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Austin Peay earns OVC's automatic NCAA berth
The Governors beat Jacksonville State to win the tournament.
PADUCAH, Ky. -- Austin Peay proved it was the Ohio Valley Conference's best baseball team during the regular season by winning the league championship.
The top-seeded Governors also proved it during the OVC tournament as they went 3-0 to capture the title, capped by Saturday's 3-2 victory over second-seeded Jacksonville State.
Austin Peay (39-20) earns the OVC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The regional pairings will be announced Monday.
Jacksonville State (33-27), which lost to Austin Peay 2-1 in Friday's winner's bracket final, gave the Govs a serious scare and threatened to force one more game to decide the title today.
But Austin Peay scored two unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to erase a 2-1 deficit.
Ryne Mantooth (8-3) was the winning pitcher, allowing five hits and two runs in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Ben Wilshire earned his ninth save with 1 2/3 scoreless frames.
Clark Jinks, who had made just four starts all season and entered Saturday with an 8.91 ERA, gave the Gamecocks a strong start.
Jinks allowed seven hits and two runs, one earned, in 6 1/3 innings. He fanned seven and walked two.
Alex Jones (2-3) took the loss as he was charged with the go-ahead, unearned run in the seventh.
Jake Lane had three of the Govs' 10 hits, including an RBI single in the seventh that put Austin Peay ahead to stay.
Austin Peay, which had by far the OVC's top ERA this year, allowed just four runs in the tournament.
The Gamecocks advanced to the championship round of the double-elimination event by beating fourth-seeded Samford 10-8 earlier Saturday.
Austin Peay led the 14-player all-tournament team with five selections, topped by tourney MVP Matt Reynolds, the winning pitcher in Friday's game.
Also selected from the Govs was OVC pitcher of the year Shawn Kelley, who beat Samford 5-1 on Thursday with a complete game.
Southeast Missouri State, which went 1-2 in the tournament, was represented on the all-tourney squad by freshman Jim Klocke, who had five hits in 10 at-bats.