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Austin Peay State University Baseball begins six game road trip at Southern Illinois

 

Austin Peay at Southern Illinois

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 | 3:00pm CT
Carbondale, IL | Itchy Jones Stadium

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team kicks off a scheduled six-game road trip when it travels north to face Southern Illinois in a 3:00pm, Wednesday contest at Itchy Jones Stadium.

Wednesday’s contest is the back half of a home-and-home set between the Govs and Salukis.

Austin Peay Baseball travels to Carbondale for Wednesday afternoon game against Southern Illinois. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Baseball travels to Carbondale for Wednesday afternoon game against Southern Illinois. (APSU Sports Information)

Southern Illinois won the February 20th meeting 16-7 in Clarksville. Three Govs hitters had two hits and two RBI in that loss.

However, the Salukis 1-4 hitters combined for eight hits and 13 RBI.

Austin Peay (16-12) returns to the road after winning a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series against Southeast Missouri, Friday and Saturday. The Govs won the first two games in walk off fashion to clinch the set before falling the series finale.

Southern Illinois (14-13) begins a five-game homestand with Wednesday’s contest. The Salukis picked up an Missouri Valley Conference series win at Illinois State, Friday and Saturday. SIU won the opening two games by two runs each before dropping the finale by a lone run.

First Hacks

Austin Peay is ranked No. 76 in the NCAA’s March 25 RPI rankings. The Govs have recorded six or more walks 14 times this season and they rank 11th nationally with 159 base on balls (5.68 per game). Austin Peay also is ranked among the nation’s Top 50 in doubles per game (2.36, 13th) and scoring (7.0 runs per game, 34th) entering the weekend.

Shortstop Garrett Kueber has 17 hits (.560 BA) and 11 RBI in his last eight games, opening with back-to-back four-hit outings on March 18th and 20th;  he also owns a 27-game reached base safely streak.

Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli currently has both a 14-game hit streak and a 34-game reached base safely streak – the longest in the OVC this season; he is batting .415 (22-53) since moving into the leadoff spot, March 16th (11 games). Third baseman Malcolm Tipler is batting .386 (17-44) with 10 RBI and 16 runs scored during his 12-game hit streak.

First baseman Parker Phillips’ bat has roared to life with a hit (11-34, .324) in seven of his last eight games and an RBI (14 total) in eight of his last nine games. Outfielder/first baseman Andrew Flaherty tied his season high with three RBI and scored the walk-off run in Game 2 of the Southeast Missouri series, March 30th.

Center fielder Imani Willis has two grand slams this season; he has reached base safely in 21 of the 24 games since returning to the starting lineup February 23rd. Outfielder Kyle Wilson has started each of the Govs last 10 games, including seven consecutive games in the outfield; he had a hit in three of his final nine plate appearances against Southeast Missouri, including a 2-for-4 outing in Game 2 of the series.

Outfielder Nick Walker missed seven games with a lower-body injury but slowly worked his way back into the line up against Southeast Missouri, coming off the bench to pinch hit in Games 1 and 2 before starting at designated hitter in the finale. Catcher David Martinez’ has reached base safely in seven of his last eight games played, including his first home run as a Governor in the Tennessee Tech series finale, March 25th.

Catcher Alex Sala saw a six-game hit streak end in the Southeast Missouri series opener, March 30th, but hit .348 (8-23) during the streak.

The 2018 Govs offense is a collectively young group with only 15 years of Division I experience between the 20 available position players entering the season. Austin Peay has seen 16 different players make a start in the batting order this season and utilized a different batting order in every game this season.

Toeing The Rubber

Right-hander Brandon Vial is scheduled to make his fourth start this season in Carbondale. He began the season as the Govs No. 3 starter, opening with a February 18th win against Illinois but could not make it into the fourth inning in his next two starts.

Last seven appearances have been out of the bullpen where he has one save – a three-inning outing against Murray State, March 18. Govs pitchers have 227 strikeouts in 245 innings (8.34 K/9) this season. Austin Peay pitchers amassed a record-tying 466 strikeouts (8.07 K/9) last season.

On Deck

Austin Peay continues its six-game road trip with another large Ohio Valley Conference series looming at Belmont, Friday-Sunday. The weekend set will feature a matchup between teams currently fourth in the OVC standings.


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