Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky
Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 | 6:00pm CT
Clarksville, TN | Raymond C. Hand Park
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team opens May when it host Western Kentucky in a 6:00pm, Tuesday nonconference tilt at Raymond C. Hand Park.
The Governors will be closing a four-game homestand with Tuesday’s contest, which it began by winning a three-game Ohio Valley Conference set against UT Martin last weekend.
It was Austin Peay’s 10 weekend series victory in 11 weekend and their seventh OVC series win in eight tries.
Western Kentucky begins a four-game road trip with the short trip to Clarksville.
The Hilltoppers return to action after narrowly dropping a Conference USA set to Louisiana Tech last weekend. WKU won the opener before dropping the final two games, including an 11-inning loss in Sunday’s series finale.
Austin Peay secured a berth in the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference tournament with its series victory against UT Martin. The Governors are in tight race with three other teams, all separated by one-half game, for the 2-5 seeds in the tournament.
The Govs have recorded six or more walks 19 times this season and they rank 14th nationally with 235 base on balls (5.34 per game). Austin Peay also is ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in both doubles per game (2.25, 10th) and scoring (7.5 runs per game, 10th) entering the week.
First baseman Parker Phillips has enjoyed the month of April, batting .500 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI in 14 games during the month; he has vaulted into the Division I ranking in homers (8th, 15), RBI (16th, 51) and slugging percentage (8th, .711). Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli has reached base in 40 of the 42 games he has played this season; he is ranked among Division I’s leaders in both total doubles (6th, 19), batting average (52nd, .371) and runs scored (20th, 48).
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, but has not played since April 15th due to injury. Infielder Bobby Head has started seven games at shortstop in Kueber’s stead; he has reached base in seven times during his current streak of 10 starts overall.
Utility man Malcolm Tipler has reached base safely 25 times and is batting .296 with 26 runs scored in his last 28 games; he started two games in left field during the UT Martin series after starting 25 consecutive games at third base. Center fielder Imani Willis has batted .303 (10-33) with 11 RBI in his last 10 games, including five extra base hits (two homers).
Left fielder Kyle Wilson has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games after last weekend, batting .302 (16-53) with nine RBI, five doubles and two home runs during the streak. Right fielder Nick Walker has a home run in four of his last six games and is batting .444 (12-27) with 10 RBI in those six games; he also has reached safely in 16 consecutive 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 and Willis have played each of the 27 games since the March 9th OVC opener.
Toeing The Rubber
Left-hander Josh Rye will make his second consecutive midweek start and his fifth start overall this season against WKU. In his first midweek start, Rye held Middle Tennessee to one run on six hits in 4.2 innings but was left without a decision following a late Blue Raiders comeback.
Govs pitchers have 340 strikeouts in 384 innings (7.97 K/9) this season after amassing a record-tying 466 strikeouts (8.07 K/9) last season.
Austin Peay heads back to the St. Louis area, where it opened the 2018 campaign, for a three-game OVC set against SIU Edwardsville. The Cougars will enter the weekend set with a three-game win streak after sweeping a nonconference set at Samford last weekend. SIUE tossed 21 scoreless innings to start the series and allowed just two runs total.