May 4, 2012
Governors Win Opener
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Austin took an early lead Friday, held on for a 9-5 win over SIUE in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The first-place Governors widened their lead in the OVC. They are now 27-17 overall and 13-5 in OVC play. SIUE falls to 23-23 and 9-10 in the OVC.
Austin Peay took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, before SIUE answered in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, 1-1. Travis Becherer led off the inning with a bunt single, and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mitch Matecki. Becherer scored on an RBI-single by Joel Greatting. Michael Blanchard put the Govs up to stay in the fourth inning with a three-run triple to left center field.
"The cat got out of the bag early, and it is hard to overcome a big lead," SIUE Associate Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said.
Austin Peay extended the lead to 9-1 before the Cougars scored twice in the seventh thanks in part to back-to-back doubles by James Vazquez and Becherer. Becherer's double drove home Vazquez. Becherer then scored on a groundout by Greatting. The Cougars scored twice more in the bottom of the ninth but couldn't any closer than the 9-5 final.
Becherer was 4 for 5 to lead the Cougars. He added the RBI and two runs.
"Travis did a nice job at the plate," Stoecklin said. "He actually hits very well against left-handers, and that is pretty rare for a college left-handed hitter."
Greatting was 1 for 5 with the two RBIs. Devin Caldwell, Zach Hawkins and Matt Highland each had two hits for the Cougars, who out-hit the Govs 13-12.
Drew Staples (1-2) suffered the loss for the Cougars. He allowed seven runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and did not strike out a hitter.
Blachard finished 2 for 6 with the three RBIs to lead the Govs. Jordan Hankins finished 3 for 5 with a home run and two RBIs
Stoecklin said the team didn't give up Friday, and hopes that attitude continues through the series.
"Hopefully it is something that will carry over," he said.
The Cougars and Govs play the second game of the series Saturday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.