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APSU Baseball hosts Eastern Illinois to begin OVC play this weekend

 

APSU Sports Information

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team opens Ohio Valley Conference play when it hosts Eastern Illinois in a three-game series, beginning with a 4:00pm, Friday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park. The three-game set continues with 1:00pm contests both Saturday and Sunday.

Austin Peay Baseball opens OVC Season at home against the Eastern Illinois Panthers, Friday-Sunday. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Baseball opens OVC Season at home against the Eastern Illinois Panthers, Friday-Sunday. (APSU Sports Information)

The Governors return home after posting a 1-3 record during their weather-shortened road trip.

That road trip saw Austin Peay produce 10 home runs in a three-game series at Mercer, last weekend. Those blasts accounted for 16 of the Govs 27 runs during the weekend. First baseman Dre Gleason had three of the home runs while five other Govs also had a home run.

Gleason has been Austin Peay’s most dangerous hitter after three weeks, leading the team in batting average (.513), home runs (5) and RBI (21). He ranks among Division I’s leaders in all three categories: fourth in RBI, eighth in home runs and seventh in batting average.

Austin Peay’s pitching staff had a difficult weekend in Macon, Georgia, allowing 34 runs in the series and surrendering 20 extra-base hits (eight home runs). Friday starter Alex Robles was able to notch his second win of the campaign, holding Mercer to one run in his six innings of work.

This weekend will provide a matchup of two of the OVC’s newest head coaches. Austin Peay head coach Travis Janssen and Eastern Illinois’ Jason Anderson each in their first season.

First Hacks

APSU Baseball's Garrett CopelandWith its home surge at Mercer, Austin Peay is ranked third nationally in home runs (19), behind Mercer (22) and Pittsburgh (21) while it is tied with Missouri State, Morehead State and Illinois-Chicago.

Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland saw his reached-base safely streak end at 40 games with an 0-for-5 outing, Friday, at Mercer but went 3-for-7 in the series’ final 2 games. Junior first baseman Dre Gleason owns a 9-game hit streak that has seen him post 19 hits (.559 BA) and 20 RBI.

APSU Baseball's Clayton SmithsonJunior third baseman Logan Gray did not reach base for the first time this season in Sunday’s finale at Mercer after posting a home run in each of the series’ first 2 games. Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson has seen 6 of his 11 base hits go for extra bases (.727 SLG), including 3 home runs.

After three weekends the Govs have platoon situations at four positions: catcher and all three outfield positions. Behind the plate Austin Peay has utilized three players: freshman Alex Sala, sophomore T.J. Marik and junior Ridge Smith.

The Govs suffered a significant loss when junior left fielder Cayce Bredlau suffered a lower-body injury in the Mercer series opener. The Govs started two different outfield alignments in the wake of the injury. Sophomore Imani Willis started all three games in center field against Mercer and made two highlight-reel catches while batting .250.

Junior utility man Ridge Smith started at three different positions against Mercer (LF, RF and C) and finished with a .231 batting average, 2 home runs and 4 RBI.

APSU Baseball's Patrick MassoniFollowing Bredlau’s injury, Smith and senior Josh Wilson each gained a start in left field.

On the other side of the field senior Patrick Massoni and Chase Hamilton each made a start after the injury.

Junior designated hitter Alex Robles led the Govs with 5 hits at Mercer (.455 BA), including a home run and 3 RBI.

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

APSU Baseball's Alex RoblesJunior right-hander Alex Robles will make his 21st consecutive start as the Govs No. 1 pitcher in conference play. He owns an 11-4 career record and 3.46 ERA in OVC play. Robles was the winning pitcher in the Govs only victory against Mercer last weekend.

Sophomore left-hander Michael Costanzo seeks a bounce-back performance after a rough outing at Mercer last weekend. Costanzo opened the season with back-to-back one-hit starts, first against Bradley then against Alcorn State. The Govs Game 3 starter will be determined prior to the start of the series finale.

About the Eastern Illinois Panthers

Eastern Illinois PanthersEastern Illinois (1-11) stunned Arkansas, Saturday, for its season’s first victory. The Panthers jumped out to an 3-0 lead and built a 8-3 advantage before Arkansas rallied to force extra innings. Eastern Illinois broke the tie in the 12th with catcher Jason Scholl’s solo home run. EIU followed the win with a one-run loss to Arkansas and suffered a shutout at Saint Louis, Tuesday.

Sophomore second baseman Cale Hennemann leads EIU with a .372 batting average and 10 RBI. Freshman shortstop Dane Toppel is batting .379 in limited at-bats this season and also has a team-leading four sacrifice hits and five stolen bases. On the mound, redshirt senior right-hander Matt Wivinis will make his third start this season and brings a 0-2 record 6.23 ERA into the OVC-opening weekend.

Broadcast Information

Digital Audio
Audio for all baseball contests available free online at www.LetsGoPeay.com/listen

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


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