Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s newly nationally-ranked baseball team will put its eight-game win streak on the line when it meets Memphis in a 6:30pm, Tuesday tilt at FedEx Park — its final regular-season non-conference tilt.
The Govs extended their win streak with a three-game sweep of UT Martin last weekend, giving them 12 wins in their last 13 outings. Memphis returns home after winning a key Conference USA series, 2-1, at nationally-ranked Rice last weekend. The Tigers have won six of their last seven entering Tuesday’s contest. It will be the 52nd meeting between the two in-state foes, the last four meetings taking place at FedEx Park in Memphis or Generals Park in Jackson.
Memphis won six consecutive games before dropping the finale at nationally-ranked Rice, 1-0, Sunday, while the Tigers won the series against Rice, 2-1, and moved into second in the Conference USA regular-season race. Memphis is 3-2 against opponents it has in common with Austin Peay this season: 1-0 vs. UT Martin, 1-1 vs. Middle Tennessee, 0-1 vs. Mississippi State and 1-0 vs. Murray State.
Memphis holds a 30-21 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1979… the Tigers own a 20-11 advantage at home… the two teams have split the last four games in the series, 2-2, which have all been played with Memphis as the home team… three of those four contests have been decided by two runs or less, including last season’s 3-2 Memphis win… Austin Peay and Memphis also met in the 2007 NCAA Tournament’s Nashville Regional, the Govs winning a 14-7 decision in an elimination contest.
Closer Tyler Rogers, who already owns both the APSU single-season and career saves marks, became the OVC’s single-season saves record holder, April 24th, with a save in each game of the Evansville doubleheader. Rogers enters the regular season’s final week with 31 career saves, one shy of tying the OVC career saves mark held by Jacksonville State’s Todd Hornsby who recorded 32 saves (2010-12).
With one week remaining, junior first baseman Craig Massoni can see a possible OVC Triple Crown. He is the league leader in all three categories: average (.391), RBI (60) and home runs (13). Massoni holds a 16 point lead in batting average but is tied with Tennessee Tech’s Zach Stephens for both the RBI and home run leads. The last OVC Triple Crown champion was Western Kentucky’s Ralph Antone (1982).
Senior Casey Delgado struck out 16 batters at UT Martin, May 11th, and was one strikeout shy of the Austin Peay record held by legendary Tom Morgan in 1958. Delgado also became the first Austin Peay pitcher since 1996 to record at least nine strikeouts in five games during a campaign. With one week left, Delgado moved into the lead for the OVC strikeout title, his 88 strikeouts currently two ahead of Tennessee Tech’s Tristan Archer (86). Delgado also is fourth among league pitchers with 9.90 strikeouts per nine innings.
In addition to Delgado’s weekly honor, junior first baseman Craig Massoni was named the adidas® OVC Co-Player of the Week, May 13th. He had three hits in each game of the UT Martin series, finishing the set with a .643 batting average (9-for-14), three home runs and seven RBI. Massoni had two home runs and five RBI in the series opener then tacked on a solo home run and RBI double in the finale. He shared the weekly honor with SIUE’s Joel Greatting who had 10 hits (.526 batting average), two home runs and 10 RBI in five games last week.
With an impressive four-game burst that has seen him post 12 hits, senior shortstop Reed Harper has moved within sight of Austin Peay’s career hits mark. Harper, who has 263 career hits, moved into a tie for second place with current Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (2000-03). Harper needs 14 hits to become the Govs all-time hits leader, a mark currently held by Greg Bachman who set the mark last season with 276 career hits.
Just The Facts
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Radio: Governors Sports Network
Online Audio: www.LetsGoPeay.com
|PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS|
|Austin Peay Starter
|RHP Jared Carkuff (Fr., 0-0, 7.06 ERA)
LHP Michael Willis (RSr., 4-3, 2.25 ERA)
APSU: #30 (NCBWA), RV (USA TODAY)
MEM: Not receiving votes