DELAND, Fla. –
Will King’s two-out single in the bottom of the ninth brought home the winning run as Eastern Kentucky University stayed alive in ASUN Conference Tournament pool play with a 3-2 victory over Austin Peay on Wednesday in Deland, Florida.
With one out in the ninth, Max Williams singled through the right side. After a pop up, Logan Thomason kept the inning alive with a walk. Miguel Larreal drew a walk as well to load the bases. On a 3-2 count, King lifted a ball down the left field line and Williams came home with the winning run.
The Colonels (29-29) grabbed the early lead when Larreal beat the throw on a bunt down the first base line and Ron Franklin Jr. scored from third in the third inning. In the fourth, EKU loaded the bases with no outs, but a walk by Roderick Criss II to score King is all the maroon and white got out of it.
The Governors tied it in the top of the sixth. Jon Gazdar singled through the left side to bring home a run. John Bay followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2.
APSU was in position to take the lead on a double down the right field line in the eighth, but Larreal fired it to King, off a relay throw from Criss, to get a runner trying to score from first on the play. The Colonels loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth but came up empty.
Starter Michael Schuler limited Austin Peay to two runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits in eight innings of work. The senior walked three and struck out an EKU career-best 10 batters. In his last seven appearances, Schuler has a 1.75 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 36 innings. He allowed just seven earned runs and 11 walks over that time.
King was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Criss finished 0-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. Larreal was 1-for-3 with two walks and an RBI, extending his streak of reaching base to 27 straight games.
Ambren Voitik had a 2-for-4 game with a run scored for Austin Peay (25-31).
EKU will conclude pool play in the ASUN Tournament on Thursday against Jacksonville State. The game, at Conrad Park, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET. and will air live on ESPN+.
SCOUTING THE NEXT OPPONENT
– Jacksonville State is 26-28 overall after beating Stetson, 6-1, in its opening game of the ASUN Tournament. JSU posted an 18-12 mark in ASUN play. The Gamecocks lost two of their final three conference series.
– First Team All-ASUN outfielder T.J. Reeves has hit a team-best 15 home runs and leads the team in RBIs with 69 while batting .326.
– Second Team All-ASUN second baseman Javon Hernandez leads the team with a .404 batting average and 11 stolen bases. Mason Maners, a Second Team All-ASUN outfielder, scored a team-high 58 runs while hitting .348 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs.
– Jacksonville State is second in the ASUN with a .301 team batting average, second in hits (570) and third in doubles (108). The Gamecock pitching staff has allowed the third fewest hits in the conference and the third-fewest runs.
– Second Team All-ASUN right-hander AJ Causey who is 5-2 with a 4.52 ERA, is expected to start for the Gamecocks. The sophomore struck out 84 and walked only 22 in 73 and two-thirds innings.
INSIDE THE SERIES
– JSU leads the all-time series 33-26. The two teams did not meet during the 2023 regular season, but played seven times in 2022. The Colonels won all seven, sweeping three-game series in Jacksonville and Richmond before picking up a 7-4 win in the 2022 ASUN Tournament.
– In last year’s tournament game, on May 25, 2022, Will King and Charlie Ludwick each finished with three hits and each scored a run. Conner Davis, Ron Franklin Jr. and Jalen Jones drove in two runs each. Rian Yates allowed just one run in four innings on the mound.