APSU baseball is looking to carry momentum from last year into the 2020 season.
Earning the team’s best record since 2016, alongside a defeat of the eventual national champions, the Governors are primed for success this spring.
“I have a different excitement about this year,” said head coach Travis Janssen on the expectation of the 2020 season. “It’s not that you’re not excited about other years, but for whatever reason, my excitement level is very high this year.”
Part of Janssen’s excitement stems from curiosity: the skipper described the Govs as a “new team”: despite having 18 upperclassmen on the roster, eight of the team’s 10 juniors are in their first year playing at APSU, by way of the junior college transfer.
The coach expects a learning curve in the early part of the season due to the influx of Ju-Co transfers: “It’s still an adjustment for those guys, they’re not used to this level of play. They have to learn the speed of the game and how it works, it’s going to be a learning process for our team early on.”
The return of sophomore Garret Spain will benefit the Governors in an attempt to reach their first NCAA regional under Janssen. Spain earned the OVC Freshman of the Year award in 2019, being only the second player in school history to receive the honor.
Spain batted .333 in 52 games in his freshman season, with seven home runs and 52 runs batted in. Janssen spoke high praise of the second team All-OVC recipient, and what his return means for the Govs:
Janssen’s pride for coaching partially stems from the culture of APSU baseball. The Governors currently have three players who logged innings in the major leagues a season ago, as well as six players participating in the lower levels of Major League Baseball.
“It makes me humbled to be here. One thing I have never taken lightly is the baseball tradition at Austin Peay. One of the reasons is the people that have come before us, and it makes me feel very humbled that I get to serve as the head coach here,” Janssen said.
With a new clubhouse, a new team and a newfound excitement from the manager, APSU looks to continue their gradual improvement that has been ongoing for the past three seasons. Since 2017, the Govs have added to their win total from the season before by at least two victories.
The Governors open their season at home in 2020, hosting a series against Eastern Michigan Feb. 14–16.