Clarksville, TN – For the past two seasons, Austin Peay State University’s baseball team had just fallen short of making the Ohio Valley Conference’s post-season tournament field.
But with a spot in this year’s tournament field already locked up, as it headed into its final weekend of OVC contests at Southern Illinois Edwardsville, the Governors came out of that SIUE series also securing a key advantage heading into the tournament … a first-round bye.
And a big advantage it could be, with the OVC baseball championship tournament beginning on May 25th and running through May 29th at The Ballpark at Jackson, in Jackson, TN, as no matter how good or deep a team’s pitching staff is, or how deep a staff is, a tournament where you may play as many as six games in five day can tax any team.
Austin Peay Baseball sweeps SIU Edwardsville to lock first round by in OVC Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)
But the Govs, who locked up no worse than number-two seed, cut one of those possible games out by earning a first-round bye and will now play no earlier than the tournament’s semi-final round of the winner’s bracket on May 26th.
Austin Peay could go into the tournament as the number-one seed if Southeast Missouri drops all three games to Belmont this coming weekend in Cape Girardeau, MO.
That would leave the two teams tied with 21-9 records in OVC play this season, but with Austin Peay holding a tie-breaker between the two schools having defeated the Redhawks two-out-of-three games in their weekend OVC series meeting back on April 8th through April 10th at Raymond C. Hand Park.
But either as a number-one seed or a number two seed in the tournament, not having to play that opening round game makes it possible for the Govs normal weekend starting pitchers – Alex Robles (9-4, 4.25 ERA), Caleb Powell (7-2, 4.16 ERA) and Michael Costanzo (6-4, 6.34 ERA) – to be the only starters the Govs would need to win the tournament, if they go undefeated in the event.
It’s not just the Govs starting pitchers that would benefit from one less game too, with middle relief pitchers and the team’s closer Jared Carkuff (5-0, 3.48 ERA, 6 saves) not having to face as many possible innings in a short tournament setting.
So as the regular season comes to an end this week, the Govs have not only earned a return to post-season play, they have given themselves the best starting advantage they can for a deep tournament run and a chance for their first OVC Tournament title in three years.
About Chris Austin
Chris Austin is a graduate of Clarksville High School and Austin Peay State University.
Chris is a former Head Softball Coach for APSU, and assistant basketball coach for CHS.
Chris has worked at the Leaf-Chronicle, and WJZM News/Talk/Sports radio. Has also worked at the Sports Information Department at APSU, and has covered championship events for the Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA.
Chris is an avid sports fan and can be found at most Austin Peay State University sports events.
Web Site: http://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
SectionsAnnouncements, Associations, Austin Peay State University, Baseball, Belmont University, Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Schools, Sports
TopicsAlex Robles, April 10th, April 8th, Austin Peay, Austin Peay State University, Belmont, Caleb Powell, Cape Girardeau Mo., Clarksville TN, Governors, Govs, Jackson TN, Jared Carkuff, May 25th, May 26th, May 29th, Michael Costanzo, Ohio Valey Conference, OVC, OVC baseball Tournament, Raymond C. Hand Park, RedHawks, Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois Edwardsville, The Ballpark at Jackson