Clarksville, TN – With Ohio Valley Conference play starting March 6th, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball team will head to Charlotte West Stadium this weekend, in Carbondale, Illinois, to participate in its last in-season tournament, the Coach B Classic, hosted by Southern Illinois.
The Governors (4-0) will be joined by Ball State (0-0), DePaul (3-2), Saint Louis (0-1) and host SIU (6-0) in the three-day event, with the APSU Govs opening play, 2:30pm, Friday, February 26th versus SIU.
“We will attack this weekend very similar to last (week) with our main focus being playing Austin Peay State University softball,” coach Kassie Stanfill said. “We used this week to cover a few of our mistakes from last weekend, making sure we are learning and improving throughout the season. Our line-ups may not look exactly the same this weekend, but our mindset will be.”
Austin Peay State University will continue play with a 10:00am, Saturday contest versus Ball State followed by a 4:45pm, game against DePaul.
The Govs conclude play at the classic on Sunday, with a 12:15pm rematch against SIU, followed by a 2:30pm showdown versus Saint Louis.
“The best thing about playing sport is getting the opportunity to compete against quality teams,” said Stanfill. “We start our OVC schedule off with a strong SEMO team at their place. So, I’d like to see our athletes continue to compete, stay united under pressure and aggressive on all facets of the game during this weekend to carry over to OVC play.”
The APSU Govs, who had five different players hit .400-or-better in its opening weekend last week at Troy, Alabama, are led by third baseman Lexi Osowski’s .533 batting average, followed by outfielders Bailey Shorter (.438) and Kelsey Gray (.429), senior pitcher/first baseman Kelsey Gross (.417) and shortstop Brooke Pfefferle (.400).
In the circle, the Govs pitching staff was led by freshman Jordan Benefiel, who went 2-0 last weekend, with a 0.75 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 9.1 innings of work, while Harley Mullins went 1-0, with a save, and a 0.64 ERA and Gross going 1-0, with a 2.80 ERA.
Scouting the opponents
Ball State: The Coach B Classic will be the season-opening action for the Cardinals, who were picked to finish third in the Mid-American Conference pre-season poll, after posting a 18-9 mark in 2020 before the COVID-19 shutdown and return all but two players from that squad.
DePaul: The Blue Demons, of the Big East Conference, enter this weekend’s action with a 3-2 record and having not played since February 14th, in an 8-7 eight-inning loss to Western Illinois at home.
DePaul is led offensively by pitcher/first baseman Tori Meyer (.545, 3 2B, 7 RBI), while Natalie Halvorson tops their pitching core with a 1-0 record, a 5;06 ERA and 11 strikeouts.
Saint Louis: The Billikens, of the Atlantic 10 Conference coming into the weekend having only played one game, a 5-4 road loss to Bradley on February 22nd, due to weather cancellations that has cost them four other games so far this season.
Kat Lane and Gabbie Kowalik each collected three hits each in their one contest this season, while Chloe Wendling took the loss in the start, going 4.2 innings and giving up all five runs, while striking out four.
Southern Illinois: The Salukis, of the Missouri Valley Conference, come into the weekend sporting a 6-0 record – including a win at nationally-ranked Mississippi State (#22/#24) last week and are receiving votes in the two major national polls.
They are led offensively by Tori Schullian’s .636 batting average, which includes two doubles and four RBIs, while Carlee Jo Clark tops their pitching core with a 3-0 record and a 0.00 ERA in 18 innings worked this season.