Over the weekend, Raymond C. Hand Park played host to six baseball games as three teams, along with the Govs, took part in the Riverview Inn Classic from March 8-10.
Milwaukee, Creighton, and the University of Arkansas-Little Rock traveled to the home site of the Governors, as each team went head-to-head with each another one time.
Austin Peay finished with the best record of the weekend, going 3-0 to improve the winning streak to five. The Govs also broke the record for the best start to the season in school history with a record of 13-2, surpassing the previous mark in 1958.
In the Gov’s opening game on Friday against Milwaukee, they were able to win in extra innings 4-3 with the help of a sacrifice bunt by Cody Hudson to score Kevin Corey from third. The winning hit was the second in the past three games for Hudson, who blasted the walk-off home run last Sunday to defeat Michigan State.
“We’ve had a lot of come from behind wins,” Hudson said. “We got guys that are relentless and won’t stop, the cardiac Govs.”
Lee Ridenhour pitched nine strong innings for Austin Peay, but the win was awarded to Tyler Rogers in the tenth by shutting down the Panthers for Hudson to deliver.
“It was a good win because we were down to two outs and were resilient enough to get a base runner, get him around, and get him in,” head coach Gary McClure after the win to break the record. “We didn’t play good tonight, but you keep score for one reason, that’s to win, and we did that tonight.”
Game two on Saturday afternoon was against the Creighton Blue Jays, who were ranked just below Austin Peay in college baseball’s mid-major poll.
In a hard fought battle with many emotions shown, the Govs edged out Creighton 9-8 thanks once again to Hudson.
Both teams went back and forth on the scoreboard the entire game, but in the eighth, Hudson led his “cardiac Govs” with a two RBI double to bring across Rolando Gautier and Corey, giving the Govs a two-run cushion after being tied 7-7.
Kacy Kemmer came on in relief for Casey Delgado midway through the game, allowing just one run on one hit to allow Austin Peay to take over. In the ninth, the ball was handed to the closer Rogers, and even with a bases loaded jam, picked up the win.
“That was an emotional, roller coaster game,” Rogers said following the game. “Kemmer did a great job keeping us in the game and we just kept getting big hits.”
On Sunday, the Govs wrapped up the Riverview Inn Classic with a 8-4 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock, with starting pitcher Zach Hall picking up the win by going seven innings, allowing three runs, and striking out six batters.
The offense contributed to 12 hits leading to eight runs, with catcher P.J. Torres giving the Govs a spark in the third with a three-run home run to center field.
“We knew it was going to be a grind today,” Torres said. “This wasn’t an easy tournament at all, but we did what we had to do by getting runs on the board.”
Austin Peay will be back at home Tuesday against Indiana State before traveling to Nashville to take on Lipscomb Wednesday. Ohio Valley Conference play kicks off next week for the Govs as they travel to Eastern Illinois for a three-game weekend series.
“It’s crazy with the record we’ve started with, but we can’t let off the gas pedal,” senior Reed Harper stated. “Conference games start next weekend, so it’s going to become even tougher.”