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Austin Peay Men’s Baseball vs. Illinois State
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay lifts the curtain on its 2012 campaign when it hosts Illinois State in a four-game series, Friday-Sunday, at Raymond C. Hand Park. Austin Peay, the defending Ohio Valley Conference champions, return the bulk of its offense from last season’s team but only one of its weekend starters on the mound returns for 2012.
Illinois State finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference’s race last season and enters the 2012 campaign with a new weekend pitching rotation.Austin Peay was picked to finish first in the OVC’s preseason poll • Four Governors were selected to the league’s preseason team – senior outfielder Michael Blanchard, senior starting pitcher Zach Toney, junior shortstop Reed Harper and sophomore second baseman Jordan Hankins.
Austin Peay returns 7 of its 8 defensive starters from last season • The only loss was first baseman John Hogan who will
On the mound, Austin Peay will seek to fill the holes left by the loss of two weekend starters (Jack Snodgrass and Jeremy Dobbs) and its closer (Ryne Harper) who each were selected in the MLB Draft • Toney is the lone returnee from last season’s weekend rotation and he will be joined by two newcomers (Casey Delgado and Ryan Quick) as well as senior Andy Cox, a reliever last season, in this weekend’s series.
Offensively, the Govs starting nine will feature six players that batted above .300 last season • Bachman (45 RBI) and Harper (43) are the Govs leading RBI producers among returnees.
About the Illinois State Redbirds
Illinois State was picked to finish fifth in the MVC’s preseason poll • ISU will open the season with a 20-game road trip before opening their home slate March 23 • The Redbirds lost all three weekend starters from last season’s squad – Corey Maines was selected in the MLB draft while both Dan Savas and JD Learnard will miss the season due to injury.
Returning weekday starter Brad Sorkin returns, he was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA against Austin Peay last season • Designated hitter Mike Hollenbeck and relief pitcher Kenny Long were selected to the MVC’s preseason team.
Hollenbeck was limited to a .188 batting average in four games against APSU and went on to post a .265 batting average with 42 RBI • APSU tagged Long for two of the four earned runs he would give up all season, but he still notched a relief win while striking out six in 3.2 innings, and finished the campaign with a 4-1 record, six saves and a 0.92 ERA.
Governors at Home
Govenors In Hostile Territory
The Govs have not fared as well as the visitor since 2000, winning just 44.3 percent (129-162 record) of the time in true road contests. Austin Peay has just five .500-or-better road campaigns in the last 11 seasons. Four of their OVC Championships (2004, 05, 07 and 2011) came in years with .500-or-better road records. The Govs other championship (2003) came when they posted a 9-10-1 record on the road.
Austin Peay’s batting order will feature four sophomores that saw varying levels of success last season. The question for the quartet entering the 2012 season will be can they avoid a sophomore slump? Second baseman Jordan Hankins enjoyed the most success of the group and was named to the Preseason All-OVC squad this season.
In addition to Hankins the other sophomores penciled into the starting lineup are right fielder Rolando Gautier and the catching duo of Matt Wollenzin and P.J. Torres.
New Look Rotation
Toney will move into the No. 2 role on opening weekend and will be surrounded by right-handed newcomers Casey Delgado and Ryan Quick, who each had successful junior college careers.
Another big hole in the pitching corps developed when closer Ryne Harper also was selected in the MLB draft last season. However, the Govs found a very capable replacement with junior transfer Tyler Rogers. The first thing teams will notice is Rogers throws with a submarine motion – àl a former Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry. However, he was successful as a junior college closer finishing last season with 13 saves, the third most among junior college hurlers.
Govs Picked To Win OVC in Preseason Poll
Austin Peay was picked to win the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference race in a poll of the league’s baseball coaches. The Govs, who won both the regular season and tournament titles in 2011, received 79 points and seven of the nine possible first-place votes.
Austin Peay was followed closely by Jacksonville State (73 points, 1 firstplace vote) and Tennessee Tech (63 points, 2 first-place votes).
OVC Adopts 3-Day, 3-Game, Format In 2012
In February 2011, the OVC Board of Presidents unanimously approved a change to the league’s regular-season format in baseball. Last season, OVC weekends involved playing three games over two days – a Saturday doubleheader (a nine inning game followed by a seven-inning contest) and a single nine-inning game, Sunday.
Beginning in 2012, the schedule will be three games over three days with one nine-inning contest each day. The revamped format also will require Friday openers to begin between 3:00pm and 6:00pm local time.
Austin Peay Baseball travels to Memphis Wednesday, February 22nd to take on the Memphis Tigers at 4:00pm.
TopicsAndy Cox, APSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Baseball, APSU Men's Baseball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Brad Sorkin, Casey Delgado, Clarksville TN, Corey Maines, Dan Quisenberry, Dan Savas, Governors, Govs, Illinois State, Jack Snodgrass, Jacksonville State, JD Learnard, Jeremy Dobbs, Jordan Hankins, Kansas City Royals, Kenny Long, Major League Baseball, Matt Wollenzin, Michael Blanchard, Mike Hollenbeck, Missouri Valley Conference, MLB Draft, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, OVC Champions, P.J. Torres, Raymond C. Hand Park, Redbirds, Reed Harper, Rolando Gautier, Ryan quick, Ryne Harper, Tennessee Tech, Tyler Childress, Tyler Rogers, Zach Toney
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