Over the weekend, the APSU baseball team picked up two wins to start the season 2-0. APSU was picked to finish fourth in the OVC preseason poll, but the Govs seek to gain their fifth OVC tournament win in six years under coach Gary McClure.
During the first game on Friday, Feb. 13, the Governors rallied back from a six-run deficit to defeat the Niagra University Purple Eagles 15-7.
Gov starter Zach Hall struggled early, allowing three early runs for the Purple Eagles and being pulled in the second inning. That brought in Kacy Kemmer in, who immediately allowed back-to-back hits, extending Niagra’s lead to 6-0.
The Govs fought back, adding two runs, while Niagra added one more to make their lead 7-2 at the top of the sixth. However, that would be the last of Niagra scoring.
Thanks to shortstop Clayton Smithson’s two-run double and catcher Ridge Smith’s RBI triple, the game was tied 7-7 in the bottom of the sixth. In the seventh inning, the Govs extended the lead to 13-7. The eighth inning was the final inning of scoring for the Govs, as they added two more to complete the winning score of 15-7.
Freshman lefty pitcher John Sparks struck out four and held Niagra to only one hit in three innings, only allowing three walks.
Game two on Saturday, Feb. 14, turned into a pitcher’s duel. APSU starter Jared Carkuff and South Dakota State starter Chris Anderson kept the game scoreless through four innings.
SDSU scored first off of APSU errors. The Govs did not respond until the sixth inning, when center fielder Patrick Massoni led off with a double, while left fielder Cayce Bredlau hit a single, bringing runners to the corners.
Massoni scored on a wild pitch, and Bredlau advanced to second, snagging an extra base on an SDSU error in the same play. Designated hitter Alex Robles sacrifice flied to center field, giving Bredlau a chance to move up 90 more feet, giving APSU a 2-1 lead over the Jackrabbits.
The Govs put one more run on the board in the seventh inning, with Massoni hitting an RBI single. Carkuff picked up his first win of the season, helping the Govs to 2-0 while only allowing one run on five hits in over six innings, also striking out four batters.
Alex Roble helped Govs with his first save of the season.