CLARKSVILLE – Contests against Clemson, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt highlight the 2018 Austin Peay State University baseball schedule, released Friday.
Under head coach Travis Janssen, who enters his third season at Austin Peay, the Governors will face a 56-game slate beginning Feb. 16 against Maryland-Eastern Shore at Raymond C. Hand Park. That game kicks off an opening stretch that will see Austin Peay play 11 of its first 12 games in the friendly confines against UMES (Feb. 16-18), Southern Illinois (Feb. 20), Toledo (Feb. 23-25) and Indiana State (March 2-4).
A Feb. 27 contest against Vanderbilt will return an Austin Peay fan-favorite opponent to the schedule and is the lone road trip in Austin Peay’s opening three-week stretch. However, it presages a five-game road trip during spring break that will see the Govs travel to Ole Miss (March 6), Samford (March 7) and open Ohio Valley Conference play at Jacksonville State (March 9-11).
The series at Jacksonville State is the first of five OVC road trips for the Govs in 2018. Austin Peay also will travel to Tennessee Tech (March 23-25), Belmont (April 6-8), Morehead State (April 20-22) and SIUE (May 4-6). The Governors five home conference sets begin with Murray State (March 16-18) followed by Southeast Missouri (March 29-31), Eastern Kentucky (April 13-15), UT Martin (April 27-29) and a regular-season ending set against Eastern Illinois (May 17-19).
A March 20-21 series at Kansas State, Janssen’s alma mater, will see the Govs travel to Kansas for the first time since 1991. Austin Peay also will face Clemson during its off week in OVC play, May 11-13. It will be the first meeting between the Govs and Tigers since 1973.
Austin Peay also will continue annual midweek series against Middle Tennessee, Lipscomb and Western Kentucky during the upcoming season. The Blue Raiders (March 13), Hilltoppers (May 1) and Lipscomb (May 8) each visit Raymond C. Hand Park after the start of OVC play – each a part of the Govs 30-game home slate.
The Governors 2018 roster will see 16 newcomers join a group of 20 returnees from last season’s team that qualified for the OVC Baseball Championship. Five starting position players return from that team, including redshirt sophomore Parker Phillips who posted 12 home runs and 40 RBI in his first season as a Governor. On the mound, the Govs return two starters who saw action in the OVC Baseball Championship – Jacques Pucheu and John Sparks – as well as three other pitchers who made five or more starts during the regular season.