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Monday Blog: Box score searching, OVC outlook, more

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You have reached the Monday Morning Blog.

Following each conference baseball series, I’ll offer my thoughts from the weekend, as well as touching on other behind the scenes notes in APSU baseball. This weekend, the Govs traveled to Morehead State for a three-game series from Friday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4.

APSU conceded the opening game to the Golden Eagles by a score of 10-9, while the Govs bounced back to win Game 2, 9-8. However, Morehead State won the series with a 7-6 victory in Game 3.

Today’s post will be shorter than normal as I was unable to attend the games, so no “Things I liked” section this week as I wasn’t there firsthand to see everything play.

No shortage of offense

While the Govs only took one of three games, they scored enough runs to have a chance at wining each time out.

Six-plus runs and double-digit hits in each game makes for a solid weekend for the bats in ballpark where the builders had no idea what they were doing, but it was other areas where APSU faltered. I’ll get to those later, so for now, here is what stuck out to me when reading the box scores.

  • Garrett Copeland going 4-for-10 with a homer, three RBIs, and four runs scored at the top of the lineup. He actually reached base 10 times in the series, so you can’t ask for much more from your lead off man.
  • Cayce Bredlau going 5-for-13 in three games, scoring three runs while driving in two. He’s now batting .378 in conference play, which leads the team.
  • Dre Gleason wasn’t able to belt one over the short porch in right field, but did have three doubles on the weekend to give him eight on the year.
  • Alex Robles getting three RBIs on Friday despite going 0-for-4, and then hit .500 (5-for-10) on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Rolando Gautier extending his hitting streak to nine games, the current longest on the team, and homered on Sunday.
  • The Govs stealing nine bases over the weekend, with Chase Hamilton swiping three in one game on Friday. Hamilton had three walks, two leading to runs, in his start on Friday, and earned another shot on Sunday where he went 1-for-4 with a RBI and run scored.
  • P.J. Torres recording his fourth triple of the season, and is the now the team leader in that category. I don’t even know what else to say.
  • Another catcher’s interfere call with Matt Wollenzin at the plate!? That’s really becoming his secret weapon, isn’t it?

Pitching and defense take a step down

This has really been the story of the 2014 season.

It doesn’t help the pitching staff at all when the defense has committed 95 errors this season, but sometimes it’s about a) throwing strikes, or b) leaving pitches up.

The Govs committed six errors over the weekend, with all but one occurring in the infield. I can’t speak on if these were just mental mistakes or what, except the fact that Gautier apparently let a fly ball slip in right field, but it’s a broken record on repeat.

The pitching has had many points where I have complimented them, but when the ace of the staff has an off night, it’s apparent it could be a rough weekend as a whole. And by ace, I’m clearly referring to Robles, who allowed six runs, three of which being earned, in five and one-third innings on Friday.

Ten different pitchers made at least one appearance for APSU over the weekend, making it two and a half staff days. With the exception of Robles, starters only pitching two innings to give way to relievers. I wish I knew the actual numbers on how many total appearances by APSU pitchers have been in relief. But I do know this: Six different players have made more than 20 outings.

Are we at the point where staff days are on for Saturday and Sunday games? I sure hope not.

Should the Govs be concerned?

Yes, but then again, don’t flip out.

A record of 19-30 definitely isn’t what anyone had hoped for coming into the season, but somehow, the Govs are in position to potentially compete in the OVC Tournament. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As it currently stands, the Govs are (still) tied for sixth with Murray State and Eastern Kentucky. Bottom line is APSU has to break away from Murray to have a shot at going to Jackson. Remember that sweep the Govs suffered in the third conference series of the season? Yeah, that hurts A LOT. If it ends in a tiebreaker, Murray would move on. But if the tiebreaker is with EKU, then the Govs would earn it due to their series win over the Colonels.

But here’s why you shouldn’t flip out.

Look at the remaining schedules.

APSU will host UT Martin in its final home series. Let’s be honest, the Skyhawks are atrocious with a record of 7-36, 4-20 in the OVC, and have just one win on the road. If the Govs aren’t able to win that series this upcoming weekend, might as well wave the white flag. But come on. It’s a perfect opportunity to get their first sweep of the season, and what a better time than to do it on senior weekend.

A three-game road set at SIU-Edwardsville awaits the Govs in the final series of the year, which could be a tough one. The Cougars sit fifth in the standings with a 14-13 record, but in terms of overall strength of schedule, APSU doesn’t have a difficult stretch to close out the season. If they are able to go 5-1 or 4-2 over the next six OVC games, I think they’ll be okay.

Here’s why.

Murray State, the third-worst hitting team in the OVC, hosts the league’s pitching team in Belmont next weekend. After that, they’ll travel to EKU for three games where those two will beat each other up for a spot at sixth place. I’d guess Murray would win two of three against Belmont, and then win one or two vs. EKU. So in their final weekend, I’d give them a 4-2 or 3-3.

Before EKU plays Murray, they’ll be at Jacksonville State, where they should loss that series. Colonels, I see you going 3-3 or 2-4.

So here’s how I see these three teams shaping up:

Austin Peay (16-14 or 15-15)
Murray State (15-15 or 14-16)
Eastern Kentucky (14-16 or 13-17)

If the Govs can the sweep over Martin, it would be HUGE. If not, then it’s going to be another hectic week of writing this. We’ll see how it all plays out.

Current OVC Standings

Southeast Missouri (31-16, 21-6 OVC)
Tennessee Tech (36-13, 16-8 OVC)
Jacksonville State (26-20, 14-10 OVC)
Morehead State (25-22, 13-11 OVC)
SIU-Edwardsville (18-27, 14-13 OVC)
Eastern Kentucky (22-25, 11-13 OVC)
Murray State (19-26, 11-13 OVC)
Austin Peay (19-30, 11-13 OVC)
Eastern Illinois (16-30-1, 10-13-1 OVC)
Belmont (19-27-1, 9-14-1 OVC)
UT Martin (7-36, 4-20 OVC)

No mid-week game; Martin next

“Hooray for a break!” – Austin Peay pitchers

Photo: Garrett Copeland (Corey Adams/The All State)

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