Late Austin Peay Rally Defeats Redbirds 7-6
Junior Kitt Kopach pitched well in the Redbird loss
Junior Kitt Kopach pitched well in the Redbird loss

Feb. 23, 2006

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - The Illinois State baseball team went into the bottom of the ninth inning with a comfortable 6-3 lead at Raymond C. Hand Park, however the Austin Peay Governors were not ready to give up at their home field and rallied to score four runs in the bottom half of the inning to win to defeat the Redbirds 7-6 on Thursday at the Austin Peay Invitational. It was Austin Peay's second-straight game in which they won in their last at-bat.

Junior Luke Baughman (0-0) was straddled with the loss for ISU (0-1), after earning all four APSU runs in the ninth. Baughman pitched 1.2 innings in relief of Dan Sorce and starter Kitt Kopach, who pitched 5.1 strong innings and struck out four. Matt Reynolds (1-0) earned the win for the Governors, after pitching 1.1 innings of relief of three other APSU pitchers.

After both teams failed to score runs in the first five innings, the Governors got on the board first, scoring two runs on three hits in the bottom of the sixth inning. Brandon Munsey led off the inning with a single off Kopach and Cody Youngblood walked to give APSU two runners on base. Matt Ledbetter followed and flew out to right field, advancing Munsey to third. Munsey scored on the next at-bat when Ryan Kane hit a sacrifice fly to right field, giving APSU the lead 1-0. The Governors would add a second run in the inning when Will Hogue singled to center field, scoring Youngblood from third to bring the score to 2-0.

However, ISU would answer quickly with four runs in the top of the seventh inning and take the lead 4-2. Senior center fielder Kris Jenkins led off the inning with a double to center field off of APSU pitcher Corey Gunter. After Matt Bolt was hit by a pitch, Ryan Anetsberger singled to left field to load the bases with no outs. Freshman Kevin Dubler then walked to score Jenkins and earn his first collegiate RBI to bring the score closer at 2-1.



Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Kyle O'Brien and Gabe DeMarco gave the Redbirds the lead at 3-2. ISU would tack on one more run when Dubler scored on a Schoonover single, bringing the score 4-2 after half-way through the seventh inning.

Austin Peay got a run back in the top of the eighth inning when Ryan Kane scored on a passed ball to bring the score to 4-3. But, the Redbirds scored two more runs in the top of the ninth inning to bring the score 6-3 going into the bottom of the inning. However, the Governors mounted four-run rally, and dashed the `Birds' hope of a season-opening win.

With two outs in the inning, Cody Youngblood reached first base for APSU when he was called safe on a bang-bang play with Baughman covering. After Baughman loaded the bases, Ryan Kane hit a three-run homerun over the right field fence that tied the score at 6-6. APSU would push across one more run on a fielder's choice to win the game 7-6 in wild fashion.

Six different Redbirds pushed runs across the plate and seven players recorded hits. Anetsberger led the way, going 3-for-5 and extending his hit streak from last season to 16 games. Kane's four RBI paced the Governors, while Youngblood added two hits on the day.

ISU will try to rebound Friday against Dayton in its second game of the third-annual APSU Invitational. Freshman Ian Berger will take the mound for the Redbirds, with the first pitch scheduled for 11:00 a.m.