Austin Peay (4-3) at Kentucky (3-3)
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 | 3:00pm CT
Lexington, KY | Cliff Hagan Stadium
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team begins a six-game road trip with a 3:00pm (CT), Wednesday contest against Kentucky at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Govs begin their longest road trip of 2016 after finishing a seven-game, season-opening homestand.
Austin Peay concluded that stretch with a 1-2 record in its Riverview Inn Governors Challenge last weekend. APSU defeated Alcorn State before falling to both Connecticut and nationally-ranked Missouri State.
Austin Peay got the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge off to a good start, posting a 12-0 shutout of Alcorn State, Friday. Starter Michael Costanzo allowed one hit through seven innings and two relief pitchers mopped up for APSU’s first shutout of 2016. However, the Govs pitching staff then ran into two hot hitting clubs in Connecticut and Missouri State, allowing 30 runs on 38 hits (.418 BA) in the two contests.
The Govs offense posted a .305 batting average on the weekend. Second baseman Garrett Copeland had seven hits (.538 BA), extending his reached base safely streak to 39 games. First baseman Dre Gleason had five hits and five RBI in the three games.
Austin Peay and Kentucky will meet for the second time in three seasons. In their most recent meeting, Kentucky posted a come-from-behind 6-3 victory against the Govs vaunted 2013 squad that eventually won a school-record 44 games.
Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland has reached base safely in 39 consecutive games, the fourth-longest such streak by a Governors hitter since 1996 (APSU record is 48 games). Junior first baseman Dre Gleason has 13 hits (.619 BA) and 14 RBI in his last 5 games.
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, 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 8 walks (.563 OBP) in 7 games. Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson has seen 3 of his 6 base hits go for extra bases, including 2 home runs. Junior left fielder Cayce Bredlau opened the season with a 6-game hit streak but was held hitless by Missouri State, Sunday, to end the streak.
After two weekends the Govs have platoon situations at three positions: catcher, right field and center field. Behind the plate Austin Peay has utilized three players: freshman Alex Sala, sophomore T.J. Marik and junior Ridge Smith. Center field has been manned by senior Patrick Massoni, the returning starter at the position, and sophomore Imani Willis.
Junior Josh Wilson, the returning starter in right field, has shared starts with Smith and senior Kyle Blackburn. 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
Left-hander Josh Rye is scheduled to make his second midweek start, Wednesday.
It will be the redshirt freshman’s fourth career appearance for Austin Peay (two starts, two relief appearances).
In his first start he held Southern Illinois to two runs on six hits over three innings, February 23rd.
Rye most recently appeared in relief against Connecticut, Saturday, allowing one run over two innings.
About the Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky (3-3) posted a 1-2 record at the Tony Gwynn Classic, last weekend, sandwiching a win against San Diego State between losses to UC Santa Barbara and Bryant. The Wildcats open a 10-game homestand with Wednesday’s home opener against the Govs. Junior third baseman JaVon Shelby, a Preseason All-America selection, leads UK with a .458 batting avarege through two weekends of action.
It is the third time this season APSU will face a Preseason All-American at third base. Freshman outfielder Tristan Pompey leads the Wildcats with 8 RBI thanks to a team-best 3 home runs and .286 batting average. Sophomore left-handed Zach Pop will make his first start of 2016, after tossing one inning of relief in UK’s 2nd game – allowing two unearned runs against George Mason, February 29th.
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