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Austin Peay Governors Baseball’s recruiting class receives national recognition


Written by Cody Bush
APSU Sports Information

Austin Peay State University GovernorsTuscan, AZ – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team was recognized with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes, according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper’s annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes.

Austin Peay, the only Ohio Valley Conference team noted in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, bolstered its roster with the addition of 16 newcomers – seven freshman and nine junior college transfers.

Austin Peay Baseball. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

Austin Peay Baseball. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

The Governors entered the postseason needing to fill one outfield spot, both corner infield positions and find a capable group of pitchers to fill in the pitching staff – tasks head coach Gary McClure believes his staff accomplished.

“We expected to have the majority of our position players back and we knew they would be very experienced,” said McClure. “But we also knew we would lose some very good arms with experience. So our plan was to do two things – sign a couple of junior college players we believed could make an immediate impact and sign a handful of talented high school players that could play right away or, at the very least, push one of our veterans to make them better. We believe we have been successful in doing those two things, but you never really know until they cross the lines and face another team.”

Junior transfers Kevin Corey and Craig Massoni are expected to come in and fill immediate needs in the field and in the lineup. Corey will fill a need in the infield while Massoni will be a utility-type player and both bring a quality bat to the Govs lineup.

Among the freshman position player, Jake Walters will battle for an infield spot while Kyle Schlatter is tabbed as a potential first baseman. Tommy Hager and Wesley Purcell will both battle for the open outfield position and push the returning outfield corps.

On the mound, the Govs brought in a slew of talented arms. Right-hander Lee Ridenhour will battle for the No. 1 spot in the weekend rotation. He will be joined by left-hander Zach Hall and right-handers A.J. Gaura and D.W. Whitson will battle for weekend rotation spots. In addition, freshmen Jared Carkhuff and Hunter Lindley bring strong arms to the Govs lineup and will be expected to add depth to the pitching staff during conference play.

“When it comes to our pitching class we knew we had to replace Zach Toney, who was our best arm last season,” said McClure. “We wanted to create more competition for our three conference rotation spots so we would be better at the top of our staff. Hopefully, that will spill over to more quality starters in our weekday games. Again, I believe we did that through a combination of strong junior college pitchers who have enjoyed success and a talented group of freshman arms that can grow and help us late in the season.”

In addition, Austin Peay will see the bulk of last season’s team return to Clarksville. The two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference regular-season and tournament champions will see five position starters, two members of its conference rotation and its closer return for the 2013 campaign. Junior second baseman Jordan Hankins, a first-team All-OVC selection and an Eugene All-Region pick, returns to lead the roster. He will be joined by senior outfielder Cody Hudson, a second-team All-OVC pick, and three OVC all-tournament picks: senior shortstop Reed Harper, senior outfielder Rolando Gautier and senior pitcher Kacy Kemmer.

“Our success the past two seasons made a significant impact on this year’s recruiting class and the talent level we were able to sign,” said McClure. “Still, to get good players you must have great assistant coaches who out-work other coaches when it comes to recruiting. While I am still very active in recruiting, my assistant coaches spend the majority of their time gathering names, evaluating talent, and communicating with potential prospects. Both (recruiting coordinator) Joel Mangrum and (assistant coach) Derrick Dunbar did an outstanding job putting in the time to locate very talented kids that fit into our program.”

Austin Peay will put its 34-man roster through the paces beginning with its first fall practice, Monday, at Raymond C. Hand Park. The fall practice schedule will conclude with the annual Red-White World Series, November 2nd-4th and 8th-9th.

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