Wes Cunningham: BluGrass Baseball photo
The 2010 collegiate season is officially over for every Kentucky Division One school except UofL, so this is the perfect time to unveil the BluGrass Baseball season awards.
Player of the year: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)
- Stats: .408/.476/.824, 22 HR, 86 RBI, 77 R, 10 SB
- Cunningham led the state in home runs, RBI, runs scored and slugging percentage and ranked tenth in home runs, ninth in RBI and fifth in slugging percentage in all of D1 baseball during the regular season. He was named Ohio Valley Conference player of the year and ranked in the top five in OVC batting average, hits, runs scored, RBI, triples, home runs and total bases. Cunningham led Murray State University in every major offensive category.
- Honorable Mention: Zack Cox (Arkansas, PRP), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead State University), Drew Lee (Morehead St.), Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky University), Matt Rice (Western Kentucky University), Ryan Wright (UofL)
Pitcher of the year: RHP Thomas Royse (UofL)
- Stats: 9-1, 2.91 ERA, 99 IP, 94 SO, 25 BB, .252 BA against
- Royse led Kentucky pitchers in ERA, wins, strikeouts and innings pitched in 2010 . The Big East Conference pitcher of the year led the University of Louisville to the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA tournament as its weekend ace. Royse outdueled WKU senior ace Matt Ridings, who ranked second in most pitching categories and led in batting average against, for the pitcher of the year honor.
- Honorable Mention: Matt Ridings (WKU), Neil Holland (UofL), Matt McGaha (Murray St.), Justin Amlung (UofL), Rye Davis (WKU)
Freshman of the year: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)
- Stats: 5-1, 4.01 ERA, 19 G, 9 GS, 60.2 IP, 51 SO, 12 BB, .281 BA against
- Almung redshirted during the 2009 season, but wasted no time making an impact in his first season on the diamond for UofL, first as a mid-week starting pitcher and reliever and later as a weekend starter. Amlung led all Kentucky freshman in wins, ERA, strikeouts and batting average against.
- Honorable Mention: Matt Koch (UofL), Taylor Rogers (University of Kentucky), Jordan Cooper (UK), Ryan Huck (WKU), Colton Moore (Murray St.), Anthony Bazzani (EKU), Austin Grisham (EKU)
No. 9 University of Louisville was rewarded for its strong regular season with the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA baseball tournament. UofL will host a NCAA regional with Vanderbilt (2), Illinois St. (3) and St. Louis (4). The Cards will face St. Louis in the first game of the regional Friday with game time to be determined. The Cards faced just one of its three regional opponents this season. Vanderbilt handed UofL one of its 12 losses with a 11-10, 17-inning win on May 11.
Meanwhile the University of Kentucky was omitted from the field of 64 and was the only team not included in the field that was projected to make the tournament by the three most prominent national college baseball writers. “Our committee felt strongly about a number of teams that had a better body of work or more momentum upward,” Division I Baseball Committee Chairman Tim Weiser said of UK. The Cats were ranked No. 33 in the latest RPI and boasted 16 wins against the RPI top 50, but missed the Southeastern Conference tournament after losing two of three to last-place Georgia in the final series of the season.
You can see the full bracket here.
Check out the final weekly awards from the Kentucky collegiate baseball season, including a pitching performance that saw one Murray State pitcher throw 180 pitches in two consecutive games.
Hitter of the week: OF Bryan Propst (Murray St.)
- Stats: 13-22 (.591), 1 HR, 6 2B, 11 RBI, 6 R
- Honorable mention: Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Logan Robbins (WKU), Ryan Wright (UofL)
Pitcher of the week: RHP Alex Love (Murray St.)
- Stats: 2-0, 2 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 14 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 180 pitches in two days (his final two collegiate appearances)
- Honorable Mention: Jake Donze (Murray St.), Anthony Bazzani (EKU), Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Shane Cameron (WKU), Justin Amlung (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL)
Freshman of the week: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU)
- Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
- Honorable Mention: Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Justin Amlung (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL)
UK Athletics Wallpaper
If you’ve been paying attention in recent weeks, you would have noticed I’m down on the University of Kentucky‘s hopes for a NCAA tournament at-large bid. After giving an interview to my friend James Pennington of Kentucky Sports Radio earlier this week, where I expressed those sentiments, I was provided with some information making the case for UK’s tourney hopes. While I’m still not sold, and the conference tournaments haven’t gone as well as UK could have hoped, here’s the case for including the Cats in the tournament:
- UK ended the regular season with the No. 29 RBI. Only three teams with an RPI less than 30 have been left out of the NCAA tournament since 2007.
- One of those teams was fellow Southeastern Conference school Auburn in 2009 (No. 28), but the Tigers were the 10th ranked team in the SEC.
- UK played the seventh toughest schedule in the country.
- The Cats have 9 wins over the RPI top 15.
- Kentucky has 16 wins over the RPI top 50, which was eighth most in the country at the end of the regular season.
- The ninth-place SEC team has received an at-large bid in two of the last four seasons.
Points against UK:
- No matter how you spin it, losing two-of-three to last-place Georgia in the final series of the season when the Cats had a chance to control their own destiny is just ugly.
- While the Cats have faced a plethora of injuries in their starting rotation, which is fully healthy now, it’s not like those pitchers have performed very well when healthy.
- UK will get no bonus points for losing 2009 first-round pick James Paxton. Paxton never played for this team and certainly won’t suit up in the NCAA tournament, so UK without Paxton is what it is.
- Southern Mississippi won the Conference USA tournament, taking away one at-large bid. Unfavorable outcomes in the Missouri Valley, Southland and the Atlantic Sun tournaments could take away other at-large positions. If St. Johns wins the Big East tournament today over UCONN, that’s one more bid off the board.
Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com had UK in his last NCAA projection before the conference tournaments, but he picked the Cats as the third-to-last team in the field. The conference tournaments simply haven’t gone as well as UK hoped, so selection Monday will be anything but comfortable for coach Gary Henderson and his team. The good news is unlike some conference tournament teams, UK hasn’t done anything this week to hurt its chances.
The state’s run in its various conference tournaments ended Saturday with losses by UofL and Murray St. The Cards still have the NCAA tournament to look forward to, but the loss ends the season for Murray St. Check out recaps and awards from those games below:
- No. 9 University of Louisville was eliminated from the double-elimination Big East Conference tournament with a 5-3 loss to St. Johns Saturday. Senior catcher Jeff Arnold, senior first baseman Andrew Clark and junior center fielder Josh Richmond each tallied two hits in the game for UofL. Junior left-handed pitcher Bob Revesz took the loss in a rare start after allowing four runs in four and two-third innings. (Box Score)
- Murray State University saw its season come to an end after Ohio Valley Conference tournament one-seed Tennessee Tech scored 10 runs in the fourth inning in route to a 15-6 victory. Murray St. finished 28-28-1 on the season. Freshman shortstop Brandon Elliott was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Senior left fielder Bryan Propst added a home run in the last game of his career. Junior left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha took the loss in his first start of the season after allowing eight runs, only four of which were earned, in three and two-third innings. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: SS Brandon Elliot (Murray St.)
- Stats: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R
- Honorable Mention: Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Andrew Clark (UofL), Josh Richmond (UofL)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Brad Rowland (Murray St.)
- Stats: .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
- Honorable Mention: No honorable mentions in the weakest pitching performance day of the season for Kentucky college baseball.
Both remaining Kentucky conference tournament teams will be hoping for two games Saturday as each will need to defeat their opponent twice to reach the conference finals. Check out the schedule and possible scenarios below:
- 1 p.m.: University of Louisville (1) vs. St. Johns (4) — Big East Conference Tournament — Live Stats*
- 3 p.m. (CT): Murray State University (3) vs. Loser of Jacksonville St. (2) and Tennessee Tech (1) — Ohio Valley Conference Tournament — Live Stats*
If UofL wins its first game:
- 5 p.m.: UofL (1) vs. St. Johns (4) — Big East Tournament — Live Stats*
If Murray St. wins its first game:
- 7 p.m. (CT): Murray St. (3) vs. Winner of Jacksonville St (2) and Tennessee Tech (1) — OVC Tournament — Live Stats*
* — Marks an elimination game for Kentucky team.
The Bluegrass lost another conference tournament team Friday with EKU’s elimination at the hands of in-state rival Murray St. However, both UofL and the Breds remain in their respective tournaments. Check out recaps and awards from Friday’s games below and post-game interviews from Murray St.’s win over EKU above:
- Murray State University scored four runs in the first inning and didn’t look back in a 10-2 win over Eastern Kentucky University in an Ohio Valley Conference tournament elimination game. The loss ended the Colonels’ season. Murray St. redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze pitched a complete game, allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out seven while walking just two. Four different Breds’ batters tallied two hits in the game. EKU junior left-fielder Bryce Labhart was 3-4 with one RBI. (Box Score)
- The Breds returned to action at 3 p.m. in a second elimination game and rode another complete game performance from senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love to a 14-4 win over Southeast Missouri. The game was delayed by rain for five hours in the ninth inning. Love had pitched five innings on Thursday as well. Senior left fielder Bryan Propst was 4-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, and senior first baseman Wes Cunningham added three hits an a home run. Love surrendered three earned runs, struck out three and walked two. (Box Score)
- No 9 University of Louisville blew a late lead but rode a two-run home run from redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames in the top of the 11th inning to a 9-7 win over South Florida in an elimination game in the Big East Conference tournament. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich was 4-6 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung took a no-decision, but allowed just two runs in seven innings. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland recorded his eighth win of the season. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)
- Stats: 5-10, 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 1 2B
- Honorable Mention: Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Bryce Labhart (EKU)
Pitcher of the day: LHP Jake Donze (Murray St.)
- Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
- Honorable Mention: Alex Love (Murray St.), Justin Amlung (UofL)
The bluegrass lost one of its conference tournament teams with Thursday’s elimination of Western Kentucky University, but UofL, Murray St. and EKU return to action today. Check out the day’s schedule below which includes the second matchup of Murray St. and EKU in the OVC tournament, which will mark the final game of the season for the loser:
- 11 a.m. (CT): Murray State University (3) vs. Eastern Kentucky University (6) — Ohio Valley Conference Tournament — Live Stats — Live Video*
- 7 p.m.: University of Louisville (1) vs. South Florida (5) — Big East Conference Tournament — Live Stats — Live Video*
* — Elimination Game
Check out the video above of EKU interviews following the win over Murray St. and recaps and awards below from a busy day of conference tournament baseball, including what was likely WKU’s final game of the season:
- In a Ohio Valley Conference tournament first-round game delayed to Thursday due to a power failure Wednesday night, Eastern Kentucky University scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Murray State University 4-3. Freshman right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani earned the win after holding the Breds to three runs on six hits in eight innings. Bazzani struck out 10 and walked four. EKU Sophomore shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 4-5 with a run scored, and sophomore catcher A. J. Jamison drove home the winning run with a pinch-hit double in the ninth. Murray St. senior left fielder Bryan Propst was 2-3 with three RBI in the game, and senior right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft held the Colonels to two runs in seven innings and struck out eight. (Box Score)
- Western Kentucky University was eliminated from the Sun Belt Conference tournament with a 7-3 loss to Florida International Thursday. The loss likely ended the Hilltoppers’ season as WKU’s hopes for an at-large NCAA tournament bid were dashed. Sophomore outfielder Jared Andreoli and Kes Carter tallied two hits each in the game, and sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins drove in two runs. Senior right-handed pitcher Shane Cameron took a no decision after allowing three runs in six and one-third innings in his final start. WKU senior ace Matt Ridings did not pitch in the tournament after leaving his final regular season start with an apparent injury. (Box Score)
- Following a short-turnaround from its game-one loss Murray St. scored six runs in the first inning and held off a late rally for a 13-9 win over Southeast Missouri in ten innings. Senior second baseman Kyle Tiernan put the Breds ahead with a solo home run in the tenth inning, and senior first baseman Wes Cunningham extended the lead with his own three-run shot, giving him the school career RBI record. Propst tallied four hits, three RBI and two runs scored, and senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love allowed one run over the final five innings for the win. (Box Score)
- No. 9 University of Louisville lost its first game in the Big East Conference tournament with a 6-5 decision to St. Johns Thursday night. The loss could hurt UofL’s chances at one of the eight national NCAA tournament seeds, and the Cards could use a victory Friday to wrap up that honor. Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Koch allowed just two earned runs in six and two-third innings, but the Cards bullpen behind senior left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer blew the lead. Sophomore shortstop Ryan Wright was 4-4 with two RBI and one run scored in the game. (Box Score)
- In its second game of the day, EKU couldn’t finish a late rally against OVC tournament one-seed Tennessee Tech and lost 7-4. Sophomore second baseman Dunstin Dunlop was 2-2 with two runs scored and two walks, but the Colonels couldn’t over come a poor pitching performance from junior left-handed pitcher Paul Duncan who surrendered seven runs in six and one-third innings. Murray St. and EKU will face off for the second time in the tournament with an elimination game at 11 a.m. (CT) Friday. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: OF Bryan Propst (Murray St.)
- Stats: 6-8, 5 RBI, 3 R, 5 2Bs
- Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (UofL), Logan Robbins (WKU), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU)
- Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
- Honorable Mention: Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Matt Koch (UofL), Shane Cameron (WKU), Alex Love (Murray St.)
The day two conference tournament schedule gets a little confusing since Murray St. and EKU have to play two games each. WKU has been eliminated with a morning loss, and Murray St. faces elimination in its afternoon game. I’ve updated the schedule below after EKU defeated Murray State in this morning’s game:
- 9 a.m. (CT): Western Kentucky University (8) vs. FIU (4) — Sun Belt Conference Tournament — L (7-3) — Box Score
- 9 a.m. (CT): Murray State University (3) vs. Eastern Kentucky University (6) — Ohio Valley Conference Tournament — RHP Anthony Bazzani (4-3, 5.71) vs. Chris Craycraft (6-4, 5.25) — 4-3 — Box Score
- 12:30 p.m. (CT): Murray St. vs. SE Missouri — OVC Tournament — Live Stats*
- 8 p.m. (EST): No. 9 University of Louisville (1) vs. St. Johns (4) — Big East Conference Tournament — Live Stats
- 8:30 p.m. (EST): EKU (6) vs. Tennessee Tech (1) — OVC Tournament — Live Stats
* — Denotes an elimination game