In the final post of the third lap in the “offseason position battle series” we will look at the vacant Morehead State University weekend starting pitcher positions.
The departed — Morehead St. lost the closest thing it had to an ace in 2010 to graduation in the form of right-handed pitcher and first baseman Michael Bottoms. The two-way player led Morehead St. with 12 starts on the season and finished the season at 4-4 with a 6.57 ERA and 40 strikeouts to go with 28 walks in 74 innings pitched. Bottoms continued his career after graduation by pitching in the South Australian Baseball League…Right-handed pitcher Quentin Morgan, a 2010 senior, was 3-1 with a 9.95 ERA in 10 games, including eight starts, for the Eagles in 2010. Morgan struck out 25 batters and walked 16 in 38 innings pitched.
Returning candidates — Senior right-handed pitcher Jeff Arnold made 12 starts for Morehead St. as a junior in 2010, going 4-1 with a 9.10 ERA and 31 strikeouts to go with 14 walks in 58.1 innings pitched…Junior right-handed pitcher Matt Robertson made eight starts for the Eagles as a sophomore in 2010, going 1-5 with a 9.40 ERA in 45 innings pitched…Senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith was 3-2 with a 7.93 ERA in 16 games, including three starts, as a junior for Morehead St. in 2010. Smith struck out 16 batters in 10 innings over two starts during the Fall World Series…Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson made just one start as a freshman in 2010, but struck out 10 batters over six innings in a start during the Fall World Series. Gibson was 1-2 with a 7.92 ERA and three saves in 16 games in 2010…Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider made five starts as a sophomore in 2010 but pitched well in a starting role during the Fall World Series…Junior left-handed pitcher Tyler Hieneman made seven starts as a sophomore for Morehead last season but struggled to the tune of a 10.70 ERA.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman left-handed pitcher Noah Smallwood comes to Morehead from West Jessamine High School, where he was named second-team all-state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association following his senior season. Smallwood made a start for the Eagles during the Fall World Series…Freshman left-handed pitcher Brice Smallwood was also named second-team all-state by KHSBCA following his senior season at Dixie Height High School. Brice was 10-0 with a 1.21 ERA as a senior…Freshman left-handed pitcher and outfielder Duran Elmore struck out 106 batters in 77 innings pitched as a senior at Danville High School.
Wildcard — Sophomore left-handed pitcher Garrick Whittle did not make any starts for Morehead as a freshman, a rarity on a pitching staff that had no pitcher with multiple appearances finish with an ERA under 6.57, but started a game during the Fall World Series. Whittle struck out eight batters over five shutout innings during that start, positioning him as a serious candidate for a starting rotation spot in 2011. Whittle did not record a decision as a reliever in 2010 and posted a 10.38 ERA in nine appearances…Junior college transfer Kyle Williams is still new to pitching after converting to the position. He originally signed with Shawnee Community College as an outfielder.
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