Governors top field for tourney
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:00 pm
The 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball tournament field is now set.
The event will be held Wednesday through Satur-day with a final game Sunday, if necessary, at Pringles Park in Jackson.
This year marks the third year in a row the event will be held at the venue, which is home of the Jackson Generals, the AA-affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky each finished with identical 19-7 league records, sharing the OVC regular season championship, the first time the league has had co-champions since 1997.
With a 2-1 series win during the season, Austin Peay (34-21, 19-7 OVC) won the tiebreaker with EKU and earned the No. 1 seed for the tournament. It marked the seventh time since divisional play ended that Austin Peay has been the regular season champions, also winning in 1994, 1996, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2011.
Austin Peay also claimed divisional crowns in 1971 and 1984; in 1971 the team went on to win a three-game playoff and were declared OVC champions (giving the team eight all-time titles). As the No. 1 seed, APSU, the defending tournament champion, will receive a first round bye and play on Thursday night at 7.
With its sweep of Murray State to close out the season, No. 2 seed Eastern Kentucky (31-21, 19-7 OVC) captured a share of the OVC regular season crown for the first time since the 2000 season.
Overall it is an OVC-record 16th OVC crown for the Colonels, who also won titles in 1950, 1951, 1954, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 2000.
The Colonels finished the regular season by winning 24 of its final 30 games and reached the 30-win plateau in a season for the first time since winning 34 games in 2004. EKU will be appearing in its 28th OVC tourney, the most in league history, and is looking for its first tournament title since 1989. As the No. 2 seed EKU will receive a first round bye and play at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Jacksonville State (26-28, 17-10 OVC) qualified for its ninth-straight OVC Tournament by winning two of three games against Eastern Illinois during the final weekend of the regular season. The No. 3 seed for the second-straight year, the Gamecocks will open play against Southeast Missouri on Wednesday night at 7.
After not making the tournament a year ago, Eastern Illinois (26-27, 15-11) is back in the field this season after locking down the No. 4 seed.
The Panthers, who lead the league in team ERA, are searching for their first tournament title since 2008. EIU closed out the regular season by winning 11 of its final 15 games. The Panthers open play on Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Morehead State.
Morehead State (28-25, 13-14 OVC) ended the season with a sweep of UT Martin to clinch its first OVC Tournament berth since the 2009 season.
The 28 victories for the Eagles are the most for the program since winning 29 games in 2005.
After four weekends of OVC play this season, Southeast Missouri (21-34, 12-15 OVC) was in last place in the standings but rebounded to win four of its final five series and lock up the final spot in the tournament field.
It marks the 18th consecutive season the Redhawks have made the OVC Tournament, extending its conference record in that category.
Tickets for the event will be $10 per day or $30 for an all-session pass (up to 11 total games).
Published in The WCP 5.22.12