Tyler Rogers pitched a scoreless ninth as the Govs defeated UT-Martin 4-0 Saturday at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Clarksville, Tenn. Entering his start against UT-Martin, Austin Peay pitcher Casey Delgado had struggled to piece together consistent quality outings.
Turns out he was just waiting for the right time.
Making his first start in 11 days, worked out of a pair of early jams while striking out a career-high seven batters as the Govs clinched their Ohio Valley Conference home opening series with a 4-0 win over the Skyhawks Saturday at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Delgado had a few scary moments early, putting a pair of runners in scoring position in both the second and fourth innings. Solid defense from his infield, however, allowed Delgado to escape the innings unscathed.
Then, after the early scares, Delgado was virtually unhittable, scattering five hits none of which were of the extra-base variety over seven innings in the win (4-2).
I felt like I was dialed in out there this afternoon, Delgado said. It was great to know my teammates had my back behind me as well as at the plate. Everyone is really playing well right now.
Despite allowing a pair of runners in scoring position in both early jams, Delgado showed great command of both his fastball as well as a slew of offspeed pitches.
That’s what Casey is capable of doing, Govs head coach Gary McClure said. That’s what we saw him do when we recruited him. He really pitched well. That might have been the best performance we’ve seen on the mound all season.
Govs reliever Zane Leffew came on to replace Delgado to start the eighth and closer Tyler Rogers came on in the ninth to extend the Govs perfect start to the OVC portion of their schedule and record their first shutout of the season.
It feels like everyone is just dialed in, Delgado said. We’ve got to take games one at a time, but we have been playing really well as of late.
Delgado’s counterpart, Skyhawks starter Willie Frederick, was equally as impressive early taking a no-hitter through the game’s first four innings.
In the fifth, however, the Govs parlayed their first hit of the afternoon into the game’s opening run when Reed Harper’s leadoff triple led to an RBI single for Govs catcher Matt Wollenzin.
I thought our guys hung in there really well, McClure said. Once we got going, we really started to bear down and getting confident with the way (Delgado) was pitching.
One inning later, Govs second baseman Jordan Hankins smashed his second home run of the weekend when he powered a 2-1 pitch from Frederick over the right field wall.
After taking the mound for the seventh inning, Frederick would be pulled in favor of reliever Dan Tobik after issuing a leadoff walk which ultimately led to the Govs third run of the afternoon.
Austin Peay clinched its ninth straight OVC series with Saturday's 4-0 win over UT-Martin.
Despite the strong start, Frederick’s five hits and lone walk proved to be costly in the loss (1-4) for the Skyhawks (8-18, 2-3 OVC).
I thought (Frederick) did a really great job on the mound, McClure said. He did a great job of mixing his pitches up and keeping us off balance.
Harper and first baseman Tyler Childress led the way at the plate for the Govs, with each recording a pair of hits in the victory.
Jon Clinard recorded the final insurance RBI for the Govs in the eighth, setting the stage for Rogers to close out the ninth.
With the win, the Govs extended their school record ninth straight OVC series win a record dating back their second series of the season in 2011.
The win also marked the first nine-inning shutout for McClure and his ball club since a 7-0 win over Centenary on March 20, 2010.
Those things are nice, McClure said. But we’ve got to come out and play hard tomorrow. We’ve got to come out and try and finish this thing up. It won’t be easy. UT-Martin is a really good ball club.
Playing without the services of starter Zach Toney, who was listed as inactive this weekend due to an upper-body injury, McClure said reliever Mike Hebert is expected to make Sunday’s spot start.
I think he’s going to compete and throw strikes, McClure said. He’s going to battle for us tooth and nail. He started in junior college so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before. I think he’ll keep us in the ballgame and get it to relievers with a chance to win.
First pitch in Sunday’s series finale is set for 1 p.m. at Raymond C. Hand Park.
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TopicsAP, APSU, Austin Peay, Austin Peay State University, Baseball, Casey Delgado, Clarksville Sports Network, Gary McClure, Jordan Hankins, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Reed Harper, Tennessee, Tyler Childress, UT-Martin, Willie Frederick