Recaps and highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:
- Eastern Kentucky University scored a run in the bottom of the 11th inning on a wild pitch to earn a 5-4 win over Western Kentucky University. EKU freshman infielder Alex Arovits, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, scored the tying and winning runs. EKU sophomore right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani earned his first win of the season after posting a scoreless inning of relief. WKU junior right-handed pitcher Phil Wetherell took the loss after surrendering one run on one hit in two and one-third innings. EKU freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 2-5 with one double, one RBI and one run scored. WKU junior center fielder Kes Carter was 3-4 with one walk, one RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
- The University of Louisville surrendered six runs in the third inning in a 6-2 loss to Eastern Michigan. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold took the loss after surrendering six unearned runs on eight hits in three innings. Junior shortstop Ryan Wright was 3-4 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored. Senior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw surrendered two hits in four scoreless innings of relief. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: OF Kes Carter (WKU)
- Stats: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 R
- Honorable Mention: Scott Wilcox (WKU), Matt Rice (WKU), Ryan Wright (UofL), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Alex Arovits (EKU)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Gabriel Shaw (UofL)
- Stats: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
- Honorable Mention: Rye Davis (WKU), Greg Terry (EKU)
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)
We continue our second lap in the “offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant Eastern Kentucky University first base position.
The departed — Senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando batted .335 with 17 home runs, 67 RBI and 47 runs score while starting 54 games for EKU in 2010. Ottrando led the team in home runs, RBI and doubles (15). For good measure he added 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. Ottrando made seven erros on the season while posting a .986 fielding percentage. The slugger was honored as the second team All-OVC first baseman following the 2010 season. Ottrando started all but one game at first for EKU in 2010 with the other start going to freshman Kyle England, who is not listed on the current EKU roster. In August Ed Richter of the Middletown Journal in Ohio reported England and one other man had been indicted on charges of sexual battery after a 16-year-old girl accused them of assaulting her during a party at England’s home.
Returning candidates — The only returning Colonel to appear in a game at first base in 2010 is junior Dustin Dunlop who played one game at the position. Dunlop spent most his time playing second base for the Colonels in 2010 and also appeared at third base during his freshman and sophomore years…Junior Jacob Daniel has served as the EKU designated hitter for the last two seasons but could conceivably move to first base if needed…Sophomore infielder Alex Hughes didn’t appear in a game during 2010 for EKU but at 6-4 he has the size to fill in at first base.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman infielder Mitch Durbin signed with EKU as a corner infielder and left-handed power bat. In Nov. 2009 EKU head coach Jason Stein said “Following graduation and the draft of 2010, we will probably have two immediate needs and, as a left-handed bat with power and a corner infielder, Mitch fills both of them.”…At 6-2 and 6-0 respectively freshman infielders Alex Arovits and Dillon Pelfrey both also could fill in at first base.
Wildcard — The only wildcard in the EKU first base battle appears to be a position change from one of the catchers or outfielders. Senior outfielder Bryce Labhart is listed as an OF/INF on the roster but played left field primarily in 2010 and came to EKU from Onley Central Junior College as a second baseman/outfielder. Sophomore outfielders Michael Buschmann and Jeff Emerich are likely reserves. Juniors A. J. Jamison and Brian Shrimpton are the returning catchers on the roster.
The offseason position battle series moves to Richmond today with a look at Eastern Kentucky University‘s vacant third base position:
The departed: Junior third baseman Jayson Langfels started ever game at third base for EKU in 2010 and batted .353 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI and 61 runs scored. Langfels has since moved on to professional baseball as the 16th round pick of the Colorado Rockies. Langfels’ 61 runs scored and .696 slugging percentage led the team and his 18 career triples are a Ohio Valley Conference record.
Returning candidates: Rising junior infielder Dustin Dunlop was the only other Colonel to appear in a game at third base in 2010 after pinch running for Langfels against the University of the Cumberlands. Dunlop spent most of his time at second base in 2010 but did play some third base as a freshman in 2009. Rising senior Bryce Labhart, rising sophomore Alex Hughes, rising junior Richie Rodriguez and rising sophomore Matt Phipps are the other returning infielders on the roster. Rodriguez and Phipps ended 2010 as the starting shortstop and second baseman respectively.
Newcomers to watch: Incoming freshmen infielders Bryan Solomon, Alex Arovits and Mitch Durbin each boasted strong performances during the EKU fall World Series. When Solomon signed with the Colonels head coach Jason Stein called him “a complete third baseman” who could hit for average and power while playing great defense with a “great arm.” Solomon may also pitch for the Colonels.
Wildcard: The candidates for EKU’s vacant infield positions appear to be fairly straight forward, so don’t look for any surprises. Head coach Jason Stein could conceivably move one of the team’s surplus outfielders to the infield or rearrange incumbents Rodriguez, Phipps and Dunlop.