Baseball is a game that requires three different areas — pitching, hitting, and defense — to be successful.

APSU hasn’t had many games this season where a complete game was played, but the Govs were nearly perfect in all areas against UT Martin in Game 2 of the series. APSU defeated the Skyhawks 10-2 on Sunday, May 11 at Raymond C. Hand Park to even the series at one game a piece.

After getting just two innings out of the starting pitcher on Saturday, the Govs received a great pitching performance by sophomore Jared Carkuff in a time of need. The right-hander earned his third win of the season, setting new career-highs in innings pitched (seven) and strikeouts (six). Carkuff pitched out of two early jams to strand runners on base, and kept his walk total down which is what has hurt him throughout 2014.

“(Pitching coach Joel) Mangrum has been preaching it for the past two or three weeks, just pound the zone, pound the zone,” Carkuff said. “My timing was the main thing tonight. I was spot on with everything. My slider at times got off, but everything was (timed) mainly.”

It always helped to have a good defense behind the pitcher, and Carkuff has praised the position players behind him all season. But the defense, who committed no errors, made several highlight catches to rob hitters of base hits with Carkuff on the mound. Cayce Bredlau made an impressive diving catch in center field, while Ridge Smith did the same in left when ranging to his right. The infield also did its job to body up sharply hit balls.

While UT Martin recorded 13 hits on the night, they only had two runs to show for it, and those didn’t come until the eighth inning. On the flip side, the Govs racked up 16 hits, and capitalized with runners on base to come away with double-digits.

“We were much more relaxed as hitters today,” APSU head coach Gary McClure said. “We had really gotten out of our element at the plate with everybody trying to do too much, and tonight I thought we let the game come to us. We didn’t try to make up for everybody else and stayed within to swing the bats a lot better.”

Bredlau led the Govs with a 3-for-4 day at the plate from the two hole in the lineup, with a home run away from hitting for the cycle. The speedy freshman hit his first triple of the season, and also drove in a run with a double to help the offense click on senior day. With the older players being honored in their final home series, Bredlau said the attitude was more up beat than usual.

For the second-straight game, Alex Robles put the Govs on the scoreboard first as he drove in Rolando Gautier for APSU’s first run. Another three hits would come in the opening inning — all with two outs — with P.J. Torres finishing off the good start as a two RBI double was placed just inside the third base line.

The Govs finished with eight extra base hits in the contest, and will look to carry that momentum over into the finale with hopes of winning a much-needed series. First pitch on Monday, May 12 will be at noon with senior Alex Belew making his final appearance in front of the home crowd.

Photo: Jared Carkuff (Corey Adams/The All State)