Austin Peay at Clemson
May 11th-13th, 2018 | 5:30pm, 3:00pm, 12:00pm
Clemson, SC | Doug Kingsmore Stadium
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team will step out of Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend to face nationally-ranked Clemson in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina.
The three-game set, which can be seen on ACC Network Extra, is scheduled to begin with a 5:30pm (CT), Friday contest. The Governors and Tigers will continue the set with a 3:00pm (CT), Saturday matchup before concluding the series at noon, Sunday.
The Governors return to the road for a second straight weekend, but it is weekends where they have enjoyed their most success.
Austin Peay has won 11 of its 12 weekend series in 2018 and posted an impressive 25-11 record in weekend play.
Parker Phillips‘ bat has warmed up with the weather, the sophomore posting 13 home runs since April’s start. He paces a Govs offense that has 39 home runs in 21 games since April.
No. 5 Clemson has won its last three outings and 11 of its last 12 entering this weekend’s series. The Tigers have been particularly tough to beat at Kingsmore Stadium, rolling up a 24-6 record at home this season with all the losses coming in ACC play. Junior Seth Beer is the main attraction for the Tigers with 48 home runs in three seasons.
However, Clemson’s well-tested pitching staff has held its own, limiting opponents to a .235 batting average.
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 22 times this season and they rank ninth nationally with 267 base on balls (5.45 per game). Austin Peay also is ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in both doubles per game (11th, 2.22), total home runs (16th, 57) and scoring (7th, 7.6 runs per game, ) entering the weekend.
First baseman Parker Phillips has been on a tear over the Govs last 21 games, leading APSU with a .441 batting average, 13 home runs and 31 RBI since April 1; he is ranked among Division I’s Top 15 in home runs (5th, 17) and RBI (14th, 56) this season. Second baseman Garrett Giovannelli has reached base in 45 of the 47 games he has played this season; he is ranked among Division I’s leaders in both total doubles (5th, 21) and runs scored (14th, 54).
Infielder Garrett Kueber took his first swings since April 13 in the second game of the SIU Edwardsville series (May 5th) in the three games since his return he has batted 5-for-10 with a triple, home run and four RBI; he missed all or parts of 10 games due to an injury. Infielder Bobby Head moved to shortstop in Kueber’s absence and remained there after his return; he has started the last 12 games and has six RBI in those starts, including three in the Govs win vs. Lipscomb.
Utility man Malcolm Tipler has reached base safely 25 times and is batting .296 with 26 runs scored in his last 28 games; he has missed the Govs last five games due to injury. Center fielder Imani Willis has batted .326 (15-46) with 13 RBI in his last 13 games, including seven extra base hits (two homers).
Catchers David Martinez and Alex Sala have split starts behind the plate since the start of OVC play (March 9th). Sala has started 31 games (2 at DH) and has four home runs and 18 RBI as a starter. Martinez has 20 starts (1 at DH) and is batting .256 with two home runs and nine RBI. First baseman John McDonald has been the starting designated hitter in three of the Govs last five games and has batted .385 (5-13) with a home run and three RBI in those starts.
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
Costanzo has opened every series in 2018 and compiled an 8-1 record and 4.07 ERA with 86 strikeouts; he ranks 11th nationally in wins and 47th nationally in strikeouts. Pucheu has been an equal partner in weekend play at the No. 2 spot, posting a 7-1 record, 4.03 ERA and striking out 81; he ranks 40th nationally in wins and 65th in strikeouts.
Right-hander Brandon Vial will make his fifth consecutive start (eighth this season) as the Govs No. 3. In his four starts since returning to the weekend rotation he has two quality starts and will look for his third after a rough outing at SIUE last weekend.
Austin Peay closes out its regular season slate with a three-game OVC series against Eastern Illinois, Thursday-Saturday.