Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Second In-State Season Battle: Austin Peay enters Nashville

The Austin Peay Governors get their shot this afternoon at Hawkins Field to knock off the #1 ranked Commies today at 4 pm. The Govs, as they are commonly referred to, are relatively untested this year having only played three games. Inclement weather last week forced the cancellation of their series with Western Michigan. The Govs were picked to finish fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference this year.

The Govs’ offense has been led by senior lead-off man, Matt Smith, who is hitting .429 through three games. He also leads the team in SLG% (.571) and OB% (.556). Ryne Mantooth leads the team in hits 5 and is third on the team with a batting average of .357. As a team, the Govs are batting .270 through the tree games they’ve played. Smith will need to step up at the plate and lead in the field as the Govs lost 17 letter men last season and are only returning 3 position starters.

Shawn Kelley, apparently the Govs ace on the hill, get the nod today. In Kelley’s last outing, he allowed two runs off five hits over seven innings and struck out four. Freshman Mike Minor (0-0. 4.05 ERA), who is becoming the Commies first choice for mid-week starts, will get the start this afternoon. In his first outing, he struck out eight and walked one in 4.1 innings last week against Lipscomb.

Last season, the Govs finished the season with a team average of .292, good for 128th in the country (out of 285) and averaged 6.4 runs a game, ranked 108th (out of 285). On the mound, the team ERA was 4.18, ranked 56th in the country and averaged 7 strikeouts per nine, ranked 96th. All rankings are across D-I baseball.

Vanderbilt dominates the all-time series 43-21-2 and a 22-10 lead in contests played in Nashville. The Commies are currently on a five game winning streak against the Govs whose last win against the Commies came on May 1st, 2002.

The Commies are looking to extend their 10-game winning streak as they continue their 11-game home stand. The Commie arms, who are dominating opponents with a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, are pivotal at holding the Gov bats at bay as they hope to secure their 11th straight win and maintain their #1 ranking.

The Commies remained No. 3 in both the Baseball America and Rivals.com national rankings this week behind North Carolina and Clemson (North Carolina and South Carolina in Rivals.com poll).

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