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HomeSportsAustin Peay State University Baseball plays at Morehead State this weekend

Austin Peay State University Baseball plays at Morehead State this weekend

Austin Peay at Morehead State

April 20th-22nd, 2018 | 4:00pm, 12:00pm, 12:00pm
Morehead, KY | Allen Field

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – Following a four-day break, Austin Peay’s baseball team returns to Ohio Valley Conference play when it meets Morehead State in a three-game series, Friday-Sunday, at Allen Field in Morehead, Kentucky.

Austin Peay Baseball travels to Morehead Kentucky to take on the Eagles this weekend. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Baseball travels to Morehead Kentucky to take on the Eagles this weekend. (APSU Sports Information)

The three-game series between the third-place Governors and second-place Eagles is scheduled to start with a 4:00pm (CT), Friday contest. That series opener will be followed by noon contests both Saturday and Sunday.

Austin Peay entered its four-day break with a series victory against Eastern Kentucky last weekend. It was the Governors eighth weekend series victory in the season’s nine weekends.

It also helped APSU move up two spots in the league standings, entering this weekend third, 1½ games behind MSU.

Morehead State maintained its second-place positioning by sweeping a three-game OVC set at SIU Edwardsville last weekend. The Eagles saw OVC Preseason Player of the Year Niko Hulsizer, who missed 20 games due to injury, return in the April 5th UT Martin series opener and they have won seven of the eight games since his return.

First Hacks

Austin Peay is ranked No. 88 in the NCAA’s April 19th RPI rankings. The Govs have recorded six or more walks 17 times this season and they rank 11th nationally with 206 base on balls (5.57 per game). Austin Peay also is ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in both doubles per game (2.30, 8th) and scoring (7.3 runs per game, 19th) entering the weekend.

First baseman Parker Phillips was named the adidas(R) OVC Player of the Week after batting .556 (10-for-18) with 15 RBI in last week’s five games, including a 8-for-13 (.615) effort in the weekend series against EKU which also saw him hit five home runs and post 12 RBI. Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli has reached base in 35 of his 36 games played this season; he is batting .386 (34-88)  and has posted 14 of his 19 multi-hit outings since moving into the leadoff spot, March 16th (19 games).

Shortstop Garrett Kueber is batting .418 (21-51) with 15 RBI in his last 14 games with an at-bat, opening with back-to-back four-hit outings on March 18th and 20th. Third baseman Malcolm Tipler became the regular third baseman in the Govs OVC opener at Jacksonville State, March 9th, and is batting .302 (29-96) with a team-best 25 runs scored in the 24 games since.

Center fielder Imani Willis opened the EKU series with a four-RBI outing that included a home run then added a two-RBI effort in Game 2; capping a three-game RBI streak that was tied for his longest this season. Left fielder Kyle Wilson has started 21 of the Govs 23 games since the start of OVC play and has nine doubles, 11 RBI and 14 runs scored in that span.

Right fielder Nick Walker missed five games and did not start another four, March 16th-30th, due to a lower-body injury but returned to the starting lineup in the Southeast Missouri finale, March 31st; he is batting .293 (12-41) with nine RBI in the 12 games since his return to the batting order.

Catchers David Martinez and Alex Sala have split starts behind the plate since March 6th, Martinez starting 12 games and Sala making 11 starts while Phillips has three starts in that 26-game span; they have combined to hit .253 with four home runs (two each by Martinez and Sala) and 19 RBI in those 26 games.

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. Since the start of OVC play 16 different Govs hitters have started a game and only Tipler has started each of the 24 games since the March 9th OVC opener and only Tipler and Willis have played all 24.

Toeing The Rubber

Left-hander Michael Costanzo will make his 10th consecutive start as the Governors No. 1 this season in the Friday series opener. He notched his sixth victory against the Colonels, surviving 5.1 innings in windy conditions that favored hitters in a game that finished with an 18-15 final score.

Lefty Jacques Pucheu will make his 10th straight start as the Govs No. 2 this season in the series’ second game. He was left with no decision after also going 5.1 innings in the Friday doubleheader against EKU, but the Govs rallied to win for the 12th time in his 16 career starts. APSU’s Game 3 starter is to be announced prior to the series finale.

Right-hander Brandon Vial made his second straight Game 3 start (fifth this season) against EKU last weekend but was left with the loss despite going 6.0 innings and allowing one earned run (four runs). Govs pitchers have 288 strikeouts in 323 innings (8.02 K/9) this season after amassing a record-tying 466 strikeouts (8.07 K/9) last season.

On Deck

Austin Peay continues its road trip with a Tuesday contest against Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. The game is the second half of the home-and-home series between the two Tennessee schools. The Govs were shutout, 9-0, by the Blue Raiders in the season’s first meeting, March 13th.

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