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Austin Peay State University Baseball season starts in a week, OVC Preseason Poll announced

APSU Sports Information

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN –  In just seven days Austin Peay State University’s baseball team will take the field at Raymond C. Hand Park to begin its 2018 campaign, opening with a 3:00pm, February 16th contest against Maryland Eastern Shore.

Third-year head coach Travis Janssen has led the Governors to the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament in each of his first two seasons after they missed the tournament the two years before his arrival.

Austin Peay Baseball kick off the 2018 campaign February 16th against Maryland Eastern Shore at Raymond C. Hand Park. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Baseball kick off the 2018 campaign February 16th against Maryland Eastern Shore at Raymond C. Hand Park. (APSU Sports Information)

His 2018 squad features 17 letterwinners returning from last season’s squad, including four returning position starters and four returning starting pitchers. Joining that group is an influx of 18 newcomers with four of those rookies expect to contribute as starters on Opening Day.

Austin Peay was picked seventh in the OVC’s preseason poll, released Friday, with the league’s coaches and sports information contacts not expecting APSU to move from last season’s finish.

Tennessee Tech was picked to win the league’s regular-season race with Morehead State tapped to finish second. Jacksonville, Belmont, Southeast Missouri and Murray State occupied the next four spots in order with each picked to finish ahead of the Govs.

Pitching

Austin Peay returns seven pitchers from last season’s pitching staff, including the two-thirds of its weekend rotation as it stood at season’s end. Junior left-handers Josh Rye and Jacques Pucheu return and are expected to resume their spots in the Govs weekend rotation. Senior left-hander Michael Costanzo, who was in the starting rotation for 2017’s first five weeks, also is expected to return to the weekend rotation.

Battling to join that trio as a regular starters are right-handers Brandon Vial, a junior transfer, and sophomore Tyler Thompson, who worked during the summer and fall to make adjustments to his delivery after seeing occasional action out the bullpen as a freshman.

Junior right-hander Brett Newberg will anchor a young Governors bullpen that will feature 10 newcomers. Right-handers Greg Leban and Ross Walker, each junior transfers, and freshman left-hander Harley Gollert have been impressive in the preseason’s opening weeks.

Infield

The Governors infield may well be its strength in 2018 with junior catcher David Martinez, sophomore first baseman Parker Phillips, senior second baseman Garrett Giovannelli, junior shortstop Garrett Kueber and freshman third baseman Bobby Head currently positioned to start on Opening Day.

Phillips, an OVC All-Newcomer honoree last season, is the Govs leading returning hitter with a .328 batting average, 12 home runs and 40 RBI in his rookie campaign. Giovannelli closed with a flourish and ended the season with 72 hits (second most on the team), a .310 batting average and 12 doubles.

Kueber did not play in his first season at Austin Peay but was a Gold Glove Award winner at Moorpark College while also ranking third among CCCAA hitters with a .469 on-base percentage. Head has settled into third base during the preseason and will look to adjust to the speed of the college game quickly after batting .288 in his final prep season.

Experience fills out the infield depth chart for the Govs with senior infielder Kyle Wilson, sophomore infielders Max Remy and Malcolm Tipler as well as junior catcher Alex Sala available as the season starts. Freshman infielder John McDonald also will look to make an impact off the bench in their rookie campaigns.

Outfield

Senior Imani Willis is all that remains of the Governors outfield from last season and will return to man center field again this season after batting .272 and leading the team with 18 stolen bases. Joining him in right field will be senior Nick Walker, who did not play in his first season at Austin Peay. A transfer from Columbia State, he batted .302 with 24 RBI in his final season with the Chargers.

The Governors left field spot is up for grabs with senior Kyle Wilson, junior Brett Newberg and sophomore Brandon Kelley each vying for time in the left corner this preseason. Sophomore Andrew Flaherty and junior Aaron Campbell, who are battling for the designated hitter spot, also could see time in left field as the season progresses.

Ticket Plans Available

Austin Peay's Raymond C. Hand Field. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay’s Raymond C. Hand Field. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay 2018 baseball season ticket and flex plan packages remain available in the lead up to the regular-season opener next week.

Both the season ticket package and flex plan tickets may be purchased online at any time by visiting LetsGoPeay.com/SportTix. Fans may also call the Austin Peay Athletics ticket office at 931.221.PEAY (7329) during normal business hours.

The baseball season ticket package is available for 28 home dates in 2018. Reserved chairback seating is $65.00 with general admission seating $60.00 for the upcoming season, providing significant savings on the single-game pricing. Governors Club members receive an additional discount on season ticket plans.

In addition, fans can take advantage of the Governors Flex Pack for a third straight season. The flex pack, which is available for $45.00, includes 15 general admission vouchers that can be used in any combination for any regular-season contest.

Suite Packages Also On Sale

boxGATE suites available at Raymond C. Hand Park for the 2018 Austin Peay Baseball season. (APSU Sports Information)
boxGATE suites available at Raymond C. Hand Park for the 2018 Austin Peay Baseball season. (APSU Sports Information)

Three Austin Peay-themed boxGATE suites, which debuted during the football season at Fortera Stadium, will be available on the third base side of the main concourse. They feature space for serving food and beverages, including a refrigerator and microwave, a flat-screen television, leather sofa, a grill and even an eight-foot by 20-foot observation deck. Pricing for each suite includes 20 tickets.

Fans interested in more information or purchasing a suite for the season should complete the online form available at LetsGoPeay.com or contact Mike Minyard, Associate Athletics Director at . Full season rental of a suite, which includes 20 tickets to each game in the Governors 28-date home schedule, is $5,000. Suites may also be rented each weekend series ($1,000 per weekend) or on a single-game basis.

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