APSU Sports Information
Carbondale, IL – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team begins a five-game road trip with a 5:00pm, Tuesday contest against Southern Illinois at Richard “Itchy” Jones Stadium.
The Govs hit the road after sweeping a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series from Murray State. The sweep also extended APSU’s current win streak to a season best-tying four games.Senior outfielder Patrick Massoni returned from his recent illness in time to inflict an 8-for-11 (.727) performance on Murray State, including his season’s first home run. Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson led Austin Peay with six RBI in the three-game set.
Austin Peay begins the four-game road trip seeking to maintain the momentum of its 16-2 road win at Western Kentucky, last Tuesday. The win in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was only the Govs second road victory this season.
Tuesday’s contest in Carbondale is the back end of a home-and-home series with Southern Illinois. Austin Peay won the first meeting, 13-6, February 23rd in Clarksville. The Govs scored in six of their eight innings and first baseman Dre Gleason finished the day 4-for-5 with five RBI with a triple and home run.
That early season victory was APSU’s second straight win in the series. However, SIU maintains a 23-14 edge in the all-time series, including a 15-7 Salukis edge in Carbondale.
Austin Peay’s offense is ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in batting average (12th, .321), on-base percentage (19th, .407) and slugging percentage (2nd, .540) after six weekends. The Govs also lead all Division I teams in doubles per game (2.68).
Junior utility man Ridge Smith owns a 16-game reached base safely streak (.339 BA, 7 HR, 19 RBI, .431 OBP). Austin Peay utilized four players as starting outfielders during the Murray State series. Senior outfielder Patrick Massoni had two hits in the first two games of the MSU series before he went 4-for-5 in the finale.
Senior outfielder Kyle Blackburn went 4-for-4 with four RBI in the Murray State finale, and was 5-for-8 with 5 RBI in two starts during the series. Junior outfielder Chase Hamilton also went 4-for-7 in two starts against Murray State with three RBI and scored four times.
Senior outfielder Josh Wilson went 2-for-5, walked and was hit by a pitch in his two starts. Junior designated hitter Alex Robles reached base eight times in a 4-for-9, four-walk weekend that saw him finish with three RBI while scoring six times.
Junior first baseman Dre Gleason had the Govs other home run in the MSU finale, his first home run since March 6th at Mercer (10 games). Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson had 6 RBI against the Racers, including four during his 3-for-5 outing in the finale as he fell a home run shy of the cycle.
Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland was held to three hits (.231 BA) against Murray State, but two of those hits were doubles and he walked twice.
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). Austin Peay is just 2-6 in road games this season but is 11-3 at home.
Toeing the Rubber
Right-hander Caleb Powell will make his third consecutive midweek start after posting wins in his last two starts.
In his most recent start, Powell improved to 2-1 with six innings of work at Western Kentucky, last Tuesday, allowing just one run.
Powell struck out a season-high five batters and allowed just six hits. He is 2-0 as a starter in 2016 with a 1.50 ERA.
About the Southern Illinois Salukis
Southern Illinois (14-8-1, 0-0 MVC) has been on a tear recently, winning five of its last six contests. The Salukis won a three-game series, 2-1, against Memphis over the weekend, including a season-high 11 runs in Game 3 of the set. That followed a weekend that saw them win three of four games in a round-robin event with Northern Illinois and Illinois.
Southern Illinois is 12-4-1 at home this season, with Tuesday’s contest Game 8 of a 13-game homestand. The Salukis’ pitching staff has come into its own since the season’s first meeting with Austin Peay, holding opponents to a .207 batting average and 2.07 ERA in its last 19 games.
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Live Statistics: www.PeayStats.com