Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team begins its 2021 campaign with three-game series against nationally-ranked Dallas Baptist this weekend in Dallas, Texas. Due to the winter weather that has beset the area, the series start was pushed back one day. The APSU Govs and Patriots start their three-game series Saturday.
Picked fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference’s Preseason Predicted Order of Finish, Austin Peay State University returns the bulk of last season’s team.
11 hitters and 10 pitchers that saw action in 2020 return and will be augmented by a group of 12 newcomers.
Dallas Baptist, which has qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of the last eight full seasons, was picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference in its preseason poll. The Patriots, who return all three pieces from last season’s weekend rotation, were ranked No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll.
Inside The Dallas Baptist Series
The Series: No previous meetings.
Notably: Austin Peay State University returns to Texas for the first time since it opened the 2014 season at Baylor. It will be the Governors second trip to the Lone Star State in program history.
Game 1 • 2:00pm, Saturday | Harley Gollert (RSo., LHP) vs. Dominic Hamel (Jr., RHP)
Game 2 • 2:00pm, Sunday | Peyton Jula (RFr., RHP) vs. Ray Gaither (RJr., RHP)
Game 3 • Noon, Monday | Hayden Josephson (RJr., RHP) vs. Jared Pettitte (RJr., LHP)
Left fielder TJ Foreman is penciled in as the APSU Govs opening day starter after starting last season’s final 6 games in left. Batting .311 for the year, he was the Govs second-leading hitter behind Avros.
Preseason All-OVC center fielder Garrett Spain batted just .188 through the season’s first 9 games in 2020. However, he closed the campaign on fire with 4 multihit outings in the last 9, batting .367 (11-for-30) with 8 extra-base hits (.900 SLG), and ended the season batting .274.
Right fielder Skyler Luna started all but one game in his first season with APSUs. He was APSU’s top RBI man (14) thanks to a trio of 3-RBI outings, including 3 RBI as part of a 4-for-5, 3 double performance against Murray State, March 7th.
Third baseman Gino Avros ended 2020 with a multihit game in each of his last four outings. He batted .600 (9-for-15) with 4 doubles and a home run (1.067 SLG), 9 runs scored, and 4 RBI.
Transfer Xavier Torres takes over at shortstop on opening day in his first season at APSU. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico product batted .380 with 15 RBI and 23 stolen bases last season at Motlow State.
Second baseman Malcolm Tipler took advantage of the NCAA waiver to return to the Govs (along with Tucker Weaver) in 2021. He again patrols second base where he started 14 of the 17 games last season. Tipler was one of three Govs with 10 walks (Spain and Avros) and batted .273 on the year.
Preseason All-OVC first baseman John McDonald is the APSU Govs opening day starter for the third consecutive season. He returns after seeing 2020 ended on his first at-bat due to a leg injury. McDonald batted .289 with 3 home runs and 17 RBI in 2019, playing in 41 games.
Transfer Jack Alexander made the move to Austin Peay State University from Notre Dame during the summer and takes over as the APSU Govs opening day catcher. He saw action in just 4 games as a sophomore after making 21 starts for the Fighting Irish as a freshman.
Newcomer Jeremy Wagner is penciled in as a corner outfield backup during the opening weekend. He played for his father, MLB alumnus Billy Wagner, at Miller School of Albemarle, and together they won three consecutive VISAA Division 2 State Championships.