COLUMBIA, Tenn. – The University of Akron (5-5) baseball team shutout Austin Peay State University (4-8) in the weekend opener on Friday by a final score of 10-0 at Hall Field.
Sophomore John Valek III made his third start of the season, and pitched 6.0 scoreless innings with five hits allowed and five strikeouts. Valek III earned the win improving his record to 2-1 this season.
"Johnny was superb and continued to keep their hitters off balance," Head coach Rick Rembielak said. "He keeps making pitches if he gets behind and doesn't break."
Valek received offensive support even before he stepped on the mound on Friday evening. Sophomore Daulton Mosbarger drew his second walk of the season, which was followed by redshirt junior Joey Havrilak with a two-run home run to put UA up 2-0 heading to the bottom of the first. Havrilak leads the Zips with three homers this season.
Both sides traded scoreless frames in the second, but redshirt Brady Stewart broke up the scoring silence with an RBI single, scoring Havrilak, to put the Zips up 3-0 in the third.
The game would remain at the 3-0 Akron advantage until senior Grant Alvarez ripped an RBI single up the middle to drive in Devan Ahart. Ahart singled and stole two bases before being driven in by Alvarez to bring the game to a 4-0 score.
In the top of the sixth, redshirt senior James Sheltrown reached base on an error by the Governor's centerfielder. He proceeded to steal second and advance to third on an error by APSU's catcher before being driven in on Ahart's first career home run, the second Akron homer of the evening. The Zips led 6-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
Redshirt freshman Evan Jensen took over on the mound after Valek's strong starting performance. Jensen posted a scoreless inning before Akron erupted for a three-run eighth.
Stewart notched his second RBI single of the afternoon, followed by back-to-back runs scoring off of Austin Peay errors to put the Zips up 9-0 going to the bottom half of the eighth.
Ahart capped off the Akron scoring effort with an RBI single in the ninth to plate Havrilak, and bring the contest to its final score of 10-0.
"Our hitters came out swinging from the first pitch and we had many, many quality at bats," Coach Rembielak said. "It's quality especially when our two, three, and four hitters get nine hits.
Freshman Masashi Sakamoto and redshirt junior Myles McVeigh tossed a scoreless inning apiece to finish off the Zips shutout. Akron pitchers combined for 9.0 innings, seven hits allowed, four walks and six strikeouts.
"Overall, it was great game for the entire staff to throw a shutout," Coach Rembielak said of the pitching staff.
The Akron lineup had four players – Havrilak, Ahart, Stewart and Brian Lees – have multi-hit games. Ahart tied career highs and led the offense with three hits, three runs and three RBI.
Akron will look ahead to a game tomorrow against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 3 p.m., on the Austin Peay campus.
Notes from the game…
- This was the first multi-homer game for the Zips this season. Akron last had two home runs in a game when Cale Giddings had two against Central Michigan on May 11, 2013.
- Akron's 10 hits on Saturday marks the sixth time this season with double-digit base hits, including five of the last seven games.
- Ahart stole two bases vs. APSU, pushing his season total to eight. He had 12 in 51 games last year.
- Havrilak's home run puts him tied with Matt LaRocca for the team-high with two apiece. Havrilak now has six career home runs.
- Valek's ERA is the lowest among Akron starters at 0.87 over three starts and four total appearances.