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Spain named to OVC preseason team

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Austin Peay sophomore center fielder Garrett Spain, the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, was named to the league’s preseason all-conference team, Friday. Additionally, the Governors were picked to finish third in the league’s poll of coaches and baseball sports information directors.

Spain, a Clarksville native, returns after a scintillating rookie campaign. He led the Govs with 73 hits, and his .333 batting average was second on the team. He had seven home runs and 52 RBI during the campaign – both second-most on the team. Spain began his collegiate career by reaching base safely in 43 consecutive games – tying the second-longest such streak in program history.

Austin Peay was picked behind defending champion Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky in the league’s preseason poll. The Gamecocks received 19 of 22 first-place votes and 199 points while the Colonels received two first-place votes and 154 points – one point more than the Govs.

Behind Austin Peay were Belmont (136 points), Morehead State (135, 1 first-place vote), Murray State (114), Southeast Missouri (94), and Eastern Illinois (79) to round out the top eight spots. Tennessee Tech (54), UT Martin (52) and SIUE (40) rounded out the 11-team poll.

The Governors return 16 letterwinners and added 17 newcomers for the 2020 campaign. Designated hitter Matt Joslin, an OVC All-Freshman team selection last season, joins Spain as a key returner for the 2020 season. Joslin led the Govs with a .350 batting average in OVC play last season. Junior first baseman John McDonald also returns after overcoming an early injury to bat .320 during league play last season

On the mound, the Govs see pitchers senior Ryan Kouba and redshirt sophomore Harley Gollert return. Kouba returns after posting five wins a year ago while Gollert, a 2018 OVC All-Freshman pick, returns after seeing his 2019 campaign cut short due to injury.

Austin Peay begins the 2020 season at 3 p.m. next Friday when it hosts Eastern Michigan to start a three-game series. The Governors will play their first eight games on Joe Maynard Field at Raymond C. Hand Park – part of a 27-game home schedule this season.

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