APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – One of the nation’s best offenses will square off against one the nation’s best pitching staffs when Austin Peay State University’s baseball team hosts Ohio Valley Conference leader Southeast Missouri in a three-game series, Friday-Sunday, at Raymond C. Hand Park.
The three-game set begins with a 6:00pm, Friday contest. The series continues with 1:00pm match ups both Saturday and Sunday.The Governors enter the season’s second half ranked as one of Division I’s top offenses ranking among the Top 25 in slugging percentage, batting average and on-base percentage.
Meanwhile, Southeast Missouri boasts one of the nation’s top pitching staffs, ranking among the Top 50 in earned-run average, strikeouts per nine innings, and hits allowed per nine innings.
Austin Peay (16-11, 8-4 OVC) enters the fifth OVC weekend alone in third place, 4½ games behind Southeast Missouri. The Redhawks (21-8, 12-0 OVC) have not lost a game in OVC play and bring an 11-game win streak into the weekend set.
Friday’s contest promises a pitcher’s duel as two Preseason All-OVC picks will face off. Governors right-hander Alex Robles, a two-time first-team All-OVC pick, will put his career 2-0 mark against Southeast Missouri on the line. Meanwhile, Redhawks left-hander Joey Lucchesi, the reigning OVC Pitcher of the Year, enters the weekend leading the league with a 6-1 record and 1.29 ERA.
The Govs also are ranked among the nation’s Top 25 in slugging percentage (2nd, .527), batting average (11th, .321), on-base percentage (21st, .406), doubles per game (2nd, 2.70), home runs per game (10, 1.22) and triples per game (16th, 0.44).
Senior outfielder Patrick Massoni extended his hit streak to 12 games (.442, 7 RBI, .479 OBP) with a RBI single at Middle Tennessee, he is 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 at Tennessee Tech, but has reached base safely in 13 consecutive games (.452 BA, 12 RBI, .510 OBP).
Junior outfielder Chase Hamilton has the Govs longest active reached-safely streak at 14 games (.341, 10 RBI, .500 OBP). Seven different Govs have had a double-digit reached safely streak, including five active streaks (Hamilton, Blackburn, Massoni, second baseman Garrett Copeland and first baseman Dre Gleason).
Junior designated hitter Alex Robles had an eight-game RBI streak (14 RBI) snapped at Middle Tennessee. Junior first baseman Dre Gleason has pieced together a nine-game hit streak (.325, 11 RBI) and has reached safely in 10 consecutive games.
Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson has 11 hits and 12 RBI in during his seven-game hit streak, bumping his average 28 points. Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland has reached base safely in 11 consecutive games (.367 BA, .456 OBP). Junior utility man Ridge Smith has started eight consecutive games at third base and has batted .278 with five doubles and five RBI since taking over the spot.
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 11-3 at Raymond C. Hand Park in 2016, but just 5-8 on the road.
Toeing the Rubber
Junior right-hander Alex Robles will make his 25th career OVC start as the Govs No. 1, Friday. He is 2-0 all-time against Southeast Missouri, including winning a 5-1 pitcher’s duel against Lucchesi last season.
Sophomore left-hander Michael Costanzo will look to remain unbeaten at Raymond C. Hand Park this season. He has won each of his previous four starts while posting a team-leading 2.39 ERA at home.
Junior right-hander Caleb Powell is scheduled to make his second consecutive weekend start. He did not factor into the decision at Tennessee Tech, Sunday, after winning his previous three starts (each a midweek outing).
About the Southeast Missouri Redhawks
Southeast Missouri is among the Top 50 Division I teams in earned-run average (37th, 3.31), hits allowed per nine innings (37th, 7.89), strikeouts per nine innings (11th, 9.50) and WHIP (38th, 1.27).
Left-hander Joey Lucchesi leads all Division I pitchers with 65 strikeouts (12.02 per nine innings, 22nd) and his 1.29 ERA is 29th nationally. Behind him, right-hander Clay Chandler (1.61 ERA) and left-hander Robert Beltran (3.40 ERA) rank second and fourth among OVC pitchers in ERA.
At the plate, Southeast Missouri does not have a player ranked among the league’s Top 10 in batting average or slugging percentage. The Redhawks do have two players ranked among the OVC’s Top 10 in on-base percentage: senior shortstop Branden Boggetto (9th, .463) and senior outfielder Garrett Gandolfo (10th, .457).
After seeing its team batting average dip to .259, March 19th, Southeast Missouri has been on a tear with a .392 batting average and 13.4 runs per contest over its last nine games.