APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team returns to the friendly confines of Raymond C. Hand Park for a 6:00pm. Tuesday contest against Lipscomb. The midweek affair starts a stretch of five home games in eight days.
Austin Peay (21-13, 12-6 OVC) returns home after winning three of four during its recently completed road trip.The stretch saw it post two come-from-behind victories for the first time this season and win two extra-inning affairs.
In addition, the Governors won their fourth consecutive Ohio Valley Conference series, winning two of three at Belmont.
The Governors offense has scuffled along in April, batting just .264 while averaging only 5.9 runs per game in 11 games. Those numbers are well off the torrid .330 mark and 8.8 runs per game it set during the season’s first 23 games.
However, the Govs have posted a 7-4 record during the month as its pitching staff has continued to steadily improve. Austin Peay pitchers have a 5.51 ERA in April while allowing a home run every 12.6 at bats. A step better than its 6.81 ERA and a home run every 7.2 at bats in the season’s first half.
The Governors and Bisons will meet for the 133 time on the baseball diamond. Austin Peay owns a slight 67-64-1 edge in the all-time set, after winning two of three meetings last season.
The Govs are ranked among the nation’s Top 30 in slugging percentage (9th, .495), batting average (23rd, .309), on-base percentage (30th, .394), doubles per game (8th, 2.41), home runs per game (12th, 1.15) and scoring (19th, 7.9 runs per game).
Entering the weekend, two APSU hitters have reached safely in 10 or more consecutive games: junior outfielder Chase Hamilton (21 games, .338 BA, .447 OBP) and junior second baseman Garrett Copeland (18 games, .342 BA, .435 OBP). They are among a group of seven players who have pieced together a double-digit reached safely streak in 2016.
Junior first baseman Dre Gleason snapped a four-game hitless streak (24 plate appearances) with a game-winning two-run home run at Belmont, Sunday. Junior third baseman Logan Gray returned to his starting infield spot at Belmont, Saturday, and brings a five-game hit streak (6-for-18) into the midweek affair.
Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson is battling through a rough patch at the plate himself, failing to record a base hit in his last three games (14 plate appearances). Senior center fielder Patrick Massoni was held to one hit during the Belmont series and saw his OVC batting average fall to .397, 13th best in the OVC.
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).
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 seven of their last 10 road contests after starting 2016 with a 1-6 road record.
Toeing the Rubber
Sophomore southpaw John Sparks is scheduled to make his third consecutive midweek start, Tuesday.
He is 0-1 in his two previous starts, allowing 15 hits in 8.1 innings pitched.
Sparks went five innings in his first start at Memphis, April 10th.
About the Lipscomb Bisons
Lipscomb (19-17, 3-3 Atlantic Sun) visits Clarksville seeking its first road win of 2016, entering the week without a win in 11 previous road adventures. The Bisons return to the road after completing a seven-game homestand with a 3-4 record, winning an Atlantic Sun series, 2-1, against USC Upstate to start the stretch before dropping a league set to Jacksonville, 1-2, last weekend.
Lipscomb is 4-4 against OVC squads in 2016 (2-1 vs. EKU, 0-1 vs. TTU, 1-0 vs. EIU, 1-0 vs. UTM, 0-2 vs. BEL). Lipscomb poses a challenge similar to Belmont, ranking 21st nationally in walks (182) and seventh nationally in stolen bases (1.94 per game).
Sophomore infielder Lee Solomon leads the Bisons in both categories, ranking 42nd nationally in walks (0.83 per game) and 19th in sttholen bases (0.61 per game). Tuesday starter Alex Dorso will make his second start this season. He went three innings in a no-decision against UT Martin, March 29, allowing three runs on six hits.