Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) softball team opens its 2023 regular season this weekend, as they travel to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, to play in the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldog Classic.
It is the second time in the Governors’ 38-year history that they will open a season at Gardner-Webb, having also opened their 2016 season in Boiling Springs.
Joining the Govs and Bulldogs in the three-day event are Robert Morris, George Mason and Ohio, with the APSU Govs opening play noon, Friday, against Robert Morris, followed by a matchup versus the tournament host Gardner-Webb, at 4:00pm.
On Saturday, the APSU Govs begin with a, 10:00am, morning contest versus Ohio, while finishing Day 2 with a, 6:00pm, evening game versus George Mason.
Austin Peay State University wraps up play in the Runnin’ Bulldog Classic on Sunday, 11:00am, with a rematch against Ohio.
The Govs, who open their first season as members of the ASUN Conference, return 14 players from their 30-23 squad of 2022, including the Ohio Valley Conference’s Player of the Year Lexi Osowski-Anderson (third base) and All-OVC Second-Team selections Jordan Benefiel (pitcher) and Kylie Campbell (designated player).
Other starters and pitchers returning are Kendyl Weinzapfel (OF), Mea Clark (C), Morgan Zuege (2B), Emily Harkleroad (1B), Megan Hodum (OF) and pitcher Samantha Miener.
This weekend also will see 10 new Governors on the roster, which include four collegiate transfers and six true freshmen.
Scouting The Opponents
Robert Morris: The Colonials, of the Horizon League, come into the 2023 season after posting a 31-21 record last year, their first 30-win season since 2013, and return five members of its starting line-up and three members of its pitching staff. The Colonials were picked second in their conference’s preseason poll, including earning one first place vote in that poll.
Gardner-Webb: The Bulldogs, of the Big South Conference, posted a 15-29 record in 2022, and return six starters along with two pitchers from their 2022 squad and are picked eighth in their conference’s preseason poll.
Ohio: The Bobcats, of the Mid-American Conference, were 23-25 overall last season, but were regular-season runners-up in the MAC at 17-10. Ohio does return 14 players from 2022, but only three were starters and only one returning pitcher form the 2022 squad.
George Mason:The Patriots, of the Atlantic 10 Conference, recorded a 24-26 record last season, and return six fulltime starters and two of their three primary pitchers. George Mason was picked seventh in their conference’s preseason poll but did pick up one first-place vote in that poll.
Inside The Lines
The 2023 season will be Austin Peay State University’s first as a member of the ASUN Conference and their 38 season overall.
This will be the second time since 2016 the Governors will open a season in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
Junior pitcher Jordan Benefiel needs five strikeouts to move into 10th place all-time in program history.
The APSU Govs have eight players on the roster from Tennessee, including one Clarksville native, Emberly Nichols, who prepped at Clarksville High.
Next Up For APSU Softball
The Austin Peay State University softball team returns to action February 17th-19th, when they travel to Auburn, Alabama, to participate in the Tiger Invite, where they will face Dayton, Villanova, and nationally ranked and tournament host Auburn.
For news and updates on everything APSU softball, follow along on Twitter (@GovsSB) or check back at LetsGoPeay.com.