APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team wraps up its 2016 regular-season slate with a nonconference three-game series against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Due to inclement weather, the teams will start the series with a 3:00pm, Thursday doubleheader. After an off day, Friday, to avoid rain the teams will conclude the regular season with an 11:30am, Saturday contest.The three-game set will be Austin Peay’s first against a Big 12 Conference member since traveling to Baylor to open the 2014 campaign.
The Govs were swept in the three-game set, which was the opening weekend in the careers of the Govs current junior class.
APSU is 2-4 all-tme against current Big 12 members with wins against Kansas (2005) and Kansas State (1999), both coming on neutral fields.
The Govs are ranked among the nation’s Top 25 in slugging percentage (4th, .504), batting average (22nd, .308), on-base percentage (23rd, .400), doubles per game (6th, 2.37), home runs per game (9th, 1.29) and scoring (13th, 7.78 runs per game). Eight different Govs hitters have pieced together a reached-base safely streak of 10 or more games at some point this season.
Junior Ridge Smith has reached base safely in 13 consecutive games; he is batting .333 during the streak with a .510 on-base percentage (12 walks). Junior designated hitter Alex Robles owns an 11-game reached-base safely streak, batting .351 with a .457 on-base percentage.
Junior second baseman Garrett Copeland was held hitless at Lipscomb, Tuesday, ending his six-game hit streak; still he owns a .405 on-base percentage over his last seven games. Junior first baseman Dre Gleason enjoyed his stay in Edwardsville, just minutes away from his hometown, ending a four-game hitless streak with five hits and five RBI during the weekend.
Junior transfer TJ Conroy was the Govs starting shortstop at Lipscomb, Tuesday, going 1-for-4 with two RBI. Senior shortstop Clayton Smithson missed the Lipscomb game due to a family matter but should return for this weekend’s series while looking to build on his five-hit (.357 BA), seven-RBI performance in the SIUE series.
Massoni is batting .424 (14-for-33) during his hit streak, bumping his season average to a team-best .350 that ranks 14th in the OVC. Gray’s streak is part of a larger stretch that has seen him bat .400 (34-for-85) with eight home runs and 25 RBI since his return to the starting lineup, April 10th.
Head coach Travis Janssen is wrapping up his first season at Austin Peay in the program’s first coaching change since 1988. The Governors vacated four wins due to the use of an ineligible player, a penalty imposed by the Ohio Valley Conference, May 16.
Toeing the Rubber
Junior right-hander Alex Robles looks for his 10th win of 2016 when he faces Oklahoma. He would become the first Govs pitcher with 10 wins in a season since 2007 (Shawn Kelley) and only the ninth to reach the mark in program history. Last weekend he tied Rowdy Hardy for most conference wins in a career (18) with his ninth quality start of the season at SIUE.
Junior right-hander Caleb Powell posted a win in his first start as the Govs No. 2, last weekend at SIUE. His 4.16 ERA leads the Govs weekend starters and has helped him post a career-best 7-2 record entering the weekend.
Sophomore left-hander Michael Costanzo pieced together a quality start in his first outing at No. 3 last weekend at SIUE. He returns to The Hand looking to build on his 6-1 record and 4.17 ERA in seven home starts this season.
In the 21 OVC games since the Govs turned to the Robles-Powell-Costanzo trio, Austin Peay’s bullpen has posted a 3.51 ERA, 8.43 strikeouts per nine innings and held opponents to a .235 batting average.
About the Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma (24-26-1, 11-13 Big 12) enters the weekend after securing a Big 12 series victory against in-state rival and nationally-ranked Oklahoma State. The Sooners own Big 12 series wins against both Oklahoma State and Texas for the first time since 1998.
Left fielder Cody Thomas, a former quarterback for the Sooners football team, was named the Big 12 Player of the Week after batting .417 with seven RBI against Oklahoma State. Junior shortstop/right-handed pitcher Sheldon Neuse was named to the Golden Spikes Watch List for National Player of the Year – he leads Oklahoma in batting average (.383), home runs (10) and RBI (46).
The Sooners feature a young group on the mound with freshman pitchers accounting for 17 of its 26 victories. Freshman Alex Hansen, a Preseason All-America selection, picked up his first win against Kansas State, May 8th. Oklahoma has used 10 different starting pitchers this season.