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Govs look to end skid against Colonels this weekend

 

APSU Men’s Baseball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s third week of Ohio Valley Conference play brings Eastern Kentucky into town for a three-game series, Saturday-Sunday, at Raymond C. Hand Park. The weekend begins with a 1:00pm, Saturday doubleheader before concluding with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest.

Austin Peay (13-14, 3-2 OVC) cannot afford to overlook an Eastern Kentucky (9-20, 2-4) squad it has not enjoyed much success against recently. The Colonels have won the last three OVC series between the two teams dating back to the 2007 campaign. In fact, Austin Peay has lost five straight games to Eastern Kentucky and seven of the last nine meetings.

APSU Men's Baseball

APSU Men's Baseball

The Govs enter the weekend with some momentum following a 2-1 series victory against Eastern Illinois one week ago. Austin Peay enters this weekend tied for second place in the league race, just one-half game behind preseason favorite Jacksonville State.

Austin Peay is 3-2 in its last five games as the offense has started to find its legs. The Govs ended March suffering through a 12-game stretch  in which they hit just .215 and averaged 3.3 runs per game. But with the calendar turning over to April, the offense also has turned the page, hitting .362 in the last five games and averaging 7.8 runs per game.

Tyler ChildressJunior outfielder Tyler Childress has led the improved offense, recording a team-best 10 hits (.500 batting average) over that five-game span while also leading the team with eight RBI. Sophomore shortstop Reed Harper also is hitting .500 (8-of-16) during the stretch while junior outfielder Michael Blanchard (.474 BA) and first baseman John Hogan (.429 BA) each have nine hits.

On the mound, the Govs will turn to its usual trio of lefties. Junior Jeremy Dobbs (5-1) will look to rebound from a sub-par performance against Eastern Illinois in which he surrendered 10 runs in six innings. Senior Jack Snodgrass (1-3) will attempt to maintain the momentum from six shutout innings en route to his season’s first victory against Eastern Illinois. Junior Zach Toney (2-2) notched his season’s second win in relief at Middle Tennessee, Wednesday, but will look to improve on last Sunday’s outing against Eastern Illinois in which he left before qualifying for the decision.

Jeremy DobbsEastern Kentucky has struggled the season but brings a two-game winning streak to Clarksville. The Colonels won the series finale at Southeast Missouri, 11-5, but lost the series. EKU then picked up a midweek victory against Marshall. However, those two wins snapped a five-game losing streak that was part of a larger stretch where the Colonels won just once in 13 games. The Colonels have had trouble in all three aspects of the game, ranking seventh in batting average (.271), sixth in ERA (5.92) and seventh in fielding percentage (.950).

Junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez (.398, 4th) and junior outfielder Jacob Daniel (.359, 8th) are ranked among the OVC’s top 10 hitters despite the team’s overall offensive woes. Daniel, batting No. 3 for the Colonels, leads the league with 30 RBI while Rodriguez, the team’s leadoff hitter, is fifth among the league’s hitters in on-base percentage (.469).

Reed HarperOn the mound, Eastern Kentucky will start the weekend with junior right-hander Matt Fyffe (0-3) who has not earned a decision in two OVC starts, as the Colonels bullpen shouldered losses after surrendering runs in the 10th and ninth innings of his two outings. Freshman left-hander Kyle McGrath (2-2) will take on the Game 2 start after struggling in his two previous OVC outings, allowing 10 runs over 7.1 innings. Senior right-hander Stephen Hefler (3-3) will wrap up the set and enters the third week after splitting his two OVC starts, most recently winning the series finale at Southeast Missouri after allowing three runs over six innings.


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