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Austin Peay Govs open homestand with Tuesday affair versus MTSU

APSU Sports Information

APSU BaseballClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) baseball team opens a five-game homestand when it hosts Middle Tennessee in a 6:00pm, Tuesday, March 26th contest on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park.

Austin Peay Baseball returns home to take on Middle Tennessee, Tuesday. (APSU Sports Information) [1]

Austin Peay Baseball returns home to take on Middle Tennessee, Tuesday. (APSU Sports Information)

The Governors return home after concluding their recent road trip with a 3-1 record, a mark that includes a 2-1 series victory against Southeast Missouri.

Austin Peay is 6-1 over its last seven games thanks largely to a starting pitching group that has posted a 6-0 record and a 1.66 ERA during the streak.

Middle Tennessee begins a four-game road trip with Tuesday affair. The Blue Raiders posted a 1-3 record during their four-game homestand, which included a Conference USA series loss to Louisiana Tech. Pitching also has been MTSU’s strength this season, ranking 46th nationally in staff ERA (3.52) and 20th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.95, 180 K-61 BB).

First Hacks

Fifteen different Governors have started a game in the season’s first 21 games. Only two players have started every game in 2019: center fielder Garrett Spain [2] and utility man Parker Phillips [3].

Entering this week’s action, Austin Peay has played the nation’s 46th-toughest nonconference schedule according to D1Baseball.com. It is the toughest nonconference slate among OVC teams.

Center fielder Garrett Spain [2] has reached base in all 21 games as a Governor. His .346 batting average ranks 17th among all Division I freshmen and leads all OVC freshman hitters.

Senior catcher David Martinez [4] leads all Govs hitters with a .366 batting average that is 22nd among Division I catchers. His team-leading .451 on-base percentage is 10th among OVC hitters.

Junior utility man Parker Phillips [3] became the Governors career home run leader in Sunday’s series finale against Southeast Missouri. He tied the record with a second-inning grand slam and broke the record with a ninth-inning two-out solo shot that was his 38th career blast.

Redshirt senior Garrett Kueber [5] has made eight consecutive starts at shortstop and coincidentally owns an eight-game hit streak. He has batted .313 (10-for-32) during the streak, primarily as the Govs No. 2 hitter.

Freshman Gino Avros [6] has a base hit in six of his last eight games and has pushed his season batting average up 43 points.

Sophomore Bobby Head [8] had a hit and an RBI in each game of the Southeast Missouri set, the three-game hit streak is his longest this season.

Freshman designated hitter Matt Joslin [9] led the Govs with a .364 batting average (4-for-11) at Southeast Missouri, including his first collegiate home run and three RBI.

Since sitting out the Southern Illinois contest, March 12, junior outfielder Malcolm Tipler [10] is batting .350 (7-for-20) with five RBI in the seven games since returning to the starting lineup.

Sophomore first baseman John McDonald [11] brings a five-game hit streak into the week. He is batting .375 (6-for-16) during the streak, bumping his average up 124 points.

Senior outfielder Aaron Campbell [12] and junior outfielder Tyler Hubbard [13] have both been late defensive substitutes for the Govs over the  past two weeks.

Toeing The Rubber

Junior right-hander Tyler Thompson [14] will get the nod for Tuesday’s start against Middle Tennessee. He picked up his season’s first win a week ago in a start at Western Kentucky, last Tuesday.

Thompson has allowed only one run in his last two starts and is 1-0 with a 5.19 ERA as a starter in 2019.

Senior closer Brett Newberg [15] was named the OVC Pitcher of the Week, Monday, after picking up a pair of saves. He did not allow a baserunner in his three appearances during the week totalling four innings.

Austin Peay starting pitchers have combined for a 9-5 record and 3.36 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 107 innings pitched (9.84 K/9).

The Governors bullpen has 84 strikeouts in 77.1 innings (9.78 K/9).

APSU Govs vs. MTSU Blue Raiders

One of the most-played series in Austin Peay history, the Govs and Blue Raiders have met 206 times prior to this season’s series.

MTSU owns a 134-72 lead in the series, including a 48-34 advantage in Clarksville. The Blue Raiders have won the last three meetings in the series.

Austin Peay’s last win in the series was a 21-8 decision, February 28th, 2017 in Clarksville.


Pitching Matchups

Date Austin Peay Starter Opposing Starter
Tue., 3/26 RHP Tyler Thompson [14] (1-1, 6.23 ERA) RHP Josh Young (1-4, 3.00 ERA)

MLB Opening Day

Austin Peay will have two alumni featured on the opening day rosters of Major League Baseball teams when the season starts, Thursday.

Shawn Kelley (2003-07, HOF 2014) signed a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2020 with Texas, continuing his 10-year MLB career.

Ryne Harper (2008-11) was a non-roster invitee to Minnesota’s spring training. He tossed 10 scoreless innings in relief during the spring and was named to the Twins opening day roster, Monday.