APSU Sports Information
Brentwood, TN – Austin Peay State University senior right-handed pitcher Alex Robles was named the Ohio Valley Conference’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year and senior outfielder Chase Hamilton was a preseason all-conference selection, the league office announced the Friday before college baseball’s opening day.
The Governors also were picked to finish third in the OVC’s preseason poll of the league’s coaches and sports information contacts.
Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri were picked in a dead heat atop the league standings. Behind APSU and picked to finish among the OVC’s top six were Tennessee Tech, Morehead State and Belmont.
Robles, of Tucson, Arizona, is a two-time second-team All-OVC pick at starting pitcher (2014 and 2016) and a two-time first-team All-OVC pick (as a utility player and pitcher in 2015). He returns after setting career highs in starts (15), wins (10), innings pitched (98.1) and strikeouts (89) a year ago.
The Govs No. 1 pitcher in all of his 40 career starts, Robles has posted 22 wins and 210 strikeouts during his three-year career. Those marks put him within sight of becoming the first Governors pitcher to post 30 wins or 300 strikeouts during the career.
Hamilton, of Arlington, Tennessee, gained a preseason All-OVC nod after his finest campaign as a Governor – setting career highs in batting average (.332), doubles (14), home runs (12) and RBI (47). He was tied for the team lead in home runs and second on the team in RBI (behind returnee Dre Gleason), leading to his first career All-OVC selection as a second team pick.
The league’s preseason poll wraps up a long list of college baseball preseason lists and poll. The Governors were picked as the OVC’s “Team to Beat” by Baseball America, February 2nd, with Robles tapped as its choice for OVC Pitcher of the Year.
Also on Groundhog Day, D1Baseball.com placed Austin Peay second behind Jacksonville State in its projected standings. The website also gave Robles its nod for Pitcher of the Year in the league while freshman right-hander Tyler Thompson was its choice for Freshman of the Year.
The Governors saw PerfectGame.org pick them third in its predicted order of finish, Thursday. However, no Governors player was selected by the website among the league’s top players.
Hamilton and Robles are among a group of 13 returning letterwinners from a 2016 team that finished third in the OVC regular-season race. Robles will lead a pitching staff that returns its entire weekend starting rotation, including senior right-hander Caleb Powell and sophomore left-hander Michael Costanzo. Robles, who also will play some infield during the season, and Hamilton are among the team’s four returning defensive starters along with Dre Gleason (first base) and sophomore catcher Alex Sala.
A large group of 14 newcomers will bolster the Austin Peay roster in 2016 with several expected to make significant contributions. Junior transfers Kyle Wilson and Garrett Giovannelli are penciled in to start opening day at shortstop and second base, respectively, while redshirt freshman Parker Phillips will take over third base duties. Also, the aforementioned Thompson will see action out of the bullpen and possibly as a midweek starter during the season.
Austin Peay opens its 2017 schedule when it hosts the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge, February 17th-19th. The Govs will face Youngstown State in a 3:30pm, February 17th contest to start the slate. Season tickets are available by calling the Austin Peay Athletics Ticket Office at 931.221.PEAY or online at LetsGoPeay.com/SportTix