Austin Peay at SIU Edwardsville
May 4th-6th, 2018 | 6:00pm, 1:00pm, 1:00pm
Edwardsville, IL | Roy Lee Field
Clarksville, TN – Assured a spot in the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference baseball championship with six league games left, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team continues jockeying for seeding with a three-game OVC set at SIU Edwardsville, Friday-Sunday, at Roy Lee Field in Edwardsville, Illinois.
The Govs enter the weekend tied for fourth place with Southeast Missouri but are in a four-team logjam which includes the second through fifth seeds in the upcoming tournament.
Austin Peay and SEMO are just one-half game behind the duo of Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State, which are tied for second place.
APSU brings a three-game win streak into the weekend after picking up rare victories in Sunday and Tuesday contests. Sunday starter Brandon Vial provided a quality start in APSU’s win against UT Martin, which was just its fourth Sunday victory. Two days later, Josh Rye‘s stellar start against Western Kentucky handed APSU its first Tuesday win of 2018.
SIUE returns to action after a six-day break but teeming with confidence after a dominating three-game series sweep at Samford last weekend. The Cougars pitching staff opened the set with 21 consecutive scoreless innings and allowed just two runs in 29 innings against the Bulldogs.
SIUE returns to league action just three games out of the eighth spot in the standings with nine games remaining.
Austin Peay secured a berth in the 2018 OVC tournament with its series victory against UT Martin. The Govs have recorded six or more walks 19 times this season and they rank 15th nationally with 238 base on balls (5.29 per game). Austin Peay also is ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in both doubles per game (2.27, 8th) and scoring (7.5 runs per game, 11th) entering the week.
First baseman Parker Phillips enjoyed the month of April, batting .500 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI in 14 games during the month; he has vaulted into Division I’s Top 20 in homers (8th, 15), RBI (16th, 51) and slugging percentage (16th, .697). Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli has reached base in 41 of the 43 games he has played this season; he is ranked among Division I’s leaders in both total doubles (7th, 19), batting average (64th, .368) and runs scored (27th, 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 15 due to injury. Infielder Bobby Head has started seven games at shortstop in Kueber’s stead; he has reached base in eight times during his current run of 11 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 missed the WKU contest due to injury. Center fielder Imani Willis has batted .303 (10-33) with 11 RBI in his last 10 games, including five extra base hits (two homers).
Outfielder Kyle Wilson has reached base safely in 15 straight games and is batting .298 (17-57) with nine RBI, six doubles and two home runs during the streak. Right fielder Nick Walker has a home run in four of his last seven games and is batting .467 (14-30) with 11 RBI in those games; he also has reached safely in 17 consecutive games.
Catchers David Martinez and Alex Sala have split starts behind the plate since March 9th. Sala has three home runs and 15 RBI in his 19 starts since March 9th while Martinez is batting .455 with a home run and four RBI in his last six appearances.
Outfielder Brandon Kelley started in left field against WKU and posted a base hit in a 1-for-3 outing, it was the third straight start he has recorded a hit. Utility man Max Remy has been the Govs starting third baseman in each of its last three games and is batting .250 (3-12) with a double at the plate.
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.
Toeing The Rubber
Game 1 starter Michael Costanzo saw a personal three-game win streak paused with a no-decision against UT Martin, last Friday. The lefty reached the 200-career strikeout mark with a nine-strikeout performance but a late UTM comeback denied him a victory.
Game 2 starter Jacques Pucheu notched his third win in his last four starts with a career-long 7.2-inning outing against UT Martin. The southpaw also struck out nine and allowed just one earned run in his start.
Right-hander Brandon Vial made his third straight Game 3 start in posted his first OVC win with seven-innings of work against UT Martin. It was Vial’s longest start since his season-opening win against Illinois.
Austin Peay pitchers bring a streak of 11 consecutive scoreless innings into this weekend’s series against SIU Edwardsville.
Austin Peay returns home briefly to host Lipscomb in a 6:00pm, Tuesday contest at Raymond C. Hand Park. The Governors will look to avenge an 8-6 loss to the Bisons, April 10th, in Nashville, TN.