Austin Peay Govs return to OVC action at Eastern Illinois
Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University baseball team sits atop the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Governors will jump back into league play this weekend. APSU will face their final road league test of the regular season when they meet Eastern Illinois in a three-game set, Friday-Sunday, in Charleston, Illinois.
Austin Peay Baseball will head to Charleston Illinois this weekend to play a three game series against Eastern Illinois. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay, which is tied with Jacksonville State for the OVC lead with six games remaining, is 2-2 in road OVC series this season.
The Govs lost OVC sets at Murray State and Eastern Kentucky – its only two OVC series losses this season. But the Govs also won road weekends at Southeast Missouri and UT Martin.
Eastern Illinois, which enters the weekend seventh in the OVC standings, concludes its OVC regular-season schedule with this weekend’s series. The Panthers own a 1-2 series record at home in 2019. EIU defeated Southeast Missouri in its first home OVC set but has since lost to Eastern Kentucky and UT Martin.
Toeing The Rubber
The Govs hold a formidable 1-2 punch on weekends with left-handers Josh Rye and Jacques Pucheu combining to go 10-4 in their 16 starts with a combined 2.75 ERA. Pucheu is ranked first in OVC-only ERA (2.68) with Rye ranked second (2.83).
Rye has allowed three earned runs in his last five starts (0.87 ERA) with 4-0 record. He has not allowed an earned run in three of his last four outings.
Pucheu has swung back and forth over his last eight outings, following an outing with one or fewer earned runs with a multi-earned run outing. He allowed four earned runs against Jacksonville in his last outing.
Austin Peay’s 430 strikeouts ranks as 7th-most in program history, 37 strikeouts shy of breaking the program record of 466 Ks set in 2013 and 2017.
Since the EKU series loss, the Govs pitching staff has posted a 4.97 ERA, limited opponents to a .246 batting average and allowed only 5.4 runs per game.
Since its series loss at Eastern Kentucky, April 5th-6th, Austin Peay has posted an 11-5 record with the offense batting an impressive .315 and averaging 7.8 runs per game.
Senior catcher David Martinez’ .357 batting average is 15th among NCAA catchers (103rd overall) and fifth among all OVC hitters. He is batting a team-best .367 in nonconference play this season.
Center fielder Garrett Spain reached base in the first 43 games of his collegiate career – the third longest streak in APSU history. His 42 RBI this season ranks sixth among OVC hitters.
Junior right fielder Parker Phillips hit his 20th home run of 2019 at Tennessee, Tuesday, breaking the APSU single-season record he set last season.
Phillips is the sixth hitter in OVC history to hit 50 or more home runs, entering the weekend with 51 career homers.
Phillips has nine home runs and 22 RBI in his last 10 games. He is ranked fifth nationally with 20 home runs and 32nd among Division I hitters with 54 RBI.
Freshman designated hitter Matt Joslin continues to be the right man in the right spot in 2019. He is batting .727 with 18 RBI in 12 bases-loaded opportunities this season, including a walk-off grand slam against Southern Illinois, April 16th.
In the 15 games since April 12, senior outfielder Aaron Campbell leads the Govs with a .415 batting average (22-53) with eight doubles and his first home run as a Gov.
Junior first baseman Andrew Flaherty batted .355 with two home runs and nine RBI in nine April starts. He had three-hit outings against Evansville (April 9th) and UT Martin (April 21st) during the month.
Freshman third baseman Gino Avros has a hit in 12 of his last 16 games, batting .355 (22-62) with 18 runs scored. He has pushed his average up 80 points thanks to the burst.
Redshirt senior shortstop Garrett Kueber has five multi-hit outings in his last nine games. He is batting .412 (14-34) with two home runs, seven RBI and 10 runs scored.
Junior utility man Malcolm Tipler posted the Govs fifth four-hit day of 2019 against SIUE, April 27th, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored.
Sophomore infielder Bobby Head has a hit and is batting .556 (5-9) with a home run and three RBI in his last four starts.
Senior catcher Alex Sala hit his first homer of 2019 against Jacksonville and is batting .368 (7-19) with three extra base hits in his last six starts.
Sophomore first baseman John McDonald went 4-for-10 in three starts against Jacksonville and is batting .357 (10-28) since the EKU series.
APSU Govs vs. Eastern Illinois Panthers
Austin Peay and Eastern Illinois have met 74 times previously, the Govs owning a 42-32 advantage in the all-time series.
The Panthers swept Austin Peay in Clarksville last season, their first sweep of the Govs since 2006.
EIU is the OVC’s top hitting club in league play, boasting a .305 team batting average and averaging 6.85 runs per game. EIU pitching is ranked eighth in ERA (5.63).
APSU is the OVC’s No. 2 pitching staff by ERA (4.20) and ranks No. 3 in batting average (.292) whil averaging 6.83 runs per game.
||Austin Peay Starter
||LHP Josh Rye (7-3, 3.54)
||RHP Michael YaSenka (4-5, 5.35)
||LHP Jacques Pucheu (6-3, 2.42)
||RHP Spenser Dexter (3-3, 4.82)
||LHP Foster Anshutz (6-1, 4.14)