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Austin Peay Govs face nemesis Jacksonville State in OVC weekend set
Austin Peay vs. Jacksonville State
Saturday-Monday, March 14th-16th, 2015
Clarksville, TN | Raymond C. Hand Park
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay’s baseball team concludes its 10-game homestand when it hosts Jacksonville State in a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series, Saturday-Monday.
The Govs and defending OVC tournament champion Gamecocks begin their three-game set with a 6:00pm, Saturday contest.
Austin Peay Baseball takes on defending OVC Tournament champion Jacksonville State at Raymond C. Hand Park this weekend. (APSU Sports Information)
The series continues with a 2:00pm, Sunday matchup before a concluding 1:00pm, Monday contest.
Austin Peay and Jacksonville State are at opposite ends of the OVC standings after the first weekend of league action. The Govs opened OVC play with a sweep of Eastern Illinois and are tied atop the OVC table with SIU Edwardsville, which swept Jacksonville State last weekend.
The Govs offense enjoyed its OVC opening weekend, batting .330 against the Panthers with 29 runs in the series. Outfielder Patrick Massoni was named OVC Co-Player of the Week after posting a team-best .615 batting average in the series, including his first collegiate home run.
Jacksonville State has been a tough test for Austin Peay since joining the OVC in 2004. The Gamecocks have won the regular season series eight times in 11 seasons, including last season’s series at Jacksonville.
Austin Peay has not wanted for scoring opportunities this season, with 219 plate appearances with a runner in scoring position during the season’s first 13 games.
The Govs offense enters the weekend as the nation’s top doubles-producing team, averaging 3.08 doubles per game (40 total) and are among Division I’s Top 50 in scoring per game (19th, 7.5 rpg), average (19th, .312) slugging percentage (21st, .456) and on-base percentage (18th, .404).
Designated hitter Alex Robles brings an 11-game hit streak into this weeks action and now leads the Govs in both batting average (.388) and RBI (15) after four weeks. Catcher Ridge Smith has 3 hits in his last 5 games (20 ABs, .150), dropping his average 127 points to a .358 mark that is still 2nd on the team.
Second baseman Garrett Copeland has reached safely in 11 consecutive games and his .441 on-base percentage is 2nd on the team. Outfielder Patrick Massoni is batting .529 with 6 RBI, 2 doubles and 2 home runs in his last four games. Shortstop Clayton Smithson brings a 6-game hit streak into the weekend, but has 6 RBI in his last 4 games (6 in previous 9).
Left fielder Cayce Bredlau has batted 2nd in the order for 9 games this season and leads the team with 4 sac bunts. Third baseman Logan Gray saw a 4-game hit streak come to an end in Wednesday’s game against UT Martin; he leads the team in walks (9) and strikeouts (17) but is 3rd on the team with a .435 on-base percentage.
First base has been shared between Josh Wilson (8 starts) and Dre Gleason (5 starts). Gleason went 3-for-3 against UT Martin to push his average to .375 while Wilson is batting .240, including a 3-for-5 outing against Eastern Illinois.
Four different players have started at right field this season, none with more than Kyle Blackburn’s 5 starts. Austin Peay was picked to finish fourth in the OVC’s preseason poll of coaches and sports information directors.
Austin Peay finished 2014 with a 23-33 overall record, starting seven freshman for the bulk of the campaign. The Govs fell out of the OVC’s six-team tournament field on the regular season’s final day, a 4-3 loss at SIUE dropping it to 14-16 and seventh place in league action.
Toeing The Rubber
The Govs starting rotation will stand pat for Week 2 of OVC play. Alex Robles, the Govs No. 1 for all of OVC play last season, will look to improve on last week’s outing that saw him leave in the 5th inning. Caleb Powell, whose 3 wins are tied for most in the OVC, will take the mound in Game 2.
Jared Carkuff made his 1st start as the Govs No. 3 last week and struck out a career-high 10 batters. Three Govs pitchers have recorded a save and seven have finished a game this season.