APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – After posting a 3-1 record in its opening week, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team prepares to conclude its season-opening seven-game homestand with the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge, Friday-Sunday.
The Govs will play a 3:30pm contest each day of the round-robin event which will see Alcorn State, Connecticut and nationally-ranked Missouri State visit Raymond C. Hand Park.The Govs opened the season with a 2-1 series victory against Bradley, last weekend, before downing Southern Illinois, Tuesday.
Austin Peay’s offense posted 35 runs (8.8 rpg) in that four-game stretch with 23 extra-base hits out of 45 total hits.
On the mound, Austin Peay received quality starts from Friday starter Alex Robles and Saturday starter Michael Costanzo, who will switch roles for this weekend’s action. Sunday starter Zach Neff was a victim of bad luck on the mound in his first start and will look to take a step forward this weekend.
This weekend’s action will provide an opportunity to see some of Division I’s top players with four Preseason All-America selections taking the field. The list includes Austin Peay third baseman Logan Gray, Alcorn State third baseman Collin Carroll and Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger and right-handed pitcher Bryan Young. In addition, Connecticut will feature Preseason American Athletic Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year Anthony Kay.
Following the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge, Austin Peay starts a six-game road trip with a 3:00pm, Wednesday affair against nationally-ranked Kentucky at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, KY.
Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland carries a 36-game streak reaching base safely into 2016, the fourth-longest such streak by a Governors hitter since 1996 (APSU record is 48 games). Junior first baseman Dre Gleason ended Week 1 with back-to-back 4-hit games, the first APSU player to accomplish that feat since Greg Bachman in 2012.
Junior third baseman Logan Gray was a Third-Team Preseason All-America selection by D1Baseball.com and has opened 2016 with a .417 batting average, 2 home runs and 7 walks in 4 games. Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson has seen 3 of his 4 base hits go for extra bases, including 2 home runs. Junior left fielder Cayce Bredlau has batted cleanup behind Gray to begin 2016 and is batting .375 with 3 doubles.
Senior center fielder Patrick Massoni is 4-for-12 with 2 doubles in three starts this season. Senior right fielder Josh Wilson has just two hits in the first four games, but has a .417 on-base percentage.
Behind the plate Austin Peay has utilized a platoon with freshman Alex Sala, sophomore T.J. Marik and junior Ridge Smith each spending time at catcher. For the first time since 1988 a new face is guiding the Governors with first-year head coach Travis Janssen coming to Austin Peay after four seasons at Division II Northeastern State (Oklahoma).
Toeing the Rubber
Austin Peay will make a slight tweak to its weekend rotation for the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge. Sophomore left-hander Michael Costanzo will get the nod for Friday’s contest against Alcorn State after taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning against Bradley, Saturday, and earning adidas® OVC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors.
Junior right-hander Alex Robles will take the mound against Connecticut, Saturday, after allowing 1 run in 7 innings in an opening-day win against Bradley. Sophomore left-hander Zach Neff will return to the mound for a second-straight Sunday outing seeking an improved outing.
Connecticut (1-2) began 2016 at UT San Antonio last weekend, dropping the first two games by one run each before reeling in a 9-6 victory, Sunday. Senior first baseman Bobby Melley had five hits (.417 batting average) and five RBI at UTSA. UConn was picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference and had five players named to its preseason squads: Melley, sophomore infielder Willy Yahn, senior infielder Joe DeRoche-Duffin, senior outfielder Jack Sundberg and junior left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay.
Missouri State (3-0) swept a three-game set at Central Arkansas last weekend for its second straight 3-0 start. Sophomore third baseman Jake Burger earned Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week honors after hitting .417 (5-for-12) with three home runs and seven RBI in Conway, Arkansas. The Bears were the MVC preseason favorite and two players were named Preseason All-Americans: Burger and right-handed pitcher Bryan Young, while senior outfielder Spencer Johnson was a Preseason All-MVC pick.
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