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APSU Governors Baseball hosts SIU Edwardsville Cougars with Tournament hopes on the line

Austin Peay vs. SIU Edwardsville

Friday-Sunday, May 8th-10th, 2015
Clarksville, TN | Raymond C. Hand Park

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUClarksville, TN – It’s déjà vu all over again for Austin Peay’s baseball team as it enters the final weekend of its Ohio Valley Conference schedule seeking a series win against SIU Edwardsville to improve its odds of qualifying for the OVC Baseball Championship.

The Govs and Cougars begin a three-game league set with a 6:00pm, Friday contest. The series continues with a 2:00pm, Saturday matchup followed by a 1:00pm, Sunday series finale.

Austin Peay right handed pitcher Alex Robles will make his 20th straight OVC start as the Govs No. 1 this weekend. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay right handed pitcher Alex Robles will make his 20th straight OVC start as the Govs No. 1 this weekend. (APSU Sports Information)

A year ago, the Govs traveled to Edwardsville, Illinois, knowing the winner of that regular season-ending series would qualify for the OVC tournament. Austin Peay lost that series and missed the 2014 tournament by the slimmest of margins.

This year, the Govs will wrap their OVC slate a week earlier than the rest of the league, so this weekend’s series is its final chance to improve its standing and set a mark the teams around it will have to chase.

This weekend’s task is made more difficult by a SIUE squad that is second in the league race and in the thick of a race for one of the two byes in the upcoming OVC tournament. The Cougars have done their damage in OVC play, recording 15 of their season’s 16 victories in league action.

Tragic Number Talk

Entering its final weekend of OVC play, Austin Peay does not control its own destiny. The Govs “tragic number” – the combination of its losses and wins by teams in front of it that will eliminate APSU from the tournament – stands at five entering the weekend.

Austin Peay (14-13 OVC), which stands seventh in the OVC table, is attempting to catch any member of a trio that includes Belmont (13-10), Jacksonville State (13-11) and Tennessee Tech (13-11). The Govs will set their final OVC record this weekend then will have to watch the scoreboard during next week’s nonconference set against Evansville to see if they will qualify for the OVC Baseball Championship.

The Govs retain an outside chance of catching either SIUE or Morehead State, which are tied for second place. APSU’s tragic number against that pair of teams is three entering the weekend.

First Hacks

APSU's Garrett CopelandAustin Peay has lost nine of its last 11 games overall and six of its last nine OVC contests. The Govs have won only three OVC series this season (EIU, TTU and BEL), but have not been swept in their 6 series losses to date. Including last week’s series loss at UTM, APSU has lost each of its road OVC series this season and seven straight road series overall.

The Govs offense enters the weekend as one of the nation’s top doubles-producing teams, averaging 2.39 doubles per game (ninth in Division I) and are among Division I’s Top 50 in average (13th, .307), home runs per game (eighth, 1.13) slugging percentage (sixth, .480), on-base percentage (10th, .404) and stolen bases per game (24th, 1.67).

APSU's Ridge SmithSecond baseman Garrett Copeland has reached base safely in 27 consecutive games entering this weekend, he has a .485 on-base percentage (team-best 23 BBs) during the streak. Third baseman Ridge Smith has been the leadoff hitter in 13 of the Govs last 16 games and is batting .423 with 15 walks and a .552 on-base percentage in those games.

Freshman T.J. Marik has taken over starting catcher duties since Smith has moved to third base and currently has a five-game hit streak. Alex Robles saw a 12-game hit streak (.426, 14 RBI) end in the UT Martin finale, but he did start at first base in that finale and has started at all four infield positions this season.

Shortstop Clayton Smithson made his first start since March 25 during the UT Martin series. Outfielder Josh Wilson has posted a hit in 14 of his last 17 games and has 15 RBI during that span. Left fielder Cayce Bredlau has been the Govs No. 2 hitter for 37 of the team’s 46 games this season and is batting .283 in that spot with 29 RBI.

First baseman Dre Gleason only started the final game of the UT Martin series and then saw only three plate appearances while battling his lower body injury. Outfielder Chase Hamilton has three home runs in his last nine at-bats. Outfielder Patrick Massoni is battling a seven-game hitless streak, but he has seven walks in that span.

Toeing The Rubber

Date Austin Peay’s Pitcher
Start Opponent’s Pitcher
Fri. RHP Alex Robles (#5, So., 6-2, 3.09 ERA)
6 p.m. RHP P.J. Schuster (#55, Jr., 6-3, 5.40 ERA)
Sat. RHP Jared Carkuff (#16, Jr., 4-5, 4.54 ERA)
2 p.m. RHP Jarrett Bednar (#31, Jr., 2-5, 7.56 ERA)
Sun. TBA
1 p.m. RHP Ryan Daniels (#35, Sr., 3-6, 8.13 ERA)
CLOSER RHP A.J. Gaura (#36, RSr., 1-1, 6 SV, 3.72 ERA)
LHP Zach Malach (#4, Jr., 1-1, 4 SV, 5.77 ERA)

 

APSU's Alex Robles

Righty Alex Robles will make his 20th straight OVC start as the Govs No. 1 this weekend. Robles posted his sixth consecutive win last weekend at UT Martin; he owns a 11-3 career league record and 3.31 ERA.

Right-hander Jared Carkuff will move back into the No. 2 spot for the final OVC weekend. He is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in OVC action this season.

A.J. Gaura is one of five Govs pitchers to record a save this season and has a team-best six saves, four in OVC play.

On Deck: Lipscomb

Austin Peay completes the nonconference portion of its schedule when it travels to Lipscomb for a 6:00pm, Tuesday contest at Dugan Field. The teams have split their first two meetings with the road team winning each contest.

The Govs won a 5-2 contest, March 11th at Nashville, before Lipscomb picked up an 12-6 victory, April 21st in Clarksville.

Broadcast Information

Weekend Radio • Governors Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Colby Wilson

Midweek Radio • Govs Digital Passport
Play-by-Play: Brian Rives

Governors on the Web

Live Statistics: www.PeayStats.com
Twitter: @APSUBaseball

Digital Audio • Govs Digital Passport
Audio for all APSU Baseball contests will be available free online at www.LetsGoPeay.com/watch

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