APSU Men’s Baseball
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team returns home for the first of two key Ohio Valley Conference series when it hosts Tennessee Tech, Saturday and Sunday, at Raymond C. Hand Park. The three-game set begins with a 1:00pm, Saturday doubleheader followed by a 1:00pm, Sunday contest.Austin Peay (22-19, 10-4 OVC) gained sole possession of the OVC regular-season lead with its three-game sweep at Morehead State, last weekend. The Govs enjoy a one-game lead over second-place Southeast Missouri (10-6) and the league’s top six squads are bunched within 3½ games of each other with three league weekends remaining.
The Govs offense has bloomed since the start of spring, batting .349 and averaging 12.4 runs per game since April 1st. Sophomore shortstop Reed Harper has a 19-game hit streak that also started April 1st and is batting a team-best .458 with 18 RBI during the streak. Senior third baseman Greg Bachman also has seen his offensive output improve with the turning of the season, batting .405 with four home runs and 19 RBI.
On the season, freshman second baseman Jordan Hankins leads the Govs with a .353 batting average following a 4-for-8, five RBI series at Morehead State. Junior center fielder Michael Blanchard (.344 batting average) will return to the lineup this week after an eye injury kept him from hitting at Morehead State. Harper has used his impressive hit streak to move into third on the team with a .344 batting average. However, the Govs will not have the services of outfielder Jon Clinard who will miss two weeks after suffering a knee injury at Morehead State.
The Govs weekend rotation will remain the same for the seventh consecutive week with junior left-hander Jeremy Dobbs getting the nod for the opener, followed by senior southpaw Jack Snodgrass and junior lefty Zach Toney. The Govs weekend pitching staff has combined for a 10-4 mark and 4.26 ERA in the team’s first five OVC series.
Dobbs (8-2) enters the week ranked 12th nationally in victories, falling two wins behind a pair of players tied for the nation’s lead. He notched his OVC-leading fourth victory in the Govs series-opening win at Morehead State, April 30.
Meanwhile, Snodgrass (1-5) and Toney (3-2) will look to recover from sub-par outings that led to no decisions at Morehead State. Snodgrass lasted 2.2 innings in Game 2 at Morehead State – his nine runs allowed helped along by three Govs errors during his stint on the mound. Toney showed the effects of a four-day break between outings, lasting 3.1 innings as his pitch count skyrocketed into the upper 80s before he left the mound.
Tennessee Tech (19-22, 8-7 OVC) rebounded from a 1-2 series loss at Morehead State, Easter weekend, with a 2-1 series win against Eastern Kentucky, last weekend. The Golden Eagles sit just 2½ games back entering the weekend series at Austin Peay.
Senior outfielder Chad Oberaker, a preseason All-America selection, is batting .304 this season but leads Tennessee Tech with nine home runs and 42 RBI. Freshman first baseman Zach Stephens also has proven dangerous this season with a .313 batting average, eight home runs and 40 RBI. However, it is senior outfielder Cassanova Donaldson that leads the Golden Eagles with a .340 batting average.
Sophomore right-hander Tristan Archer (5-4), TTU’s probable Game 1 starter, will look to rebound from a short outing against Eastern Kentucky where he lasted 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits but did not allow a walk or strikeout a batter. Junior right-hander Matthew Shepherd (3-4) will get the nod for Saturday’s second game after picking up the win last weekend in Game 2 of the EKU series. A Game 3 starter has not been named.