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APSU Baseball Opens 2023 Season at Raymond C. Hand Park against Illinois State

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – The 85th season of Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball begins this weekend when the Govs host Illinois State in a three-game series on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.

Head coach Roland Fanning makes his head coaching debut this weekend. An assistant the past 15 seasons, including stints at Oklahoma State and Kentucky, he takes over an Austin Peay State University program that posted 19 wins in 2022.

Fanning’s hire sparked a near-complete flip of the Governors’ roster. Austin Peay State University’s 2023 lineup includes 27 transfers – the most of any Division I program – with 17 transfers coming from a previous Division I roster.

Austin Peay State University was picked to finish 11th in the ASUN Preseason Coaches Poll. Meanwhile, D1Baseball.com tapped the Govs to finish eighth and marked the Govs as one of its Top Turnaround Teams in a preseason podcast.

Broadcast Information

ipTV: ESPN+ / ESPN App [Friday & Sunday]
    TALENT: Alex Gould (PxP, Friday) | Brian Rives (PxP, Sunday)
LIVE STATS: PeayStats.com

Series History

The Series: 33 previous meetings | APSU leads 22-11
Last Meeting: February 18th, 2017 | APSU def. ILST, 9-4
Notably: The last eight meetings in the series have been played at The Hand, with Austin Peay State University winning seven of those games. Illinois State’s lone win in that span was a 10-1 victory on February 19th, 2012. The APSU Govs are 19-8 against the Redbirds all-time at RCHP.

Climbing The Hill

After making 17 relief appearances in 2022, right-hander Peyton Jula returns to the starting rotation for Opening Day. It would be his first start since ending the 2021 season with a start against Murray State in the OVC Tournament.

Nick James’ looks to make his first pitching appearance since a June 6th, 2021, relief appearance for North Carolina against UCLA in the NCAA’s Lubbock Regional. He made 13 appearances in two seasons with the Tar Heels but did not pitch for the program in 2022.
Meanwhile, a Lyle Miller-Green pitching appearance would be his first since March 16th, 2021 – a relief appearance for Chipola College against Pensacola State College. He has 11 career relief appearances between his time at George Mason and Chipola but did not pitch at Oklahoma State in 2022.

First Hacks

Only Harrison Brown and Michael Robinson return after starting Austin Peay State University’s final game of 2022. Brown was the Govs starting designated hitter, while Robinson was the starter at third base in the season finale.

Infielder Jaden Brown leads the APSU Govs group of offensive newcomers with 89 at-bats in 36 games played at Texas-Arlington in 2022.

Austin Peay State University lost catcher Jack Alexander, who caught in 107 of 113 games the past two seasons when he signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals. The Govs will turn to Texas Tech transfer Trevor Conley and third-year Governor Jacob Curtis to fill his shoes in 2023.

Infielder Conner Gore transferred from Cowley College in Kansas, where he led the Tigers to the 2022 NJCAA Division I World Series championship game after batting .379 with 50 RBI.   

Infielder Ambren Voitik was an NJCAA Division II All-American in 2021 while with Northern Oklahoma-Enid, where he batted .408 with 51 RBI. He comes to Clarksville after a season at Grand Canyon, where he played in 12 games while battling an injury.

Infielder and Hawaii transfer Matt Aribal saw 23 games with the Rainbow Warriors last season, a year after reaching the 2021 NJCAA World Series championship game while at Central Arizona College.

Infielder Jon Jon Gazdar looks to continue the APSU Govs’ success with Chabot College transfers. Craig Massoni, the 2013 OVC Player of the Year, his brother Patrick, and Kevin Corey played for the Govs after starting their careers with the Gladiators.

Outfielder John Bay, one of four Oklahoma State transfers, batted .324 in 26 games with the Cowboys last season, including a start in the Big 12 Tournament against Texas.

Utility player Garrett Martin is another of the Govs’ Oklahoma State transfers. He played 20 games with the Cowboys last season and finished with a .250 batting average and nine RBI.   

Outfielder Clayton Gray also participated in the 2022 NJCAA Division I World Series with Crowder College in Missouri. He batted .368 and scored 63 runs with the Roughriders.

Next Up APSU Baseball

The Austin Peay State University baseball team closes out its season-opening four-game homestand when it hosts Missouri Valley Conference preseason favorite Southern Illinois, in a Tuesday 3:00pm game at The Hand. The Govs and Salukis have split the last six meetings with Austin Peay State University winning its three home games in that span.


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