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APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – APSU’s baseball team will conclude its four-game homestand when it hosts Northern Illinois in a 6:00pm, Wednesday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park.
With the Huskies in town, the Austin Peay State University Athletics Department will host its first “Bark in the Park” sponsored by Family Pet Hospital.The Governors are coming off a promising start to Ohio Valley Conference play with a three-game sweep of Eastern Illinois last weekend. Austin Peay rode strong starting pitching to the sweep, with sophomore lefties Michael Costanzo and Zach Neff joining forced with junior right-hander Alex Robles to pitch 21 innings and allow only a 1.71 ERA and three walks while striking out 16.
Austin Peay’s offense helped the cause with 24 runs while batting .317 and posting an impressive .415 on-base percentage. Junior first baseman Dre Gleason had a team-high five hits (.455 batting average) on the weekend, extending his hit streak to 12 games. Junior utility man Ridge Smith and senior shortstop Clayton Smithson each had five RBI.
Northern Illinois visits Clarksville after a four-game stay in Nashville. The Huskies lost a three-game set, 2-1, to OVC member Belmont during the weekend. NIU will play nationally-ranked Vanderbilt, Tuesday, before its contest against Austin Peay. The Huskies are 2-5 against OVC teams this season, losing a four-game set at Murray State in Week 2.
Junior first baseman Dre Gleason is the nation’s No. 2 hitter with a .500 batting average after four weekends of action and also is ranked among Division I’s top 5 in on-base percentage (4th, .597) and slugging percentage (5th, .940). Since seeing his 40-game reached base safely streak end, second baseman Garrett Copeland has pieced together a five-game hit streak (.368).
Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson was a big part of the Govs Game 2 win against Eastern Illinois, pouring in career-high five RBI thanks to a pair of doubles. Junior third baseman Logan Gray had a double and triple in that Game 2 victory for his sixth two-hit outing this season.
Junior utility man Ridge Smith has quietly composed an eight-game hit streak (11 hits, .366 BA 12 RBI) while starting at catcher, third base and left field. Senior outfielder Patrick Massoni added two more sac hits against Eastern Illinois and his five sac hits in 2016 leads the OVC (12th nationally).
Senior outfielder Josh Wilson went 3-for-8 against Eastern Illinois, bumping his average 34 points (now .265) and started at both corner outfield spots. Junior outfielder Chase Hamilton started two of the three EIU games but was held hitless with two walks in eight plate appearances after notching four hits in his previous eight plate appearances.
The Govs suffered a significant loss when junior left fielder Cayce Bredlau suffered a lower-body injury in the Mercer series opener. In the four games since his loss three different players have started in left field. 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
Junior right-hander Caleb Powell will make his first official midweek start against Northern Illinois. He was the Govs starting pitcher at Arkansas State a week ago and went 2.2 innings, but saw the game washed out when ran hit two outs before becoming official.
Wednesday’s start will be his fifth appearance this season and first since suffering a loss in relief at Mercer, March 5th. Out of the bullpen, the Govs will have plenty of options with only six of its pitchers seeing action during the weekend set against Eastern Illinois.
Northern Illinois (2-12) has surrendered 145 runs in its 14 games (10.35 per game) prior to facing Vanderbilt, Tuesday. It’s been the middle of the game that’s caused NIU all its troubles, surrendering 20 or more runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The 72 runs permitted in those three frames is nearly half its total allowed.
Offensively, senior center fielder Justin Fletcher is NIU’s leadoff hitter and owns a team-best .429 batting average, including nine doubles. Batting third and fourth respectively, senior catcher Johnny Zubek and shortstop Brian Sisler each have 12 RBI to pace the Huskies. Sisler has five-extra base hits while batting .339 this season. Zubek has done the job without an extra-bases hit while also earning a team-best 10 walks.
Live Statistics: www.PeayStats.com
TopicsAlex Robles, Alex Sala, APSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Baseball, APSU Men's Baseball, APSU Sports, Arkansas, Austin Peay State University, Bark in the Park, Belmont, Caleb Powell, Cayce Bredlau, Chase Hamilton, Clarksville TN, Clayton Smithson, Dre Gleason, Eastern Illinois, Family Pet Hospital, Garrett Copeland, Governors, Govs, Huskies, Josh Wilson, Logan Gray, Mercer, Michael Costanzo, Murray State, Northeastern State, Northern Illinois, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Patrick Massoni, Raymond C. Hand Park, Ridge Smith, T.J. Marik, Travis Janssen, Vanderbilt, Zach Neff
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