APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team begins a five-game Spring Break road trip with a pair of nonconference contests. The Governors will face nationally-ranked Ole Miss in a 6:30pm, Tuesday contest in Oxford, Mississippi. Austin Peay then will meet Samford in a 6:00pm, Wednesday affair in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Governors (8-3), off to their third-best start in program history, return to action after winning their third-straight weekend series – winning two of three from Indiana State last weekend.
They now turn their attention to Ole Miss and Samford in the final tune up before they open Ohio Valley Conference play, Friday.
Ole Miss (10-1) begins a five-game homestand with Tuesday’s contest against Austin Peay. The Rebels opened the season with eight straight wins, including a narrow 7-6 victory against Murray State, last Tuesday. However, they lost the series opener at Long Beach State to end the streak before recovering to win the final two games of the series.
Samford (6-6) also opens a five-game homestand this week with the Govs being the second team to visit Birmingham. The Bulldogs lost two of three at Kennesaw State last weekend but own a 4-2 record at home. Earlier this season Samford picked up a 9-3 Tuesday victory against Jacksonville State.
Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli is ranked among the Top 5 in Division I in walks per game (1.36) and reached base in 10 of 16 (.625) plate appearances against Indiana State. Shortstop Garrett Kueber is ranked 20th nationally with six doubles in 2018 and leads the Govs with 13 RBI this season.
Andrew Flaherty started at first base in all three games of the Indiana State series; he batting 11-for-24 (.458) in his last six games and leads the Govs in batting average (.389), slugging percentage (.639) and on-base percentage (.522) entering the midweek pair.
Bobby Head and Malcolm Tipler have split time at third base this season; Tipler made two starts there against Indiana State and going 2-for-6 with a double while Head made two appearances off the bench.
Left field also has seen a rotating cast through the season’s first 11 games with Brandon Kelley, Nick Walker and Andrew Flaherty each starting in left field. Brandon Kelley made two starts in left field against Indiana State and was held without a hit, but started the season batting .333 in his first four starts.
Center fielder Imani Willis has a hit in all six games since returning to the starting lineup February 23rd, and is batting 9-for-21 (.428) during the streak. Right fielder Nick Walker appeared at all three outfield positions against Indiana State and hit his season’s third home run in Game 2 of the series.
Catcher David Martinez‘ has reached base in four of his last five starts, including two walks, scoring once, against Indiana State, Saturday. After posting just two hits in the opening week, first baseman Parker Phillips had an RBI in each game of the Indiana State series, including a grand slam in the series opener that was his first home run in 2018.
Outfielder Aaron Campbell made his second start this season against Indiana State and was 2-for-7 with three RBI in two games against the Sycamores. John McDonald broke up a six-game hitless streak in the Indiana State series finale, but had three RBI without a base hit in the first two games of the series.
The Govs have hit 50 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons and in five of the last six campaigns, including last season’s record 84-homer campaign.
Toeing The Rubber
Right-hander Kyle Wilson will make his first career start on the mound for the Governors against Ole Miss. He was an infielder all of last season, moving into the dual role this season. Wilson has made three relief appearances in 2018, including appearances in both midweek contests this season.
He becomes the third different midweek start for Austin Peay this season, joining Tyler Thompson (Southern Illinois) and Harley Gollert (Vanderbilt). Governors pitchers have 101 strikeouts in 99 innings (9.18 K/9, 81st in Division I) this season, 87 of those coming in the nine weekend outings.
Austin Peay pitchers amassed a record-tying 466 strikeouts (8.07 K/9) last season. It was only the fifth time in program history a Govs pitching staff has recorded 400 strikeouts in a season, all occurring since 2011.
The Govs Spring Break roadtrip continues with the opening weekend of Ohio Valley Conference play against Jacksonville State in Oxford, Alabama. Due to scheduled conflicts at Choccolocco Park, the series start times have been modified. The three-game series will begin with 11:00am contests both Friday and Saturday followed by a 1:00pm, Sunday series finale.