Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball’s final stretch run begins when it hosts Murray State in a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series, Friday-Sunday, on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park. The series is set to begin on Friday at 6:00pm followed by contests Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm
Austin Peay State University returns home after a four-game, five-day road trip that saw it recent road woes continue.
However, they return to The Hand seeking to extend a three-game home winning streak. Clarksville native Gino Avros leads the APSU Govs at home with a .381 batting average, 12 doubles and 31 runs scored. Jack Alexander leads the Govs with 26 RBI while batting .372 at home.
Murray State has been one of the hotter teams in the OVC over the last two weeks, winning seven of its last eight. The Racers swept Eastern Illinois and won a series against SIU Edwardsville in that span to climb into fifth place. Jake Slunder leads MSU with a .326 batting average and 40 runs scored. But it is third baseman Bryson Bloomer that has paced the offense with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 44 games.
Get There Early
Prior to each game during this weekend series, Austin Peay State University will recognize an individual with a ceremonial first pitch, which will take place at 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch. The Governors will recognize their mothers prior to the Mother’s Day game, Sunday.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Austin Peay State University will recognize the 11 seniors on this season’s team and the six returning seniors from last season’s team. Those pregame ceremonies will begin at 12:35pm, Saturday, followed by a ceremonial first pitch.
Jack Alexander, Gino Avros, John Bolton, Matt Joslin, Austin Loeb, Collin Loose, Skyler Luna, Drew McIllwain, Sebastian Martinez, Zac Pearson, and Nick Wellman are the 2022 seniors that will be recognized
For Your Comfort And Safety
Austin Peay State University’s athletics department made two major changes to improve the fan experience this spring at Raymond C. Hand Park. First, new netting was installed that extends from dugout to dugout and is 30 feet high to protect the seating area and hillsides behind both dugouts.
Fans are reminded foul balls may still enter the seating area but the new netting should provide a safer experience.
In addition, new chairback seating was installed behind home plate. The new reserved seating area provides additional seating space for fans along with cup holders for their ice-cold Coca-Cola products.
Single-game tickets are still available for remaining seven games on the home slate. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance by visiting LetsGoPeay.com/BuyTickets or by calling the APSU Athletics Ticket Office at 931.221.PEAY (7329).
The ticket window at Raymond C. Hand Park opens one hour prior to first pitch each day.
On The Mound
GAME 1 | RHP Tyler Delong vs. RHP Jacob Pennington
Delong notched his second quality start of 2022 at Toledo, April 29th, adding to his quality start at UT Martin to begin April. He has posted 25 Ks in 25.2 innings since moving into the No. 1 role at the start of OVC play. Pennington has come out of the bullpen in his last two outings, behind a designated opener. In those two outings he owns a 4.22 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched.
GAME 2 | LHP Harley Gollert vs. LHP Hayden Wynja
Gollert’s bounce back outing was derailed by the Govs defense at Toledo as he allowed only one earned run over 4.0 innings, but six runs cross the plate. However, he has maintained a strikeout per inning over his last four outings (21 Ks / 19.2 IP). Wynja has two wins in his last three starts, posting a 1.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitched. He has not pitched more than five innings in an outing since March 18.
GAME 3 | RHP Drew McIllwain vs. LHP Adrien Reese
After suffering the shortest start of his career at SIU Edwardsville on April 23rd, McIllwain bounced back with 4.1 innings at Toledo to open May. In addition, he notched his second start without a walk against the Rockets, joining his February 26th start against Bowling Green. After a rough outing at Eastern Illinois, April 23rd, Reese bounced back with a quality start against SIUE. He did not receive a decision in either of those games after notching his first win against UT Martin, April 16th.
Through The Lineup
After maintaining a break-neck pace over the first 32 games, catcher Jack Alexander has seen his pace slow over the past 12 outings. He ended April 9th batting .417 after a 3-for-5, 4 RBI outing at UT Martin. Since then, he is batting .215 (11-51), but he has batted in 13 of his 45 RBI during those 12 games.
John McDonald returned to the lineup April 15th and batted .450 (9-20) in his first seven games, pushing his average to .333 – a 45-point improvement. He is battling a rough spot over his last four games, with one hit and a .083 batting average.
Beginning with his 4-for-4 outing against Eastern Kentucky, March 13th, utility man Gino Avros is batting .356 (42-118) with 21 RBI and 14 doubles – taking the team lead in doubles (21). He made his 1st career start at second against Southern Illinois, April 19th, and has started 7 of the last 9 games at second.
Shortstop John Bolton has a hit in 17 of the 23 games since the start of OVC play, including 8 multi-hit outings. He is batting .304 (25-82) with 8 doubles, and 7 RBI in that span.
Third baseman Michael Robinson went 3-for-5 with 7 RBI in Game 2 of the SIUE series, the first 7-RBI outing by a Governor since Parker Phillips had 7 RBI against Eastern Kentucky during the 2018 season.
Right fielder Harrison Brown notched his first career 4-hit day in the SIUE series finale, going 4-for-4 with 4 RBI. He led the Govs with a .394 batting average (26-66) in April with 13 RBI.
Since April 15th, center fielder Skyler Luna has a hit in 6 of 8 games and is batting .360 (9-25) with 5 runs scored during the month’s second half. He missed the Toledo series for precautionary reasons.
Right fielder TJ Foreman has a hit in all 11 games since his return to the lineup, April 15th. He is batting .500 (19-38) with 3 doubles, a triple, a home run, and 11 runs scored since his return.
Catcher Tyler Cotto was the APSU Govs “Most Interesting Man” during last week’s midweek games. He made his pitching debut against North Alabama and picked up the win, April 26th. Cotto then put back on the catching gear at Bellarmine, April 27th, and was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI and caught a runner stealing.
TJ Rogers stepped in after Luna’s injury at Toledo and started twice at second base. He went 1-for-2 with a double, walk, and run scored in Friday’s game but was held without a hit in Saturday’s tilt.
Follow The APSU Govs
This weekend’s series is available at PeayStats.com for live scoring through the series or get important game updates on Twitter by following @GovsBSB.