APSU Men’s Baseball
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team continues its season-opening six-game homestand when it hosts the Riverview Inn Classic, Friday-Sunday. The Govs will face Illinois State in a 3:00pm, Friday contest before battling Milwaukee in a 2:30pm contest both Saturday and Sunday. In addition, Illinois State and Milwaukee will meet in an 11:00am contest both Saturday and Sunday.The Govs (3-0) began the 2011 campaign with a three-game series sweep of Valparaiso last weekend, sandwiching an 11-10, 11-inning Saturday victory between 7-3 wins both Friday and Sunday. Valparaiso scored first in all three contests, but the Govs scored 23 of their 25 runs in the fourth through eighth innings to post the come-from behind wins.
Freshman second baseman Jordan Hankins – the OVC’s “Player of the Week” – led the Govs with eight hits (.615 BA)) and five RBI on the weekend. Freshman outfielder Rolando Gautier had seven hits (.700 BA) in the weekend’s final two games with four extra-base hits. They led an offensive effort that posted a .342 batting averaging on the weekend with 11 extra-base hits.
Austin Peay’s pitching staff also got off to a good start, posting a 4.34 ERA and limiting the Crusaders to a .259 batting average. More impressively, Govs pitchers surrendered just 16 walks in 29 innings while striking out 30. Junior transfer Zach Toney – the OVC “Pitcher of the Week” – punctuated the end of the weekend when he retired all 12 batters he faced to close Sunday’s contest.
Illinois State (2-2) split its season-opening four-game series at Belmont, winning the series opener (9-4) and series finale (3-1). Senior third baseman Ryan Court and senior first baseman Zach Amrein each had five hits to lead the Redbirds offense, which hit .241 on the opening weekend. Freshman starter Dan Savas allowed one run over six innings to pick up the victory in Sunday’s win.
Milwaukee (1-2) won the final game (9-6) of its three-game set at Tennessee last weekend. The Panthers were shutout (4-0) in the opener and saw a late rally come up short (7-6) in Saturday’s game. Junior third baseman Paul Hoenecke and senior outfielder Doug Dekoning – the Horizon League “Player of the Week” – each had six hits at Tennessee, leading an offensive effort that posted a .295 batting average. The Panthers pitching staff surrendered just 17 runs to the Volunteers, junior reliever Greg Blohowiak picked up the staff’s lone victory and tossed 3.2 scoreless innings over two appearances.
Notes From The Week That Was
First baseman John Hogan’s home run in the series opener against Valparaiso was the first home run in a season opener since Jake Peterson in 2005. Second baseman Jordan Hankins and catcher P.J. Torres recorded their first respective collegiate hit in the February 18th opener, which also was their respective birthdays. Designated hitter Tyler Childress also recorded a hit in his first APSU at-bat. Hankins finished the day 4-for-5, spraying a hit to all three parts of the outfield.
Center fielder Rolando Gautier was the freshman with the hot hand in Saturday’s contest, going 5-for-6 in his first turn in the lineup, his sixth “hit” went through the first baseman’s legs ala Bill Buckner and was scored an error.
Hogan and shortstop Reed Harper each had a two-run home run and three RBI in Saturday’s contest. Left fielder Cody Hudson drove home the game-winning run with his 11th-inning single over a drawn-in infield.
Sunday’s finale was all about the Govs pitchers as starter Alex Belew and reliever Zach Toney threw eight scoreless innings after a three-run first inning. The duo combined to retire the final 14 batters they faced and struck out six consecutive batters at one point.
Next Week: Mississippi, Riverview Inn Invitational
Austin Peay will make its season’s first road trip when it travels to Mississippi for a two-game midweek series. The Govs then return to Raymond C. Hand Park for their second home tournament – the Riverview Inn Invitational – where they will play both Eastern Michigan and Alabama A&M.