» By TRENT SINGER – tsinger@my.apsu.edu

The Bat Govs opened their 2012 season on Friday, Feb. 17, against the Illinois State Red Birds at home, in which the Govs won the first of a four-game series, 9-6.

It was senior third baseman Greg Bachman who helped lead the Govs to their third consecutive opening-day victory. Bachman ended the day with six RBI, three of which came from a home run in the first inning.

Junior left fielder Cody Hudson contributed a single-run home run in the fifth inning to help the team extend its lead, 9-5.

Shortstop Reed Harper went 4-for-5 at bat on the day, including one of six RBI in the first two innings of the game.

Although the Govs allowed six runs in their opening-day matchup against the Red Birds, they displayed a nearly perfect defensive effort in Saturday’s double-header.

APSU stifled Illinois State in the first game, 2-0, by only allowing four hits defensively.

Senior LHP Zach Toney improved to 1-0, throwing five strikeouts and allowing only four hits. In the second inning, Toney overcame the Red Birds threatening with bases loaded. Senior center fielder Michael Blanchard also helped by hitting a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate.

However, the second game provided a dramatic finish to send the Govs to 3-0. After three and a half scoreless innings, the Govs came to the bat tied with the Red Birds in the bottom of the seventh.

Already having one RBI on the day, Harper added his second after hitting a walk-off home run, giving the Govs a 3-2 win and solidifying an impressive three-game start to the season.

The junior out of Clarksville High School finished the game hitting 3-for-4, while helping his team defensively to allow only four hits in the game. APSU began the game allowing two Illinois State runs in the first inning, but fought back to tie it up in the second and third innings.

Despite the dramatic win, APSU struggled mightily in Sunday’s matchup. Determined to win, the Red Birds cruised to a 10-1 victory, dropping the Govs to 3-1 in their first series of the season.

The Govs will now take to the road this week to play Memphis on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and Georgia State Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26.

Following the series of road games, the Govs will come home to host Iowa, Akron and Youngstown State in the Riverview Inn Classic, March 2-4. TAS