APSU Men’s Baseball
Jon Clinard Named to Preseason All-OVC Team
Brentwood, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team will enter the 2011 campaign with lowered expectations – at least from the Ohio Valley Conference’s coaches, who picked the team to finish seventh in the league’s preseason poll released, Friday. Junior second baseman Jon Clinard was the only Austin Peay player selected to the OVC’s preseason team.
Jacksonville State was picked to win the league’s regular-season race, receiving four first-place votes and 59 points in the balloting. However, it was closely followed by Southeast Missouri which received three first-place votes and 55 points. In addition, Tennessee Tech was picked third, receiving the two remaining first-place votes and 54 points.Eastern Illinois (36 points), Eastern Kentucky (33) and Murray State (28) were picked to finish fourth through sixth, respectively, ahead of the Govs. Austin Peay received 25 points and was followed by Morehead State (19) and UT Martin (10).
“There are still high expectations by everyone in this program,” said Govs head coach Gary McClure. “Our team wants to win, believes it can win and we have that history of succeeding. I don’t believe we’re going to fly under the radar, we’ve had too good a program to do that.”
Austin Peay will feature a good mix of new and old in 2011 with 14 returning letterwinners joined by 17 newcomers. Clinard will lead the returnees after enjoying two impressive seasons. He followed OVC All-Freshman team recognition at shortstop in 2009 by winning second-team All-OVC honors at second base last season. The switch-hitting Clinard batted .333 last season with 30 RBI and 29 stolen bases and enters his junior campaign with 51 career stolen bases.
“Clinard has been a good player for us,” said McClure. “He’s been a starter in his first two seasons and a catalyst at the top of the order as a leadoff guy. I don’t see that changing. Jon is a good on-base guy and steals bases when he gets on base. He’s a good hitter – he hit over .300 last season. Jon is going to be our leadoff guy and a big part of our team this season.”
Also returning in the infield are first baseman John Hogan (.328, 30 RBI last season) and shortstop Reed Harper (.246, 27 RBI). Meanwhile, the Govs lost their 2010 starter (Chris Lewellyn) at third base, but return junior Greg Bachman, who missed last season with a shoulder injury after serving as the team’s starter at the hot corner in 2009.
The Govs’ greatest shakeup will come in the outfield where only sophomore Cody Hudson (.283, 28 RBI) returns to man left field. The Govs search for starters at center and right field will turn to its roster of seven outfielders. Junior Michael Blanchard returns and will seek to regain his spot in the outfield after a shaky 2010 campaign.
On the mound, Austin Peay lost Ricky Marshall and Stephen Huff, who led the team in games started last season. However, the Govs return senior Ryne Harper, junior Eric Davis and junior Jeremy Dobbs. In addition, senior Jack Snodgrass returns to the roster after missing 2010 due to injury.
The Govs open their 2011 campaign in two weeks with a three-game series against Valparaiso that begins February 18th at Raymond C. Hand Park. Austin Peay will play 29 of its 56 games at home this season.