- The University of Louisville (11) clinched a Big East opening series victory against UCONN in come-from-behind fashion in game one of a double header. Senior first baseman Andrew Clark‘s seventh inning, three-run double gave the Cards the win in game one. UCONN took game two, but sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright was 3-4 with a run scored in the game. (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2)
- Western Kentucky University (22) swept a double header from Louisiana Monroe to cap the best start in school history at 20-5. In game one, WKU shutout ULM 10-0 behind 6.1 innings from Shane Cameron and a 3-5, three RBI performance from sophomore outfielder Kes Carter. WKU took game two 10-8 behind a four-RBI performance from senior second baseman Matt Payton. (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2)
- Vanderbilt swept a Saturday doubleheader against the University of Kentucky to secure a series sweep and drop UK to 1-5 in SEC play this season. Freshman left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers gave UK eight strong innings in game one, but Vandy prevailed 2-1. UK jumped out to a 7-0 lead in game two, but Vandy rallied for a 9-8 win, capped by a three-run ninth inning. Sophomore outfielder Chad Wright was 5-10 and junior second baseman Chris Bisson was 4-8 on the afternoon. (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2)
Only three in-state teams were in action Friday, so candidates for the awards were a little scarce. However, we could easily find a deserving winner for each. Check out the Friday review below before the busiest day of the season for Kentucky colleges with each playing in a double header for a total of 12 games Saturday.
BluGrass Baseball Hitter of Day — OF Jared Andreoli (WKU)
- Stats: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 Runs, 1 BB
- Honorable Mention: Matt Payton (WKU), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Drew Haynes (UofL)
BluGrass Baseball Pitcher of the Day — RHP Thomas Royse (UofL)
- Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 SO
- Honorable Mention: Matt Ridings (WKU), Neil Holland (UofL), Jordan Cooper (UK)
Athletic Department Recap
Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Ridings allowed just one run on eight hits in eight innings to lead No. 22 Western Kentucky University to a 6-1 blowout of Louisiana Monroe. Ridings struck out four and walked just one. Sophomore outfielder Jared Andreoli was 1-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
Senior second baseman Matt Payton, junior designated hitter Monte Ketchum and sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes each tallied two hits in the game. Payton also scored twice. Redshirt sophomore reliever Rye Davis closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning. WKU improved to 18-5 on the season. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Matt Ridings — One came after setting the new WKU career wins record, Ridings was back to his old tricks with eight innings of one-run ball. Ridings is now 5-0 on the season in six starts.
University of Louisville junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Cards to a 1-0 shutout of Connecticut in the Big East opener. Royse struck out 11 and walked two while allowing just three hits. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland pitched the final two innings for his fifth save of the season. At the plate UofL was led by senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich, who was 2-3 with the only run scored of the game. Junior center fielder Drew Haynes drove home Wunderlich in the second inning with a two-out single. Senior first baseman Andrew Clark was 1-2 with two walks in his first game after sitting out three weeks with a rib cage injury. (Box Score) BluGrass Baseball POG: Thomas Royse — Did you think it would be someone else? Royse was outstanding with 7 innings pitched, three hits, no runs, two walks and 11 strikeouts in the game. On the season, Royse is now 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 38 innings.
Earlier this month I posted a Spring Training position battle primer for Kentucky fans looking to keep track of their native sons hoping to make MLB rosters. These were the borderline major leaguers and players assured of making the roster but fighting for a bigger role, not established players. With one week left before Opening Day I thought I’d update each battle so you have a better idea of where the official Kentuckians in the majors count will stand in 2010. A special kudos goes to PLD alum and Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis who appears ready to start the season with the big league club after starting catcher Russell Martin suffered a groin injury.
Toronto Blue Jays: Closer
- University of Kentucky and PRP alum Scott Downs is all but eliminated in the three-way closer race that will go to righties Jason Fraser or Kevin Gregg. Downs recently commented to a Toronto newspaper he prefers pitching in the eighth inning anyway.
San Francisco Giants: Fifth starter
- Louisville-native and Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer has all but wrapped up the fifth starter position after star prospect Madison Bumgarner was sent to AAA this week. Wellemeyer is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA this spring.
Cleveland Indians: Left fielder
- Lexington-native Austin Kearns has likely lost the starting job to top prospects Michael Brantley and Matt Laporta, but should still stick with the Indians as a reserve. The team is very left-handed, so Kearns’ right-handed bat is needed for balance.
Seattle Mariners: Relief pitcher
- Louisville-native Shawn Kelley appears destined to make the team per this MLB.com blog post, but hasn’t had a great spring. Kelley has given up eight runs in 12 innings, but does have 14 strikeouts compared to just one walk.
New York Mets: Relief pitcher
- No one in the Mets bullpen has really stepped up this Spring so Louisville Male alum Sean Green remains firmly in the mix for an Opening Day spot despite a 6.75 ERA and eight walks compared to four strikeouts this spring.
Cincinnati Reds: Utility reserve
- Despite an early camp injury, non-roster invitee and St X alum Chris Burke is still hanging on to a big league Spring Training spot. Burke is batting just .188 in eight games, so he’ll have to sell the Reds on his defensive versatility to avoid spending 2010 in his hometown with the Bats. 2009 Louisville Bat Drew Sutton is still in the mix.
- Candidates: Burke, Sutton, Aaron Miles, Paul Janish
Hit the jump for the concluded competitions.
Kentucky baseball fans will no longer have to depend on the state’s three Minor League teams for their summer baseball action as the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League is expanding to include a team in Lexington. The still unnamed team will begin play at Henry Clay High School after the 2010 NCAA season ends and will be stocked with mostly in-state collegiate talent.
Adam Revelette, a former University of Kentucky pitcher and Minnesota Twins farmhand whose work with Examiner.com and “Cat Scratches” is often linked here, will serve as the team general manager. Bobby Wright, currently an assistant at Otterbein College (Ohio), will be the teams’ head coach.
“Adding Lexington as the newest team in the Great Lakes League will be a tremendous boost for the growth of the league and for the expansion of baseball in Central Kentucky,” Mike Childers, a member of Major League Baseball’s Scouting bureau, said in a news release. “Lexington has become a hotbed for baseball talent in recent years and this level of collegiate competition will only add to the growth of the sport.”
BluGrass Baseball plans to incorporate coverage of the GLSCL team into its summer repertoire so check back often for updates and information. Rosters, schedule and team name are expected to be released in the coming weeks.
The last of the Kentucky colleges start their conference season this week, so serious baseball has come to the Bluegrass. Check out the composite schedule below with information about where you can listen or watch the games. Gametracker links will take you to the livestream of the radio broadcast. I’ve also included each teams probable starting pitcher and Baseball America ranking in parentheses when applicable. Clicking on each team’s name will take you to the university’s preview of the series. Post will be updated as Murray St. and EKU weekend rotation information becomes available. University of Louisville (11) vs. UCONN
- Friday — 6 p.m. — RHP Thomas Royse (4-0, 1.74) — Gametracker
- Saturday — 1 p.m. — LHP Dean Kiekhefer (2-1, 4.00) — Gametracker
- Sunday — 1 p.m. — RHP Tony Zych (1-1, 9.00) — Gametracker
Western Kentucky University (22) vs. ULM
- Friday — 6:00 p.m. (CT) — RHP Matt Ridings (4-0, 4.40) — Live Stats
- Saturday — 3:00 p.m. (CT) — RHP Shane Cameron (2-1, 5.26) — Live Stats
- Sunday — 1:00 p.m. (CT) — LHP Tanner Perkins (2-0, 3.55) — Live Stats
University of Kentucky @ Vanderbilt
- Friday — 7:00 p.m. — LHP Logan Darnell (3-1, 3.09) — Gametracker
- Saturday — 3:00 p.m. — LHP Taylor Rogers (3-1, 4.75) — Gametracker
- Sunday — 2:00 p.m. — RHP Alex Meyer (4-2, 6.51) — Gametracker
Murray State University @ Austin Peay
- Friday — 1 p.m. (CT)
- Saturday — 4 p.m. (CT)
- Sunday — 1 p.m. (CT)
Morehead State University vs. Southeast Missouri State
- Friday (1) — 1 p.m. — RHP Michael Bottoms (1-1, 6.38) — Live Stats
- Friday (2) — Game 2 — RHP Quentin Morgan (2-1, 7.43) — Live Audio
- Saturday — 1 p.m. — TBA — Live Audio
Eastern Kentucky University vs. Eastern Illinois
- Saturday (1) — 1 p.m. — RHP Stephen Hefler (1-1, 6.43) — Live Stats
- Saturday (2) — Game 2 — LHP Paul Duncan (1-1, 6.14)
- Sunday — 1 p.m. — RHP Anthony Bazzani (1-2, 8.59)
Look for the weekend schedule at noon, but for now here are some Friday morning notes to get you ready for the baseball you can catch around the big game Saturday.
- Chris Assenheimer of The Chronicle Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, reports Lexington-native Austin Kearns has a good shot at making the Indians’ Opening Day roster.
- Aaron Fitt of Baseball America highlights the University of Kentucky‘s weekend series against Vanderbilt as the meaningful matchup in college baseball and provides an in-depth breakdown of the two teams.
- Louisville-native Todd Wellemeyer clinched his starting spot with the Giants with five innings of two-run ball Thursday.
- Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com and Yahoo! Sports lists his ten college series to watch this weekend and includes the University of Louisville‘s Big East opener and UK’s visit to Vandy.
- Nick Baumgardner of the Bowling Green Daily News profiles WKU starting pitcher Matt Ridings as he closes in on the Sun Belt wins record.
- Eastern Kentucky University was blown out 11-3 at Miami (OH). Junior third baseman Jayson Langfels and senior catcher Joey Stevens were each 3-5. Freshman Alex Rexroat took the loss after allowing four runs in three and one-third innings. (Box Score)
- Western Kentucky University recaps its 14-5 win over Murray State University.
- Murray St. also has a recap of the home loss.
- Aaron Smith of the Kentucky Kernel previews the University of Kentucky weekend road series at Vanderbilt.
- Mike Stunson of the College Heights Herald profiles WKU senior ace Matt Ridings.
No. 22 Western Kentucky University made good on its national ranking in the first game since receiving the honor with a 14-5 win over in-state rival Murray State University. WKU scored six runs in the second and third innings to jump out to an early 12-1 lead and never looked back. Sophomore center fielder Jared Andreoli was 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored in the game. Every Hilltopper tallied at least one hit in the game.
Sophomore right-handed reliever Craig Stem earned the victory after recording the last two outs in the fourth inning for WKU. Murray State redshirt junior reliever Jake Donze took the loss after allowing six runs in one and one-third innings. Junior center fielder Elliot Frey and senior designated hitter Daniel Hill each tallied two hits for the Breds.
BluGrass Baseball POG: Jared Andreoli — In a game where every WKU starter recorded a hit, the sophomore outfielder from Wisconsin was most impressive with two hits, a home run and three RBI in the game to lead the Hilltoppers to their 17th win of the season. Andreoli’s long ball was his first of the season.