in the second inning. Center fielder Imani Willis pushed across the Govs first run with a double that followed designated hitter Brett Newberg‘s earlier double. Two batters later, left fielder Malcolm Tipler extended the lead with his RBI double.
Sparks (2-1) made the most of the early run support, retiring the first seven batters he faced. Shortstop Kevin Lambert singled with one out in the third and the Hilltoppers used an out to move him to second. Govs catcher Parker Phillips then helped his teammate by gunning down Lambert at third base to end the frame.
Phillips would use his bat to help pad the Govs lead in the fifth, lacing a double into the left center gap to drive in a run. Austin Peay would tack on a fourth run courtesy a WKU error.
The Govs offense tacked on another two spot in the sixth. Center fielder Imani Willis led off the inning with a single and right fielder Chase Hamilton kept the inning alive with a two-out single. Third baseman Alex Robles smashed a double into left field, scoring two runs and extending the Govs lead to 6-0.
Western Kentucky (12-26) failed to break through against Sparks, squandering back-to-back one out walks in the fourth. Govs reliever Tyler Thompson did not provide the Hilltoppers any openings early in his outing, retiring six of the first seven batters he faced.
The Hilltoppers used a pair of doubles in the seventh to spark a rally. Catcher Hunter Wood and First baseman Chris Rogers hit the consecutive doubles to break up the shutout bid. Thompson would get two outs on the board before surrendering a run-scoring single to pinch hitter Grayson Ivey. The Govs righty would end the Hilltopers best rally with a strikeout to sustain a 7-2 Govs lead.
Sparks notched the win in his first start this season after four scoreless frames that saw him allow just one hit while striking out three.
Phillips led the Govs offense with a 3-for-4, two RBI effort that included two doubles and a leadoff home run in the seventh inning. Robles also finished with three hits and two RBI.
WKU starter Bailey Sutton (1-1) could not escape the loss despite holding the Govs to two runs on six hits over his three innings. Six different WKU hitters recorded a hit each.
Austin Peay returns home to begin a four-game homestand when it hosts Morehead State in a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series. That set is scheduled to begin with a 6 p.m., Friday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park in Clarksville.
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