APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – A battle between the third and fourth-place teams in the OVC standings will unfold when Austin Peay State University’s baseball team meets Belmont in a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series, Friday-Sunday, at E.S. Rose Park.
The three-game set begins with a 4:00pm, Friday contest followed by 1:00pm affairs both Saturday and Sunday.Austin Peay (19-12, 10-5 OVC) enters the weekend road set third in the OVC standings, just one-half game ahead of the fourth-place Bruins.
The Governors have won their last two OVC series, including a 2-1 series win against Southeast Missouri, last weekend. Belmont also has won its last two league sets, most recently claiming a 2-1 series win against SIU Edwardsville.
The Governors will carry the momentum of a 9-7 extra-inning, come-from-behind win at Memphis, Tuesday. APSU trailed 7-2 after seven innings but scored the game’s final seven runs, including four in the ninth inning to tie the game.
In the Tuesday’s win, Austin Peay’s offense posted just nine hits but set a season high with nine walks. Meanwhile, the Govs bullpen allowed one run over the final six innings and closed the game with five scoreless frames.
Austin Peay and Belmont will meet for the fourth time as OVC foes. APSU has won the three previous series, but Belmont has won at least one game in each set. The OVC series’ between the two teams has been very close with no game decided by more than four runs and an average victory margin of 2.6 runs.
The Govs are ranked among the nation’s Top 25 in slugging percentage (8th, .505), batting average (13th, .317), on-base percentage (24th, .402), doubles per game (7th, 2.55), home runs per game (15th, 1.10) and scoring (13th, 8.3 runs per game). Austin Peay has scored in 65 consecutive games dating back to March 17th, 2015 at Tennessee.
Entering the weekend, four APSU hitters have reached safely in 10 or more consecutive games: junior outfielder Chase Hamilton (18 games, .362 BA, .479 OBP), senior outfielder Patrick Massoni (16 games, .433 BA, .470 OBP), junior second baseman Garrett Copeland (15 games, .338 BA, .442 OBP) and junior first baseman Dre Gleason (14 games, .321 BA, .426 OBP). They are among a group of seven players who have pieced together a double-digit reached safely streak in 2016.
Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson has 17 hits and 16 RBI in his last 13 games. Junior utility man Ridge Smith has started at third base, catcher, left field and right field this season and made 10 consecutive starts at third base before moving behind the plate, last Sunday.
Freshman catcher Alex Sala has become the Govs primary catcher, starting nine of the last 10 games behind the plate. Senior outfielder Kyle Blackburn did not start against Memphis, Tuesday, but beat out a potential double play ball in the 10th, stole a base and scored the go-ahead run.
Junior designated hitter Alex Robles is batting .368 with seven hits during a modest four-game hit streak. Junior third baseman Logan Gray has gone 2-for-7 with two walks in his first two starts since March 12th.
The Govs’ series finale loss to Southeast Missouri was their first OVC loss at home this season. It also snapped APSU nine-game home winning streak, its longest since the 2013 season. The Governors have won five of their last seven road contests after starting 2016 with a 1-6 road record.
Toeing the Rubber
Junior right-hander Alex Robles will make his 26th career start as the Govs’ OVC No. 1, owning a 15-5 record and 3.18 ERA all time in OVC action. This season, Robles own a 4-1 record and 2.17 ERA in OVC play – tied for the OVC lead in wins and ranking fourth in ERA.
Sophomore southpaw Michael Costanzo travels to Nashville seeking his first road win this season. In his three previous road starts, Costanzo is 0-2 with a 14.40 ERA, averaging just 3.1 innings per outings.
Junior right-hander Caleb Powell will make his third consecutive OVC start in Sunday’s finale. In his two previous OVC starts, he is 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA while averaging 4.2 innings per outing.
About the Belmont Bruins
Belmont (12-19, 3-3 AAC) will pose a formidable challenge with an offense that leads the OVC and is ranked among the Top 10 nationally in walks (2nd, 199), on-base percentage (3rd, .423) and stolen bases per game (6th, 2.13).
Freshman first baseman Chas Hadden is the Bruins ringleader, leading all Division I hitters in walks per game (1.23) while ranking third in on-base percentage (.575). On the mound, senior right-hander Aaron Quillen has been an innings-eater in OVC play, averaging an OVC-best 7.2 innings per outing.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Vaughn should not be overlooked in his Game 3 role, ranking among the OVC Top 10 in league ERA (8th, 3.38), opponent’s batting average (9th, .224) and innings pitched per game (3rd, 7.1).