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APSU Baseball hosts OVC Leader Belmont this weekend

 

APSU Sports Information 

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team’s five-game in six-day homestand continues with a crucial Ohio Valley Conference series against league-leading Belmont, Friday-Sunday, on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.

The Governors saw their seven-game home win streak halted by Murray State, Wednesday.

Austin Peay Baseball plays Belmont this weekend at Raymond C. Hand Park. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Baseball plays Belmont this weekend at Raymond C. Hand Park. (APSU Sports Information)

It was an uncharacteristic offense outing for the Govs as they outhit the Racers but could not produce a timely hit, going 0-for-16 in RBI opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Govs pitching staff continued a strong stretch that has seen it post a 3.04 ERA over the last nine games.

This weekend’s series will feature two of the OVC’s top pitching staffs. Belmont, which suffered its first road lass Tuesday at Southern Illinois, enters the weekend with a league-leading 2.25 ERA and 75 strikeouts in OVC play. Austin Peay owns a 3.23 ERA with 84 strikeouts in league play while also limiting opponents to a .220 batting average that is best in the league.

First Hacks

Fifteen different Governors have started a game in the season’s first 21 games. Only two players have started every game in 2019: center fielder Garrett Spain and utility man Parker Phillips.

Entering this week’s action, Austin Peay has played the nation’s 58th-toughest nonconference schedule according to D1Baseball.com. It is the toughest nonconference slate among OVC teams.

Senior catcher David Martinez leads all Govs hitters with a .364 batting average that is 21st among Division I catchers and sixth in the OVC. His team-leading .462 on-base percentage is sixth among OVC hitters.

Center fielder Garrett Spain has reached base in all 23 games as a Governor. His .333 batting average leads all OVC freshman hitters.

Junior utility man Parker Phillips became the Governors career home run leader in Sunday’s series finale against Southeast Missouri. He is ranked fifth among OVC hitters in slugging percentage (.600) entering the weekend.

Redshirt senior Garrett Kueber has made 10 consecutive starts at shortstop and coincidentally owns a 10-game hit streak. He has batted .310 (13-for-42) during the streak, primarily as the Govs No. 2 hitter.

Freshman Gino Avros has a base hit in six of his last nine games and has pushed his season batting average up 31 points.

Sophomore Bobby Head has a hit and RBI in each of his last five games. He is batting .313 (5-for-16) during the hit streak with five RBI. He hit his third home run of 2019 in Wednesday’s outing against Murray State.

Freshman designated hitter Matt Joslin saw his three-game hit streak stopped in Tuesday’s game against Middle Tennessee. He has reached base safely 11 of his 14 games played this season.

Junior outfielder Malcolm Tipler is batting .308 (8-for-26) with six RBI in the nine games since his return to the starting lineup.

Sophomore first baseman John McDonald saw his six-game hit streak end against Murray State, Wednesday. He was batting .350 (7-for-20) with five RBI during the streak, bumping his average up 126 points.

Senior outfielder Aaron Campbell and junior outfielder Tyler Hubbard have both been late defensive substitutes for the Govs over the past two weeks.

Toeing The Rubber

In his first two starts as the Govs series-opening starter, lefty Josh Rye has a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA with nine strikeouts in 10 innings pitched.

Left-hander Jacques Pucheu is ranked 31st nationally with a 1.22 ERA in his six starts. He also is listed among Division I’s Top 50 in hits allowed per nine (16th, 4.38) and walks + hits per inning (23rd, 0.78).

Righty Brandon Vial has wins in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. He has a 1.64 ERA with 14 strikeouts over 11 innings pitched in those two wins.

Senior closer Brett Newberg was named the OVC Pitcher of the Week, Monday, after picking up a pair of saves. He has allowed one base runner in his last four appearances (5.0 innings).

Weekend starters have combined to post a 3.01 ERA this season with 101 strikeouts in 89.2 innings pitched  (10.14 K/9) while limiting opponents to a .223 batting average.

 

APSU Govs vs. Belmont Bruins

Austin Peay and Belmont have met 111 times previously. The Govs own a 72-39 lead in the series, including a 28-15 margin in Clarksville.

The Govs have not lost an OVC series to the Bruins. Since Belmont joined the OVC in 2013, Austin Peay holds a 14-7 record.

Pitching Matchups

Date Austin Peay Starter Opposing Starter
Fri., 3/29 LHP Josh Rye (3-2, 5.76 ERA) RHP Casey Queener (2-0, 2.39 ERA)
Sat., 3/30 LHP Jacques Pucheu (3-0, 1.22 ERA) RHP Joshua South (2-2, 2.81)
Sun., 3/31 RHP Brandon Vial (2-2, 3.04) RHP Korey Bell (0-1, 5.50)

 

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