Austin Peay Governors open National Invitational Softball Championship versus Towson
APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s softball team will be making a familiar trip to Richmond, KY, but for an historic reason, as the Governors face Towson University, 2:00pm (CT) Thursday at Gertrude Hood Field in the opening round of the National Invitational Softball Championship.
The game marks the first appearance in a national post-season tournament for the APSU softball program in its 33-year history.
Austin Peay Softball plays Towson Thursday in the National Invitational Softball Championship.
The other side of the NISC Region 3 bracket, which runs through Saturday, will see Toledo squaring off against fellow Ohio Valley Conference member Eastern Kentucky at 5:00pm (CT) Thursday.
The contest between Austin Peay (39-17) and Towson (40-17), of the Colonial Athletic Association, will be the first meeting between the two programs.
The Govs have played two teams from the CAA in their history – College of Charleston and UNC-Wilmington – posting a 2-2 record versus the pair.
Offensively heading into the NISC and after 56-games this season, the Govs are batting .270 as a team — including three players hitting over .300 – led by junior third baseman Danielle Liermann who enters the tournament hitting at a .343 clip, including a team-high 15 home runs and 51 RBIs.
Behind her is freshman outfielder Bailey Shorter (.325, 5 HR, 25 RBI) and junior outfielder Kacy Acree (.324, 8 HR, 34 RBI).
Junior outfielder Natalie Schilling (.297, 45 R, 40 SB), junior pitcher Morgan Rackel (.288, 7 HR, 29 RBI) and junior catcher Carly Mattson (.253, 12 HR, 29 RBI) have also posted solid seasons at the plate for the Govs.
In the circle, the Govs posted an OVC low 2.23 team ERA this spring, led by Rackel’s 22-6 record — which includes an individual OVC-low 1.31 ERA to go with 201 strikeouts in 181.1 innings of work. She has also recorded two saves.
Junior Kelly Mardones has posted an 13-6 mark this season, with a 2.62 ERA and 41 k’s in 130.2 innings, while sophomore Kelsey Gross comes into the postseason with a 4-5 record, five saves, a 3.83 ERA and 38 k’s in 64 innings pitched.
Follow the Govs softball team’s progress in the NISC on the tournament’s website at www.womensnisc.com/tournament-central.html or on Austin Peay’s official athletics website Let’sGoPeay.com or on Twitter @AustinPeaySB for more information or updates.
Scouting the NISC Region 3 opponents
The Tigers posted a program best 40-17 record this season, with a third-place finish in the Colonial Athletic Association standings. They also boast one of the best team offenses in the country, ranking fourth nationally in batting average (.331) and fifth in scoring (6.39 runs per game).
Towson and Austin Peay have one common opponent this season, Bucknell, with the Tigers beating the Bison at home 3-0, while the Govs defeated the Bison twice on a neutral field at the Mercer Tournament by 4-3 and 2-0 finals.
Overall, five different Tigers are batting over .300 this season, led by Kendyl Scott’s .459 batting average, which includes 22 doubles, four triples and eight home runs, while Brook Miko is batting .414, with 22 doubles, 12 home runs and 72 RBIs.
Megan Dejter lead the Towson pitching staff with a 22.7 record, including a 2.02 ERA and 108 k’s.
Austin Peay and Toledo have met twice in their histories, going 1-1 against each other, with the last meeting coming during the 2014 season.
The Rockets posted a 35-18 record this spring, their best season since 1995, finishing tied for first in the western division of the Mid-American Conference.
The two teams have three common opponents this season – Western Kentucky, East Tennessee and Morehead State – with Toledo going 3-0 versus the trio, while Austin Peay went 7-0 versus the threesome.
The Rockets have three hitters batting over .300, led by Bailey Curry’s .363 batting average, including 14 home runs and 46 RBIs.
In the circle, Toledo has two pitchers that have recorded 160+ innings of work this season, led by Kailey Minarchick’s 18-6 record, 2.36 ERA and 78 k’s in 169 innings pitched, while Heather Webb is 15-12 with a 2.48 ERA and 117 k.s
The Colonels finished first in the OVC regular-season standing after posting a 40-18 record this season but fell to Jacksonville State in the OVC Tournament championship game.
The APSU-Eastern Kentucky series is the fifth-most played series all-time by the Govs, with the OVC schools having played each other 77 times in their histories, including last week’s 8-7 EKU win in the OVC Tournament. The Govs trail in the all-time series versus the Colonels, 61-16.
Offensively, Paige Murphy leads the Colonels with a .461 batting average, including 22 home runs and 58 RBIs.
In the circle, Mollie Paulick has been the workhorse for EKU, posting a 21-6 record, with a 2.03 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 175.2 innings pitched.
APSU Govs Hit-and-Run
Austin Peay (73 RPI) has the third highest RPI of all the teams in the NISC, trailing only Texas Tech (66 RPI) and Eastern Kentucky (70 RPI).
The Govs handed Eastern Kentucky one of their two home losses this season.
Austin Peay’s game versus Towson will be the fourth time this season where the Govs will be playing a team for the first time, joining Saint Peter’s, Central Arkansas and South Dakota State.
The Govs played three teams (Eastern Kentucky, South Dakota State and Central Arkansas) during the regular season that are also part of the NISC field posting a 2-3 record versus the three.
In her final 12 appearances, junior pitcher Morgan Rackel has posted a 10-0 record with a 0.35 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 60.1 innings pitched.