College Sports

Bowling Green grad pitches Austin Peay to win in NCAA opener

Austin Peay starter Jack Snodgrass works in the second inning of an NCAA Regional baseball game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Austin Peay starter Jack Snodgrass works in the second inning of an NCAA Regional baseball game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) ASSOCIATED PRESS

ATLANTA — Jack Snodgrass pitched so well the last two weeks that Austin Peay Coach Gary McClure decided to start him in the first game of the Atlanta Regional.

Good move.

"We came in here expecting to win," said Snodgrass, a former Bowling Green High School standout. "We knew the competition is probably the best we've played all year, but I don't think any of us are surprised with the outcome tonight."

The 6-foot-8 left-hander threw seven strong innings, Jordan Hankins hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh, and Austin Peay stunned Georgia Tech 2-1 in the Atlanta Regional on Friday night.

Zach Toney recorded the last four outs, three on strikeouts, to earn his second save for the Governors (34-22).

Austin Peay took a 2-1 lead on Hankins' fourth homer, a solo shot, and Snodgrass (4-6) pitched out of a jam in the bottom half of the seventh when Jake Davies grounded into his second double play.

Georgia Tech (40-20) left 10 runners on base. The host Yellow Jackets will try to avoid an Atlanta Regional collapse for the third straight year at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Snodgrass, a redshirt senior who missed last year recovering from shoulder surgery, allowed seven hits, one run and three walks and struck out three. He earned the start after striking out 11 and beating Jacksonville State in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament last week.

He won at Tennessee-Martin on May 20.

"It's been wonderful the last two to three weeks," Snodgrass said. "To win the (OVC) tournament and to come here and pitch well means a lot to me and our team. Now we're in a position to make a run at this thing."

Jeremy Dobbs, a Daviess County graduate who was the 2011 OVC pitcher of the year, will start for Austin Peay in the winners' bracket game against Mississippi State at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Matthew Grimes (7-4) replaced Georgia Tech starter Mark Pope, who left with a back injury in the second inning. Georgia Tech Coach Danny Hall said Pope, who was initially injured in a bullpen session Thursday, is not expected to pitch again this weekend.

Grimes gave up three hits, two runs and one walk and struck out eight in 62⁄3 innings.

Mike Hebert, Austin Peay's first reliever, recorded the first two outs of the eighth before hitting Sam Dove with a pitch. Toney ended the threat when pinch-hitter Daniel Palka took a called third strike on the outside corner.

Yellow Jacket fans were furious.

"The only thing I will say is that our fans are very fair, and they're very quiet most of the time," Hall said, "so to hear them react the way they did, that's probably all I've got to say."

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