FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University’s baseball team should get comfortable in Clarksville, announcing its 2009 schedule which features 28 games to be played at Raymond C. Hand Park, along with a pair of eight-game home stands on tap.
Austin Peay finished 2008 two games under .500 at 27-29 overall with a 14-12 Ohio Valley Conference mark. Head coach Gary McClure returns four position starters along with seven pitchers and will be looking to make a postseason run. To set up his team for success and prepare them for a tough conference slate, McClure has arranged for a tough non-conference schedule, but a heavy dose of home games.
“Like in years past, we want to challenge our team by playing a very tough schedule, and this year is certainly no different,” McClure said. “If you have talented and competitive kids, I believe they want to compete against the best so they can compare how they match up against the best teams possible from both a team and individual standpoint.”
The Govs open their 2009 schedule on the road and face a tough Tennessee team within its first five games. They return to Raymond C. Hand Park to host the Austin Peay Invitational – a round-robin four-team tournament – which features the Big 10’s Indiana for the second straight year. The invitational starts the first eight-game home stand, which continues with games against Western Kentucky (33-27, 2008), Indiana State and Iowa.
After going on the road to play at Ole Miss, the Govs return for its second eight-game stand at “The Hand.” Looking to even the slate with a four-game set against a Wisconsin-Milwaukee team that took two of three from the Govs last season, the Govs then host Iowa, again, before opening OVC play against Eastern Kentucky.
Once league play begins, Austin Peay’s non-conference games feature home-and-home sets with Vanderbilt, Missouri Valley’s Evansville, Atlantic Sun teams Belmont and Lipscomb. Sun Belt teams Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, and Conference USA’s Memphis.
“There is a fine line, but I believe playing good competition makes us a better team in the long run,” McClure said. “We have always played one of the toughest schedules in the OVC and I think that has played a role in our success. Playing good competition benefits us as to where we fit in the power rankings. When it comes right down to it, we believe there is no one on our schedule that we can’t beat.”
Along with Eastern Kentucky (March 21-22), the Govs will host OVC members Tennessee Tech (April 18-19), Southeast Missouri (April 25-26) and Eastern Illinois (May 9-10). Austin Peay goes on the road to Jacksonville State (March 28-29), Morehead State (April 10-11), Tennessee-Martin (May 2-3) and closes out the regular season at Murray State (May 15-16). Also on the slate for early April is the OVC’s newest member SIU Edwardsville, in Clarksville.