Meyer, Deeds and Hageman win week 12 NCAA awards

College Baseball

Alex Meyer pitches versus Vanderbilt; BluGrass Baseball photo

It’s time for the weekly BluGrass Baseball college awards. Check out the best hitting, pitching and freshman performances below:

Hitter of the week: INF/OF Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 8-14 (.571), 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2 BBs, 1 SB
  • Honorable Mention: Kes Carter (WKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Adam Engel (UofL), Thomas McCarthy (UK), Dustin Dunlop (EKU), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the week: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)
  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Hageman (WKU), Brian Edelen (WKU), Justin Amlung (UofL), Derek Self (UofL), Chad Green (UofL), Travis Tingle (UofL), Jordan Cooper (UK), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Greg Terry (EKU), Bryan Babin (Murray St.), Matthew Robertson (Morehead St.)
Freshman of the week: RHP Justin Hageman (WKU)
  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jordan Cessna (WKU), Adam Engel (UofL), Chad Green (UofL), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Tyler Saltsman (Murray St.), Bud Morton (Morehead St.)

BluGrass Baseball NCAA Week 12 preview

College Baseball

Justin Riddell; BluGrass Baseball photo

Series of the week: Western Kentucky University vs. Florida Atlantic

Western Kentucky University (27-18, 12-9) welcomes Florida Atlantic to Bowling Green this weekend. The Hilltoppers sit in fifth place in the conference but are just three games out of first place. Florida Atlantic and two other teams are tied in second place, one game ahead of WKU. WKU has lost five of its last seven games but still has a chance to play its way into a NCAA tournament at-large bid. The marquee mound matchup of the series will likely come on Saturday when WKU freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman (7-4, 3.42 ERA) takes on Florida Atlantic junior right-handed pitcher Paul Davis (8-1, 2.72 ERA).

Player to watch: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)

The best pitching matchup in the nation this weekend will likely be in Lexington Friday night when University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitch Alex Meyer takes on Vanderbilt junior right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray. Both pitchers are likely to be first-round picks in the June MLB draft. Meyer has been one of the few bright spots for UK this season and is 4-5 with a 3.32 ERA on the year. Meyer and Gray rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts with 91 and 86 respectively. Gray leads the league in wins, ranks second in opponents’ batting average and fifth in ERA. Meyer ranks third in the conference in innings pitched.

Stat of the week: Crazy UofL Friday night game

This week’s stat is technically from week 12 baseball, but we couldn’t pass up the chance to note some more odd stats from the University of Louisville‘s 1-0, 18-inning loss to Seton Hall Thursday night. The two teams played the equivalent of just under two complete games of scoreless baseball. UofL junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self and Seton Hall pitcher Joe Dirocco each pitched at least nine scoreless innings but didn’t get a complete game or a win. Cards’ batters not named Adam Engel combined to go 1-47 in the game. Two different UofL pitchers for each team lasted long enough to qualify for a win if they were making a start. Five different batters in the game failed to record a hit in at least six at-bats.

Out-of-state Ky. collegian to watch: OF Justin Riddell (Cincinnati)

Lexington Catholic alum Justin Riddell will attempt to lead Cincinnati to what could amount to a Big East Tournament berth clinching series win versus West Virginia this weekend. Cincinnati is currently seventh in the conference but is 2.5 games up in the race for the eighth and final tournament berth. Riddell has been the best former Kentucky high school batter playing outside the state this season. He is batting .342 with six home runs, 50 RBIs and 20 runs scored on the season. His six home runs, 50 RBIs and .544 slugging percentage lead Bearcats’ hitters.

UofL losses marathon pitchers’ duel; Green sent to AAA

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Austin Kearns; Photo by Scott Ableman via Flickr

Highlights from Thursday’s lone Kentucky college baseball game as well as the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • After playing the equivalent of almost two complete scoreless games, the University of Louisville surrendered one run in the bottom of the 18th inning to suffer a 1-0 loss to Seton Hall. Freshman right-handed pitcher Jeff Thompson took the loss after surrendering one unearned run on two hits in two and one-third innings. Freshman center fielder Adam Engel was 3-7 in the game, while the rest of the UofL offense was just 1-49. Junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self accomplished the rare feat of pitching over nine innings but not being credited with a complete game. Self surrendered seven hits in nine and one-third innings while striking out two batters and walking none. Freshman right-handed pitcher Chad Green pitched five and two-third innings of relief. (Box Score)
  • Guy Curtright of reports the Milwaukee Brewers have optioned Louisville native and former UofL right-handed pitcher Sean Green to AAA Nashville.
  • Jonathan Kleppinger of the Jessamine Journal reports the lawyers for Lexington native and Cleveland Indians outfielder Austin Kearns filed a motion in Jessamine County to dismiss the drunk-driving charges against Kearns resulting from his Feb. 12 arrest because the Lexington police officer who pulled him over was out of his jurisdiction.
  • Richard Durrett of reports the Texas Rangers scratched Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb from his scheduled Thursday start in extended spring training, option to have the former Cy Young award winner work on his mechanics during a bullpen session instead.

NCAA roundup: Murray St. splits double-header; UofL loses

College Baseball

Ryan Wright; BluGrass Baseball photo

Recaps and highlights from Tuesday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • The University of Louisville put the tying run on third base in the ninth inning but could not finish its comeback in a 4-3 loss to Eastern Michigan. Freshman right-handed pitcher Cole Sturgeon took the loss after surrendering three runs on three hits in two innings while striking out three batters and walking none. Junior shortstop Ryan Wright was 2-5 with one home run, two RBI and one run scored, and senior catcher J. J. Ethel was 3-4 with one RBI. Junior right-handed pitcher Travis Tingle made the start for UofL and surrendered four hits in five shutout innings while striking out three batters and walking none. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University rode an outstanding start from Junior left-handed pitcher Bryan Babin to a 7-0 win over Belmont. Babin improved to 3-2 win after surrendering five hits in six shutout innings while striking out two batters and walking two. Junior first baseman Cody Larson was 2-3 with three RBI and one walk, and senior center fielder Elliot Frey was 2-3 with two RBI and one walk. Junior second baseman Travis Isaak scored two runs in the game. (Box Score)
  • In game two of its double-header Belmont turned the table on Murray St. with a 3-0 shutout win of its own. Senior left-handed pitcher Derek Hayden took the loss after surrendering three runs on three hits in two and one-third innings. Murray St. tallied just five hits in the game with two of them going to senior right fielder Zach Noonan. Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch kept the Breds in the game with three scoreless innings of relief. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: SS Ryan Wright (UofL)
  • Stats: 2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R
  • Honorable Mention: J. J. Ethel (UofL), Adam Engel (UofL), Cody Larson (Murray St.)
Pitcher of the day: LHP Bryan Babin (Murray St.)
  • Stats: 1-0, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Travis Tingle (UofL), Cameron Finch (Murray St.)

UofL surrenders just four hits in 3-1 win over WKU

College Baseball

The University of Louisville scored single runs in the seventh an eighth innings to break open a 1-1 tie en route to a 3-1 win over Western Kentucky University. UofL took the lead in the seventh inning when freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden singled home freshman pinch runner Adam Engel. The Cards added an insurance run in the eighth inning when freshman center fielder Cole Sturgeon scored on a sacrifice fly from junior second baseman Ryan Wright. UofL junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self earned the win after pitching one and one-third scoreless innings, and junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych earned his seventh save after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

WKU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when sophomore first baseman Ryan Huck singled home junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson. WKU Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel took the loss after surrendering two runs in two innings of relief. Junior right-handed pitcher Phil Wetherell surrendered one run on two hits in four innings while striking out five batters and walking none in his first start of the season. WKU junior left fielder Jared Andreoli was the only Hilltopper with multiple hits and finished the game 2-5. UofL freshman third baseman Ty Young was 2-4 with a run scored, and Chittenden was 2-3 with one RBI. (Box Score)

Player of the game: RHP Jeff Thompson (UofL) — 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO

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


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)

Opening Weekend Review: University of Louisville

College Baseball

As the first weekend of the Kentucky college baseball season wraps up we’ll breakdown each of the six Kentucky Division I team’s opening weekend. We’ll start with the first team to finish its weekend schedule: The University of Louisville.

  • Pitching dominates: The Cards finished the weekend with a Big East/Big Ten Challenge-record 23 consecutive scoreless innings after shutouts on Saturday and Sunday. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was outstanding Saturday, striking out four and allowing just four hits in seven and two-third scoreless innings. On Sunday four UofL pitchers, Mike Nastold, Chad Green, Jeff Gardner and Gabriel Shaw, combined on a three-hit shutout of Big Ten-favorite Minnesota. Juniors Derek Self and Tony Zych held Michigan scoreless over the last five innings in UofL’s friday game, meaning the only UofL pitcher to surrender a run on the weekend was sophomore Matt Koch, who surrendered three runs in five innings pitched.
  • Zych proves his worth: UofL preseason All-American closer Tony Zych saved each of the Cards’ first two wins with scoreless ninth innings. Zych struck out four batters and just surrendered two hits in two innings of work. With Zych unavailable out of UofL bullpen on Tuesday, senior right-handed reliever Gabriel Shaw pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save of the season. If Zych and Shaw keep up their pitching performances from the first weekend they should present the Cards with one of the best bullpen combos in the country.
  • Freshmen contribute in debuts: At the plate six UofL freshmen combined to go 6-37 (.161.) during the Big East/Big Ten Challenge, but if you remove the stats of freshman center fielder Adam Engel and shortstop Alex Chittenden the other four freshmen combined to go 5-17 (.294) with two runs scored and three RBI. Freshmen Ryan Seiz, Ty Young, Cole Sturgeon and Kyle Gibson each tallied at least one hit in the series. On the mound freshmen reliever Chad Green and Jeff Thompson combined to throw five scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks.

UofL opens season with 6-3 win over Michigan

College Baseball

The University of Louisville opened its quest for a third-straight Big East Conference championship on the right foot with a 6-3 win over Michigan in the 2011 season opener. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch earned the win after surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits in five innings pitched. Koch struck out a career-high eight batters and walked just one. Junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self pitched three scoreless innings out of the pen, and junior preseason All-American Tony Zych pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save of the season.

At the plate senior right fielder Drew Haynes was 3-3 with one RBI and two runs scored. Junior second baseman Ryan Wright, a preseason All-American, was 2-4 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored. Sophomore first baseman Zak Wasserman and senior catcher J. J. Ethel were each 2-4 in the game. The Cards started three freshmen: center fielder Adam Engel, designated hitter Ryan Seiz and shortstop Alex Chittenden. Both Engel and Seiz tallied hits in their collegiate debuts. Freshman left fielder Cole Sturgeon also recorded his first collegiate hit in a pinch-hitting appearance. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball player of the game: Drew Haynes — 3-3, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B

BluGrass Baseball preseason all-newcomer team


Over the past few weeks BluGrass Baseball has been counting down the top 2011 returning Kentucky collegians. Freshmen and junior-college transfers were excluded from that list, but don’t worry the newcomers are about to get their due. Check out the preseason all-newcomer team below. The team is focused on players who are projected to receive major playing time for their respective schools.

CatcherSean HagenEastern Kentucky University

Hagen is projected to start at catcher for the Colonels. After Hagen signed with EKU out of high school, Colonels head coach Jason Stein said, “Sean will fill an immediate need at catcher following the graduation of 2010. He is a complete catcher who can catch, throw and block. But he is also a very offensive-minded player, as well.”

Honorable mention: Murray St. junior-college transfer Jacob Rhodes figures to be a mainstay in the Breds’ lineup at either catcher or designated hitter.

First Base — Tyler Beers — Murray State University

There is no clear first base candidate among the 2011 Kentucky newcomers, Beers may start for the Breds so he takes this spot almost by default. Beers batted .300 with five home runs and 25 RBI as a sophomore at Mineral Area College.

Honorable mention: UK head coach Gary Henderson said freshman infielder J. T. Riddle could see time at first base if carries his strong spring offensive performance over to the season.

Second Base — Matt Reida — University of Kentucky

Henderson hasn’t officially named a starter at second base for the Cats, but all signs point to Reida as the likely winner of that position battle. Reida may struggle with the bat early on, but as a plus defender he figures to get plenty of playing time at the position.

Honorable mention: Murray St. junior-college transfer Travis Isaak batted .420 with eight home runs and 19 doubles as a sophomore at Lincoln Trail Community College.

Shortstop — Alex Chittenden — University of Louisville

On Monday UofL head coach Dan McDonnell announced Chittenden would start at shortstop for the Cards. Chittenden batted .588 with eight home runs and 19 stolen bases as a senior in high school.

Honorable mention: Morehead St. freshman infielder Bud Morton may not start for the Eagles to begin the season, but he adds an excitement factor to the lineup the Eagles could use.

Third base — Thomas McCarthy — University of Kentucky

McCarthy comes to UK after batting over .400 for two seasons in junior-college baseball. UK head coach Gary Henderson doesn’t predict that for his third baseman this season, but Henderson said “he’s going to be able to get a hit.”

Honorable mention: EKU freshman infielder Bryan Soloman, who head coach Jason Stein called “a complete third baseman,” is projected to start for the Colonels.

Outfield — Ryan Hutchinson — Western Kentucky University

Baseball America recently ranked Hutchinson, who was an all-American at 2010 NJCAA World Series champion Iowa Western Community College, the No. 3 newcomer in the Sun Belt Conference. WKU head coach Chris Finwood expects Hutchinson to provide a middle-of-the-order power presence for the Hilltoppers this season.

Outfield — Lucas Witt — University of Kentucky

In an interview with College Baseball Daily, UK head coach Gary Henderson singled Witt out as a the freshmen outfielder who was making the best case to start in right field. Witt may not be the full-time starter to begin the season, but he figures to see plenty of playing time in 2010.

Outfield — Paul Ritzheimer — Murray State University

Ritzheimer batted .405 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a freshman at Kaskaskia College in 2010, and he should push for playing time in the Murray State outfield this season.

Honorable Mention — UK freshman infielder and outfielder Dallen Reber probably has the most power on the UK roster and will likely push for playing time in right field for the Cats.

Designated hitter — Ivan Hartle — Western Kentucky Unviersity

Junior-college trasnfer Ivan Hartle will start at second base for WKU this season and only is included at DH here to get him into the starting lineup. Hartle was named the NJCAA Division I defensive player of the year in 2010 while playing for the NJCAA World Series champion, Iowa Western Community College.

Honorable mention — UofL freshmen infielder Adam Engel will start for the Cards at designated hitter to begin the season.

Starting pitcher — Corey Littrell — University of Kentucky

Freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell will be UK’s primary midweek starting pitcher to begin the season and stands to be the first option on the weekend in the event of injury or poor performance by one of UK’s top three starters. Littrell was all-state as a senior at Trinity High School and was the 43rd-round pick of the Nationals in 2010.

Starting pitcher — Justin Hageman — Western Kentucky University

WKU head coach Chris Finwood says freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman, the 2010 32nd round pick of the Royals, has as much talent as any pitcher he saw on a Friday night during his time in the Southeastern Conference, but it remains to be seen what Hageman’s role will be with the Hilltoppers. He figures to begin the season as a midweek starting pitcher, but will move to the weekend rotation if he proves himself in that role.

Starting pitcher — Kyle McGrath — Eastern Kentucky University

Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath figures to begin the season as a midweek starting pitcher for the Colonels, but you have to figure he will be given every shot to carve out a more substantial role with the team considering the Colonels’ poor pitching performance in 2010. McGrath was all-state at Butler High School.

Honorable mention — Due to the overall depth of UofL’s pitching staff, freshman right-handed pitcher Dace Kime may not start for the Cards this season but as the highest-drafted player attending a Kentucky college this season he figures to push for playing time in some role.

University of Louisville Media Day Roundup

College Baseball

The University of Louisville baseball team hosted its annual media day on Monday. Check out some newsworthy notes I pulled from head coach Dan McDonnell’s audio, which UofL was nice enough to post on its website, and stories from the River City media:

  • McDonnell noted despite the massive turnover on his roster from last season the goals remain the same: win the Big East Conference, make the NCAA tournament, host a NCAA regional, make it to Omaha and win a College World Series.
  • McDonnell confirmed the weekend rotation we projected a couple of weeks ago. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch will start on Fridays, redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung will start on Saturdays and redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold will start on Sundays. At least early in the season Nastold’s innings will be limited as he returns from injury.
  • Freshmen infielders Alex Chittenden and Adam Engel will start for the Cards, most likely at shortstop and designated hitter respectively. McDonnell said freshmen Ty Young, Ryan Seiz, Kyle Gibson and Jeff Gardner will also push for playing time.
  • McDonnell said if Chittenden did not work out at shortstop, he would move All-American Ryan Wright from second back to shortstop and play Young at second base.
  • Wright is an “RBI mongrel,” McDonnell said, noting he didn’t think another player in America had 146 RBI in his first two college seasons.
  • Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich writes big league teams are starting to take notice of Wright after his outstanding first two years on campus.
  • C. L. Brown of the Courier-Journal reports UofL is looking to build on its recent history of success.
  • You can listen to the audio of McDonnell’s news conference via UofL Sports here.