BASEBALL: Western swings easily past Peay

Amber North

Austin Peay could not extinguish the fire the Hilltoppers brought to its home field last night.

The Toppers won their third of four games by smacking the Governors out of the ballpark 13-1. In the third and fourth innings, they bashed 11 runs.

“I think we had quality at-bats and Austin Peay pitchers could not find their strike zone,” coach Joel Murrie said. “It was a combination of what we did right and some of their mistakes and we took advantage.”

Players were unavailable for comment.

Senior right fielder Matt Gunning continued to showcase his prolific hitting, bombing his fourth home run in four games. He went 2-5 for the game and had a game-high four runs batted in.

“There’s a reason why hitters are successful: they understand the strike zone,” Murrie said. “Matt is in complete control at his at-bats. I’m not surprised (at his success) because his approach is outstanding.”

There was only one time where the game was close – in the first inning when Austin Peay tied with Western 1-1.

After that, it became the Hilltopper bat-off at Peay’s Raymond C. Hand Park.

The second inning was scoreless for both teams until Gunning’s 11th home run of the season put three runs on the board to make it 4-1.

After eight more runs in the fourth, the game was already in the bag.

Freshman starter Ryan Landrum got his second win of the season and remains undefeated. He threw out four batters in five innings. He allowed only one run on four hits.

“Landrum had quality pitching and his mound presence was outstanding, particularly in the second inning on out,” Murrie said.

In the last four games, the Toppers have plated 46 runs total. Although those numbers are impressive, Murrie said that it’s just another expectation of the ball team.

“With all respect to the previous games we’ve played this season, playing well now is more important over the next 20-plus ball games and in the tournament,” Murrie said. “Hopefully, it’ll be a good sign of what we can expect in the next several weeks.”

The beginning of those several weeks starts tomorrow night at Nick Denes Field against South Alabama. ,The game starts at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game will played at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1 p.m.

The Jaguars are currently fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 4-2 record, 15-18 record overall.

But they are still a strong force for the Toppers to reckon with.

“We better play every out in the fullest potential,” Murrie said. “South Alabama is probably the one ball club that I respect with how they approach every game.”

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