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HomeSportsAPSU Baseball Govs faces Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky this week

APSU Baseball Govs faces Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky this week

APSU Sports Information

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUClarksville, TN – APSU’s baseball team continues a busy stretch of eight games in 10 days with a pair of midweek contests.

First, the Govs conclude a five-game road trip with a 6:00pm, Tuesday contest at Middle Tennessee. Austin Peay State University then begins a homestand with a 6:00pm, Wednesday matchup with Western Kentucky.

Austin Peay Baseball travels to Middle Tennessee Tuesday and then is home to face Western Kentucky Wednesday. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Baseball travels to Middle Tennessee Tuesday and then is home to face Western Kentucky Wednesday. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay (16-10, 8-4 OVC) has won seven of its last eight games, including its first road series win last weekend at Tennessee Tech.

The Govs offense has carried the load during the eight-game stretch, batting an astounding .370 and averaging 10.8 runs per game. That burst has pushed the Govs into Division I’s No. 6 hitting team (.325).

Meanwhile, the Govs pitching staff has started to settle down during that stretch as well, with a 5.32 ERA that has lowered the overall team ERA by 60 points in those eight games. APSU has held opponents to five or fewer runs in five of those eight games.

This weeks contest’s against the Blue Raiders and Hilltoppers are the continuation of two of the longest running series in APSU history. The Govs and Blue Raiders will meet for the 203rd time in a series MTSU leads 129-73. APSU and WKU’s meeting will be the 156th meeting, the Hilltoppers owning a 93-61-1 edge.

First Hacks

APSU Baseball's Patrick MassoniThe Govs also are ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in slugging percentage (2nd, .535), batting average (6th, .325), on-base percentage (19th, .408), doubles per game (2nd, 2.69), home runs per game (9th, 1.27) and triples per game (15th, 0.46).

Senior outfielder Patrick Massoni extended his hit streak to 11 games (.487, 6 RBI, .523 OBP), becoming the fourth Govs hitter to piece together a double-digit hit streak in 2016. Senior outfielder Kyle Blackburn saw his hit streak snapped at 11 games, but has reached base safely in 12 consecutive games (.462 BA, 12 RBI, .511 OBP).

APSU Baseball's Chase HamiltonJunior outfielder Chase Hamilton has the Govs longest active reached-safely streak at 13 games (.342, 10 RBI, .510 OBP). Seven different Govs have had a double-digit reached safely streak, including four active streaks (Hamilton, Blackburn, Massoni and second baseman Garrett Copeland).

Junior designated hitter Alex Robles has a RBI in eight-straight games (14 RBI), including a trio of three-RBI performances. Junior first baseman Dre Gleason has pieced together an eight-game hit streak (.333, 11 RBI). Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson has 10 RBI in his last six games with 10 hits (.462), including five extra-base hits.

Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland reached base in 14 of his 21 plate appearances (.667) last week, posting a .588 batting average (10-for-18). Junior utility man Ridge Smith has started seven consecutive games at third base and has batted .290 with three RBI since taking over the spot.

Freshman catcher Alex Sala has taken over behind the plate and is batting .250 with five RBI in his six consecutive starts.

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 3-6 in road games this season but is 11-3 at home.

Toeing the Rubber

APSU Baseball's John SparksDuring the midweek set, lefty hurlers John Sparks and Zach Neff will start each day’s proceedings.

Sophomore John Sparks will make his season’s first start and will look to continue his recent improvement that has seen him post a 2.54 ERA in his last five appearances. He has six strikeouts in his last 5.1 innings pitched (three appearances).

Sophomore Zach Neff will make his first midweek start just four days after striking out four batters in two innings of relief at Tennessee Tech. He has allowed just one walk in his last 7.1 innings pitched (four appearances).

About the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

MTSU Blue RaidersMiddle Tennessee (13-15, 2-7 C-USA) brings a 4-3 midweek record into this week’s contest. The Blue Raiders lost a three-game Conference USA set to Rice over the weekend, trading shutouts (3-0 and 0-1) in the first two games before a 6-2 loss in the finale.

Freshman right-hander AJ Spencer will make his first collegiate start, Tuesday, and has allowed just one earned run in his last four outings (1.25 ERA in 7.2 innings). Shortstop Riley Delgado – brother of APSU alumnus Casey Delgado – leads MTSU with a .365 batting average from the leadoff spot.

About the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky HilltoppersWestern Kentucky (16-11, 5-4 C-USA) owns a 3-3 midweek mark entering the week. The Hilltoppers have won five of their seven meetings since their March 22nd loss to the Govs. That stretch includes a three-game Conference USA sweep of Middle Tennessee and a 2-1 series victory at UAB.

Senior third baseman Danny Hudzina continues to swing a hot bat for WKU, bringing an impressive .448 batting average into the week – the ninth best mark among Division I hitters.

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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