Clarksville, TN – A final home weekend with plenty on the line awaits the Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team when it hosts Jacksonville State in a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series, Friday-Saturday, on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.
The weekend holds special importance as the OVC regular-season slate enters its final two weekends.
Only four teams qualify for the OVC Baseball Championship which begins in two weeks.
That means fourth-place Jacksonville State holds a spot in the tournament that fifth-place Austin Peay State University wants.
Austin Peay State University picked up a Tuesday victory at Belmont to finish a split of its four-game road trip, which included a 1-2 OVC series loss at Eastern Illinois. APSU enters the weekend ranked No. 3 offensively in league play with a .285 batting average and seventh in pitching (5.67 ERA).
Third baseman Gino Avros leads the APSU Govs in OVC play with a .354 batting average that is 15th among league hitters. Right hander Drew McIllwain is ranked No. 10 among OVC pitchers with a 3.81 ERA in seven league outings.
Jacksonville State returns to action a week after dropping an OVC series against SIU Edwardsville, 1-2. The Gamecocks enter the weekend as the OVC’s top pitching staff (3.98 ERA) and No. 2 ranked offense (.287 batting average) in league play.
First baseman Alex Carignan leads that offense with a league-leading .456 batting average in OVC play. On the mound, Right-hander Christian Edwards owns a OVC-best 2.20 ERA in seven starts, but he missed last weekend’s action against SIUE.
Inside The Series
The Series: 61 previous meetings, JSU leads 37-24
Previously: JSU swept the 2019 series, 4-0 (3-4, 5-14, 8-13, 4-8)
Notably: Jacksonville State has won the last six meetings in the series. The Gamecocks swept the 2019 regular-season series in Clarksville and won an OVC Tournament matchup in Marion, Illinois that season. Prior to that, Austin Peay State University won six consecutive games, including the 2017 series in Clarksville.
GAME 1 | TBA vs. TBA
Brown has been the Govs No. 1 starter since March 26th against Belmont. In his seven Game 1 starts he is 2-1 with a complete game (at UTM) and 32.0 innings pitched. The Govs are 5-2 in his starts as the No. 1, with the offense providing 9.6 runs of support.
GAME 2 | TBA vs. TBA
The Govs have used four different hurlers in the No. 2 spot in the eight weeks since the start of OVC play. RHP Sebastian Martinez has taken the reins the past three weekends with 15 strikeouts in 15.2 innings pitched. Austin Peay is 3-6 in Game 2’s this season, the offense providing 5.7 runs of support.
GAME 3 | TBA vs. TBA
Five different Govs also have taken a turn as the Govs No. 3 starter this season. RHP Drew McIllwain has started five of the last six Game 3s and is 1-1 with 27 strikeouts in 27.2 innings with a 3.90 ERA. In the eight weeks since the start of OVC play, APSU is 4-5 in Game 3’s, the offense supplying 5.0 runs of support.
Catcher Jack Alexander has seven hits in his last six games (.318 BA) with three doubles and a home run (.591 SLG). Those four extra-base hits were posted during the recently completed four-game road trip.
Third baseman Gino Avros was just 1-for-30 (.033) at the plate through the season’s first 11 games. But his turnaround over the last 36 games has been remarkable, leading the APSU Govs in batting average (.354) and on-base percentage (.438) since March 14th.
Shortstop John Bolton has seen his bat start to warm up with 10 hits (.294 BA) and seven walks (.415 OBP) in his last 10 games. He has three multi-hit games in that span.
Knaje Guthrie has split time between left field and second base over the past seven games. He has three hits and three walks in his last 14 plate appearances (.429 OBP) dating back to April 30th.
Outfielder Skyler Luna has started three consecutive games in right field, his first starts in right field since April 6. He is 3-for-11 with three RBI and three runs scored.
First baseman John McDonald enjoyed a 4-for-5, four RBI outing against North Alabama, April 27th, including a walk-off single in the ninth. However, he suffered a lower-body injury in that game and has missed the last nine games.
In 13 games since being held hitless in back-to-back games, April 17th & 20th, center fielder Garrett Spain has batted .370 (20-54) with 10 RBI, eight stolen bases, and nine runs scored.
Second baseman Malcolm Tipler saw his 19-game reached safely streak end in Saturday’s series finale at Eastern Illinois. During the streak, he batted .362 (25-69) and led the team with a .482 on-base percentage (15 BB).
Outfielder Jeremy Wagner has started eight of APSU’s last nine games and is batting 7-for-29 with a three extra-base hits and four runs scored.
Since McDonald’s injury, April 27th, Austin Peay State University has used four starters at designated hitter: Reid Brown, Ty DeLancey, Joslin, and Tipler, They have combined for six hits in nine games.
Raymond C. Hand Park Admission Polices
Purchase tickets online at www.LetsGoPeay.com/BuyTickets.
Guests must maintain proper social distancing while inside the facility.
Masks are required to cover both the mouth and nose at all times while in the facility.
Failure to wear masks or maintain proper social distancing may result in guests being asked to leave the facility.
No seating permitted in the upper two rows of the chairback seating.
Pets are not permitted inside Raymond C. Hand Park; however, service dogs (i.e., guide dogs for persons with disabilities) are allowed in the ballpark.