Corey Hart injured; Mariners close to signing Paxton; Blanton shakes off trade rumors; Brandon Webb throws off mound

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Corey Hart; Photo by Steve Paluch via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Bowling Green native Corey Hart suffered a slight strain of his right side during defensive drills Saturday. Hart may miss a couple of days with the injury according to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.
  • Following a night full of Internet rumors, Keith Law of ESPN.com reports via Twitter that former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton has not signed with the Seattle Mariners yet, but the deal is “getting close.” Paxton was the team’s fourth-round pick in 2010 after he was ruled ineligible during his senior season at UK for having his agent, Scott Boras, negotiate directly with the Toronto Blue Jays following the 2009 draft.
  • Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton shrugged off the rampant offseason trade rumors and the his status as forgotten man in the Phillies rotation to post a stellar Spring Training debut.
  • Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb threw off a mound for the first time this Spring on Sunday.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports Louisville Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt was the start of the Reds’ Saturday intrasquad scrimmage.
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Black, Amlung, Littrell earn week 2 BluGrass Baseball awards

College Baseball

Taylor Black; UK Athletics photo

It’s time for the weekly BluGrass Baseball awards. Check out the best hitting, pitching and freshmen performances from week two of the 2011 season:

Hitter of the week: SS Taylor Black (UK)

  • Stats: 9-17 (.529), 1 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 3 doubles, 1 stolen base
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Rice (WKU), Ivan Hartle (WKU), Luke Maile (UK), Ryan Wright (UofL), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Austin Grisham (EKU), Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the week: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 0-0, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Tanner Perkins (WKU), Taylor Haydel (WKU), Walter Wijas (UK), Corey Littrell (UK), Matt Koch (UofL), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Kyle McGrath (EKU), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Jake Donze (Murray St.)

Freshman of the week: LHP Corey Littrell (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Scott Wilcox (WKU), Trevor Gott (UK), Matt Reida (UK), Cody Edge (UofL), Kyle McGrath (EKU), Cameron Finch (Murray St.), Noah Smallwood (Morehead St.)

Spring roundup: Blanton excels in debut; Maloney, Adcock post scoreless appearances; Streiby makes second start

Major League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Check out the daily rundown of Sunday Kentucky Spring Training action:

  • Former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton pitched three hitless innings in his Spring Training debut for the Philadelphia Phillies. Blanton struck out one batter and walked one.
  • Offseason Louisville resident Matt Maloney struck out two batters in two perfect innings for the Cincinnati Reds.
  • In that same game Lexington native Austin Kearns was 1-2 with a strikeout for the Cleveland Indians.
  • Elizabethtown native Nathan Adcock surrendered two hits in a scoreless inning for the Kansas City Royals.
  • Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, was 0-3 with one strikeout in his Spring Training debut.
  • Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby earned his second consecutive start at first base for the Detroit Tigers but was 0-2 Sunday.
  • PLD alum A. J. Ellis was 0-1 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill was 0-2 for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Sunday roundup: UofL, UK, EKU pick up wins in finales

College Baseball

Highlights and recaps from Sunday Kentucky collegiate baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University closed out the Baseball at the Beach Tournament with a disappointing 4-1 loss to previously winless Pacific. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel took the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in five and two-third innings while striking out six and walking none. At the plate junior second baseman Ivan Hartle and freshman third baseman Scott Wilcox were the only Hilltoppers with multiple hits, and both finished the game 2-4. Sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins scored the only run of the game for WKU. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville salvaged one win in its three-game series versus Toledo with a 4-2 victory following a late rally on Sunday. The Cards scored three runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a home run from junior second baseman Ryan Wright and a RBI double from sophomore first baseman Cade Stallings. Freshman left-handed pitcher Cody Edge earned his first collegiate victory after surrendering one run on one hit in two innings of relief. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold surrendered one run on three hits in four innings while striking out four and walking two. The Cards took the lead in the sixth inning on a RBI-groundout from senior catcher J. J. Ethel. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning and scored two runs without recording a hit to earn a 3-1 win in the rubber match of its three-game series vs. Illinois-Chicago. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott earned his first collegiate victory after inducing a double play when he entered the game in the sixth inning with two men on base and one out. Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek recorded the final four outs to earn his first career save. No UK batter recorded multiple hits in the game, but sophomore center fielder Brian Adams was 1-2 with a run scored and a hit-by-pitch. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University couldn’t finish of its series sweep of Bowling Green St. as it dropped a 4-2 decision in a rain-shortened Sunday game. Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers took the loss after surrendering four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits in six innings while striking out three and walking none. Redshirt freshman outfielder Ty Stetson and junior second baseman Travis Isaak were each 2-3 in the game. Junior first baseman Jacob Rhodes was the only other Murray St. batter to record a hit, and he drove in two runs. (Box Score)
  • Eastern Kentucky University earned its first series win of the season after holding off a late Purdue rally to preserve a 7-6 win in the rubber match of the series Sunday. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel finished the game 3-5 with one RBI. Freshman catcher Sean Hagen and senior center fielder Ryan Faidley each tallied two hits and scored two runs in the game. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler earned the win after surrendering two runs on six hits in five and one-third innings while striking out one batter and walking four. Purdue rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off junior right-handed pitcher Lincoln Wagner, but EKU senior closer Ryne Purcell got the final out for his second save of the season. (Box Score)
  • In its Sunday double-header Morehead State University surrendered 35  runs in two games, dropping game one 18-1 and game two 17-9 to Purdue. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson took the loss in game one after surrendering seven runs, five of which were earned on nine hits in two and two-third innings. In game two junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss after surrendering 11 runs, seven of which were earned in three and one-third innings. Junior catcher Taylor Davis was 5-8 with three RBI and two runs scored in the two games, and redshirt sophomore designated hitter Kellen Begeman was 3-5 with two RBI and one run scored in game two. (Box Score, GM 1) (Box Score, GM 2)

Hitter of the day: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 4-8, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Kellen Begeman (Morhead St.), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Ryan Faidley (EKU), Ryan Wright (UofL)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Mike Nastold (UofL)

  • Stats: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Trevor Gott (UK), Jordan Cooper (UK), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

Henderson happy with 4-4 record after winless first weekend

College Baseball

Gary Henderson; UK Athletics photo

After the University of Kentucky returned from its opening weekend series in South Carolina last week, head coach Gary Henderson was anything but happy with his team’s performance.

The Cats finished the first weekend of the season 0-3 after surrendering 20 runs versus College of Charleston, Marshall and Miami of Ohio. But after a 3-1 win Sunday the Cats had used a 4-1 week to even their season record at 4-4.

“I think [winning the series versus Illinois-Chicago] is really important,” Henderson said following the Sunday victory. “I think what is more important than winning two out of three is playing well.”

“I think being 4-4 is a good spot considering where we were last week,” he added.

Henderson was particularly pleased with the way his pitching staff showed up during the series versus UIC.

“I think in all honesty we pitched well for 26 innings,” he said, referring to Friday’s ninth-inning blowup. “Unfortunately the one inning we didn’t, we gave the game away.”

UK sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper was hit hard at times during his Sunday start, giving up eight hits in five and one-third innings of work. However he limited UIC to just one run in his start and worked out of jams in each of the first four innings.

“The thing about Jordan Cooper I thought today was he kept his poise,” Henderson said. “He clearly wasn’t sharp today in the strike zone. His stuff was fine. I think it was an improvement over his first outing, and I would think his next outing will be even better.”

Cooper left Sunday’s game in the sixth inning with one out and two UIC runners on base, but freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott came out of the bullpen to induce a double-play to end the inning. Gott earned his first collegiate win in the game after pitching two and one-third scoreless innings.

“I was really pleased with Trevor’s performance,” Henderson said. “That’s a huge double play at that point in time.”

After usual closer Braden Kapteyn blew a save in game one of the weekend series, Henderson turned to senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek to close out the game Sunday. Kaczmarek responded by recording the final four outs of the game while surrendering just one hit for his first career save.

After starting three games in the outfield this week, Kaczmarek returned to his normal role in the bullpen for the final two games of the weekend.

“I think [Kaczmarek] is absolutely going to be in the bullpen, but I’m not going to limit him to the ninth inning,” Henderson said. “Sometimes you can win the game in the seventh inning. He’s going to pitch when it’s important.”

Henderson noted it was difficult to manage his bullpen with both Kaczmarek and Kapteyn playing the field. Despite the 4-4 record, Henderson said he thought his team had pitched well in seven of the first eight games with just two innings in those games going the wrong way.

“It’s progress, it’s improvement,” Henderson said of UK’s recent pitching performances. “It’s something to build on.”

Spring Roundup: Strieby, Cowgill tally hits in spring debuts

Uncategorized

Ryan Strieby; Photo via Flickr by mwlguide

During the regular season BluGrass Baseball publishes a daily roundup of Kentucky minor league action. We are going to try something similar during Spring Training to help you keep up with Kentuckians trying to make big league rosters across Florida and Arizona. Spring Training games began on Saturday, so check out the first roundup below:

  • Former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby was 1-3 with one RBI for the Detroit Tigers.
  • Atlanta Braves left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters, who was born in Pikeville, surrendered on hit and struck out one batter in a scoreless inning.
  • In that same game Braves non-roster invitee Michael Broadway, a right-handed pitcher who was born in Paducah, was charged with a blown save after surrendering two runs on two hits in one inning.
  • PLD alum A. J. Ellis was 0-2 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a split-squad game versus the San Francisco Giants.
  • Lexington native and former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill tallied a single in a pinch-hit appearance for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Saturday roundup: UK blows out UIC; EKU, Murray State, Morehead State pick up first wins of 2011; UofL, WKU lose

College Baseball

BluGrass Baseball graphic

Highlights and recaps from Saturday baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University dropped its first game of the season with a 6-1 loss to Coastal Carolina in the Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Coastal Carolina rallied with four runs in the fourth inning helped by a throwing error from WKU junior shortstop Logan Robbins. Freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman took the loss after surrendering four runs, one of which was earned, on three hits in four innings while striking out five batters and walking three. At the plate senior catcher Matt Rice was the only Hilltoppers’ batter with multiple hits and finished the game 2-4. (Box Score)
  • University of Louisville preseason All-American closer Tony Zych blew his first save of the season as Toledo scored three runs in the ninth inning to send the Cards to a 4-2 loss. The loss wasted a second consecutive strong outing from redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung, who surrendered one run on five hits in six innings while striking out five and walking one. Toledo’s ninth-inning rally began with a throwing error from freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden. Junior second baseman Ryan Wright was 3-3 with a triple, one RBI, one run scored and one walk in the game. Just two other Cards batters tallied hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky used a five-run fifth inning to blow open what had been a close game en route to a 13-3 win over Illinois-Chicago in game two of a three-game series. Every UK starter recorded at least one hit in the game, led by senior shortstop Taylor Black, who was 3-5 with a grand slam, four RBI, three runs scored and one walk. Sophomore center fielder Brian Adams and sophomore catcher Luke Maile each tallied three hits in five at-bats. Junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer earned his first win of the season after surrendering three runs on three hits in five innings while striking out seven and walking five. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header Eastern Kentucky University struggled to find any offense in a 7-1 loss to Penn State and fell to 0-4 on the season. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani took the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in five innings while striking out six and walking two. Freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 3-4 with a double and run scored in the game. (Box Score)
  • In game two of its double-header EKU earned its first win of the season with a 7-5 victory in a seven-inning game versus Penn State. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath earned his first collegiate win after surrendering four runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out five and walking one. Junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 3-4 with three RBI, and freshman second baseman Alex Arovits was 2-2 with two runs scored in the game. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel drove in three runs. Senior closer Ryne Purcell earned his first save of the season despite surrendering one run in the ninth inning. (Box Score)
  • A strong pitching performance from junior left-handed pitcher Luke Shuemaker led Murray State University to its first win of the season in a 6-3 victory over Bowling Green St. in game one of a double-header. Shuemaker surrendered two unearned runs on eight hits in six innings while striking out five batters and walking six. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 2-3 with a double and two RBI in the game. Sophomore outfielder Paul Ritzheimer drove in two runs in the game. (Box Score)
  • Murray St. finished its double-header sweep of BGSU with a walk-off 4-3 win in game two. Elliott doubled with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, moved to third and eventually scored on a fielding error by the BGSU pitcher with two outs. The game was scheduled to last just seven innings but the two teams were tied at three after seven. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Will Handlin earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze surrendered three runs on six hits in seven innings while striking out five batters and walking five. Redshirt freshman outfielder Brandon Eggenschwiler finished the game 2-3 with two RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header versus Purdue, Morehead State University turned an early blowout into a close game late but still fell to 0-5 on the season with a 11-8 loss. Junior third baseman Andrew Deeds slugged his first home run of the season for the Eagles, but the early Purdue lead proved to be too much to overcome. Senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith took the loss after surrendering eight runs in three and two-third innings pitched. (Box Score)
  • In game two of the double-header a RBI-single from junior catcher Eric Bainer in the 11th inning plated redshirt freshman outfielder Ryan Conner to send Morehead St. to its first win of the season, a 10-9 victory. After Purdue scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 7-5 lead, Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis slugged a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extra innings. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider surrendered five runs on eight hits in six innings while striking out seven batters and walking one. Deeds continued his strong play in the double-header with a 3-6, one RBI, one run scored performance in game two. Junior left-handed pitcher Tyler Hieneman earned the win after surrendering four runs in five innings of relief. (Box Score)

Hitter of the Day: SS Taylor Black (UK)

  • Stats: 3-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (UofL), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Austin Grisham (EKU), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the Day: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Alex Meyer (UK), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Luke Shuemaker (Murray St.), Kyle McGrath (EKU)

Witt injured in UK loss; Rice named candidate for senior-class award; Wellemeyer realistic about chances with Cubs

College Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

Latest links around Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Kentucky freshman outfielder Lucas Witt pulled a hip flexor during the Cats’ loss to UIC Friday, UK confirmed to BluGrass Baseball following the game. Witt will be re-evaluated today when the Cats hope to figure out a timetable for his return.
  • Western Kentucky University catcher Matt Rice has been named a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports the Texas Rangers plan for Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb to throw of a mound for the first time on Sunday.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com talks with Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer, who says he realizes he is a long-shot to make the Cubs’ roster but hopes his previous experience in pitching well during Spring Training to make a team will pay off.
  • C. Ray Hall of the Courier-Journal profiles the multiple aces of University of Louisville‘s starting rotation.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com profiles Louisville Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt and his fast ascension through the minor leagues.

Friday roundup: WKU moves to 5-0, UofL and UK both lose

Uncategorized

Highlights and recaps from Friday Kentucky college baseball:

  • Western Kentucky University opened the Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with a 11-3 blowout win over Kansas St. WKU junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson, junior second baseman Ivan Hartle and senior third baseman Casey Dykes each slugged home runs in the game. Hartle and junior center fielder Kes Carter both tallied three hits in four at-bats, one RBI and three runs scored. Senior catcher Matt Rice was 3-5 with three RBI, and sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins earned the win after surrendering three runs on five hits in six innings while striking out four and walking two. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville dropped its first game of the season despite outhitting Toledo in a 3-1 loss. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch took the loss despite pitching well. Koch surrendered three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits in six innings while striking out three and walking two. Freshman center fielder Adam Engel and junior second baseman Ryan Wright each tallied two hits in four at bats in the game. Junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self pitched three hitless innings out of the UofL bullpen while striking out two batters. (Box Score)
  • Illinois-Chicago scored eight unanswered runs including four in the ninth inning off University of Kentucky closer Braden Kapteyn to send the Cats to a 10-8 loss in game one of a three-game series. UK entered the top of the ninth with a 8-6 lead, but Kapteyn surrendered four runs with two outs in the frame. The bullpen collapse over-shadowed a strong start from sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers and impressive offensive performance from junior catcher Michael Williams. Rogers surrendered three earned runs in six and two-third innings while striking out six and walking one. Williams was 3-4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored in the game. UK led 8-2 at one point, but UIC began its comeback with three unearned runs off Rogers in the seventh inning. Two of the runs were charged to Rogers after he was pulled from the game. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University‘s series-opening game with Bowling Green St. was rained out Friday and will be made up as part of a double-header beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Morehead State University‘s series-opening game with Purdue was postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up as part of a double-header beginning at noon on Sunday. The Eagles and Boilermakers were already scheduled to play a double-header on Saturday.

Hitter of the day: C Michael Williams (UK)

  • Stats: 3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
  • Honorable Mention: Ivan Hartle (WKU), Kes Carter (WKU), Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Matt Rice (WKU), Taylor Black (UK), Luke Maile (UK)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Tanner Perkins (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Ross Hammonds (WKU), Taylor Rogers (UK), Matt Koch (U0fL), Derek Self (U0fL)

BluGrass Baseball Weekend Schedule: Week Two

College Baseball

BluGrass Baseball graphic

It’s time for the weekend schedule post. Remember we use Baseball America’s top 25 rankings, so none of Kentucky teams or their opponents are ranked this week. Games are listed below with starting pitchers when available and links to live stats.

Western Kentucky University (4-0) — Baseball at the Beach Tournament (S.C.)

  • Friday — vs. Kansas St. — 6:30 p.m. (CT) — LHP Tanner Perkins (1-0, 0.00)
  • Saturday — @ Coastal Carolina — 2:30 p.m. (CT) — RHP Justin Hageman (1-0, 3.60 ERA)
  • Sunday — vs. Pacific — 10 a.m. (CT) — TBA

University of Louisville (3-0) vs. Toledo

  • Friday — 3 p.m. — RHP Matt Koch (1-0, 3.60 ERA) — Gametracker
  • Saturday — 1 p.m. — RHP Justin Amlung (1-0, 0.00 ERA) — Gametracker
  • Sunday — 12 p.m. — RHP Mike Nastold (0-0, o.00 ERA) — Gametracker

University of Kentucky (2-3) vs. Illinois-Chicago

  • Friday — 4 p.m. — LHP Taylor Rogers (0-0, 3.00 ERA) — Gametracker
  • Saturday — 1 p.m. — RHP Alex Meyer (0-0, 1.29 ERA) — Gametracker
  • Sunday — 1 p.m. — RHP Jordan Cooper (0-1, 11.25 ERA) — Gametracker

Eastern Kentucky University (0-3) vs. Penn State

  • Saturday — 11 a.m. — RHP Anthony Bazzani (0-1, 14.73) — Live Stats
  • Saturday — GM 2 (DH) — LHP Kyle McGrath (0-0, 6.75)
  • Sunday — 12 p.m. — RHP Stephen Hefler (0-0, 0.00)

Murray State University (0-4) vs. Bowling Green St.

  • Friday — 2 p.m. (CT) — LHP Luke Shuemaker (0-1, 11.25 ERA) — Live Stats
  • Saturday — 1 p.m. (CT) — LHP Jake Donze (0-0, 1.69 ERA) — Live Stats
  • Sunday — 1 p.m. (CT) — RHP Tyler Beers (0-0, 4.50 ERA) — Live Stats

Morehead State University (0-4) vs. Purdue

  • Saturday — 1 p.m. — RHP Trey Smith (0-1, 3.86 ERA) — Live Stats
  • Saturday — GM 2 (DH) — RHP Josh Schneider (0-1, 18.69 ERA)*
  • Sunday — 12 p.m. — RHP Garrick Whittle (0-0, 1.59 ERA)*
  • Sunday — GM 2 (DH) — RHP Cody Gibson (0-1, 19.64 ERA)*

* — Morehead St.’s starting pitchers are part of the “projected lineup” listed in the Eagles’ game notes and are subject to change.