Govs claim 3-peat spot atop OVC
Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:00 pm
JACKSON — No. 2 seed Austin Peay defeated No. 5 seed Eastern Kentucky 6-3 to capture the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball tournament championship on Saturday at The Ballpark at Jackson.
With the victory Austin Peay (45-13) earned the OVC’s automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.
It is the sixth overall OVC Tournament Championship and third straight for Austin Peay, joining titles the Governors won in 1996, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2012.
The Govs are the first OVC team to three-peat since Middle Tennessee won three-straight from 1990-92.
Austin Peay, ranked No. 26 in the NCBWA Top 30, enters the NCAA Tournament having won 15 in a row and 19 of its last 20.
The team has also now won 10 of its last 11 OVC Tournament games dating back to 2011.
The 45 victories are a new program record for APSU.
The OVC single-season record is 47 by Western Kentucky in 1980.
Austin Peay senior Reed Harper, who hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, started and played in his 233rd career game, tying the OVC career record for games started (Bert Smith, Jacksonville State).
He is one game away from tying the career games played record (also held by Smith).
That three-run home run tied the game after EKU had scored three times in the top of first inning.
Jordan Hankins added a RBI single in the next inning to give the Govs the lead for good although the team added solo insurance runs in the sixth and eighth innings.
In relief of Ryan Quick, All-OVC selection Lee Ridenhour (7-1), making his first appearance in three weeks, picked up the victory.
He allowed just one hit over 2 1/3 innings.
Tyler Rogers finished off the game, recording his 21st save of the season, putting him just two off the NCAA single-season record.
It was Rogers’ 33rd career save, which set a new OVC record.
Cody Hudson and Dylan Riner each had three hits for Austin Peay. Shaun Ball was 3-for-4 for EKU.
It marked the first time that Eastern Kentucky, who has appeared in a record 29 OVC Tournaments, had been in the Championship Round since 2003.
The Colonels had entered this year’s event having lost six-straight OVC Tournament games.
The Govs will play in the Bloomington Regional with host Indiana, Florida and Valparaiso. AP opens with Florida at noon Friday.
Published in The WCP 5.28.13