Clarksville, TN – Fresh off a critical Ohio Valley Conference series victory, Austin Peay’s baseball team will seek to build on that momentum when it hosts Evansville in a 4:00pm, Wednesday doubleheader that will be composed of two seven-inning contests.
The Govs return to the field after winning their OVC series against Belmont, 2-1, last weekend. APSU lost the series opener but rallied to win back-to-back games for the first time since April 3rd-5th. Evansville lost its Missouri Valley Conference series at Wichita State, 1-2. The Purple Aces won the series’ middle game – snapping a seven game losing streak – and lost the other two games by one run each.
Evansville has lost eight of its last nine contests entering Wednesday’s meeting. The Purple Aces are 3-2 against OVC opponents this season (0-1 vs. Belmont, 1-1 vs. UT Martin, 1-1 vs. Murray State). Evansville is 5-15 on the road this season after losing 2 of 3 at Wichita State last weekend. Sophomore outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski leads Evansville in batting average (.362) and home runs (four). Junior first baseman John Day leads the Purple Aces with 26 RBI and is one of four players with 20-plus RBI.
The Purple Aces defense has been solid this season with only 45 errors in 40 games – but 13 of those errors have come in its last six games. Junior left-hander Cole Isom will start Game 1 and will make his season’s sixth start with a 2-4 record and 5.45 ERA. Junior right-hander Ryan Billo gets the nod to make his season’s fourth start in Game 2 with a 1-3 record and 10.02 ERA this season.
Evansville leads the all-time series against Austin Peay by a 38-20-2 margin, including a 21-12 edge in games at Raymond C. Hand Park. The Purple Aces have won the last four meetings in the series and eight of the last nine outings. The Govs last win in Clarksville was a 10-3 decision in May 2008. The last nine games have been high-scoring affairs, Evansville outscoring the Govs by an average 10.7-5.9 score in that span.
After reaching the season’s halfway mark with a 23-5 record, Austin Peay has struggled during the second half’s opening weeks, posting a 5-7 record. Austin Peay ended last week fourth in the OVC race with a 11-6 league mark, but narrowed its deficit to 2½ games behind league-leaders Belmont and Jacksonville State (14-4), which are followed by Tennessee Tech (16-5).
Austin Peay’s series victory against Belmont helped bump it to No. 10 in CollegeBaseballDaily.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. Mercer moved into the poll’s top spot with its 3-1 week that included a conference series victory against Lipscomb. The group in front of the Govs includes No. 6 Florida Atlantic, No. 7 UNC Wilmington, No. 8 Pepperdine and No. 9 South Alabama. The Mid-Major Poll includes all baseball conferences except the ACC, Big 12, Big West, Conference USA, Pac 12 and the SEC.