Offseason position battle: Murray St. outfielder

College Baseball

Zach Noonan; BluGrass Baseball photo

In the fourth Murray State University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant outfield position.

The departed — Outfielder Daniel Hill, a 2010 senior, started 33 games in right field and six as the designated hitter for the Breds in 2010. On the season he batted .284 with five home runs, 37 RBI and 33 runs scored. As a junior Hill batted .344 with a then school-record 16 home runs…Utility man Bryan Propst started 26 games in left field, five games in right field, five games at first base and 15 as the Breds’ designated hitter in 2010. Propst was second on the team in batting (.366), home runs (14), runs scored (57), hits (75), RBI (56) and total bases (140). He tied for the team lead with 19 doubles.

Returning candidates — The Breds return their every day center fielder in senior Elliot Frey, who started 51 games in the outfield in 2010, and corner outfielder senior Zach Noonan, who started 50 games in the outfield last season… The race for the third outfield spot is wide open as Murray state returns just one player who started a game in the outfield in 2010, and that player, senior catcher Drew Pixley, started just one game…Freshman outfielder Brandon Eggenschwiler and Ty Stetson both redshirted during the 2010 season.

Newcomers to watch — Murray St. head coach Rob McDonald added two junior college transfers to the outfield mix for the 2011 Breds. Redshirt sophomore Paul Ritzheimer comes to Murray from Kaskaskia Community College where he batted .405 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a freshman…Junior outfielder Cody Larson batted .263 with three home runs, 16 RBI and 16 runs scored as a sophomore at Skyline Junior College…Freshman left-handed pitcher and outfielder Brock Downey was named first-team all state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior at Murray High School. Downey batted .550 with 52 stolen bases as a senior.

Wildcard — The wildcard in the Murray State outfield race may be the only returning reserve who started a game in the outfield in 2010: senior catcher Drew Pixley. The Breds boast five catchers on the roster with Pixley and junior college transfer Jacob Rhodes leading the race for playing time. If McDonnell wants to get both players in the lineup, he could try Pixley in the outfield once again.

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