Offseason position battle: Murray St. starting pitchers

College Baseball

In the fifth Murray State University post of the “offseason position battle series we will look at the vacant weekend starting pitching slots.

The departed — Right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft, a 2010 senior, served as the Murray State ace for each of the last two seasons, being named second-team all-Ohio Valley Conference following the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Craycraft was 6-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, for the Breds in 2010. The Lexington native struck out 72 batters and walked 35 in 92 and two-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitcher Alex Love, a 2010 senior, was 8-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 19 games, including eight starts, for the Breds last season. Love struck out 35 batters and walked 23 in 70 and one-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitchers Marc Harmon and Dan Huff, both 2010 seniors, combined to make 13 starts for Murray St. last season but neither finished the year with an ERA below 8.35.

Returning candidates — Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze made 16 starts for Murray St. in 2010 and finished the season at 6-6 with a 6.02 ERA. Donze struck out 71 batters and walked 56 in 83.2 innings pitched and enters 2011 as the Breds de facto ace…Sophomore right-handed pitchers Joe Major, Will Handlin, and Ben Lady each made one start for Murray St. in 2010. Major was the only returning Murray St. pitcher to finish 2010 with a sub-4.00 ERA, but he logged just 10 innings pitched on the season.

Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Bryan Babin pitched four shutout innings in the decisive game of the Murray St. Fall World Series. Babin, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched as a sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…Junior college transfer Luke Shuemaker, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 4-2 with a 5.15 ERA in 50 and two-third innings pitched for Rend Lake College in 2010…Junior college transfer Mark Roberts, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 55 innings pitched for Lincoln Trail College in 2010…Freshman left-handed pitchers Kyle Cornett and Brock Downey were both named first-team all-state as a seniors by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association…Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch was named first-team all state as a senior in Collierville, Tenn., and pitched eight complete games and two no-hitters in 2010.

Wildcard — The Breds have no shortage of starting pitcher candidates as head coach Rob McDonald brought in nine new pitchers to the 2011 pitching staff. Junior Tyler Beers, a junior college transfer, may be needed to man the vacant first base position for the Breds, but he also logged experience as a right-handed pitcher at Mineral Area college. Beers was 2-7 with a 6.12 ERA as a sophomore, but proved to be an innings eater after striking out 55 in 64 and two-third innings pitched.

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Season Review: Murray State University

College Baseball

In the second season review post we’ll look at Murray State University, which finished 28-28-1. Check out these highlights and awards for Breds’ players:

  • Hitter of the year: 1B Wes Cunningham — Cunningham’s selection should come as no surprise as he was named the BluGrass Baseball state player of the year. The senior first baseman led Murray St. in every major offensive category, batting .408 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI and 77 runs scored. Cunningham had a .476 on-base percentage, slugged .824 and even stole 10 bases on the season. The Ohio Valley Conference player of the year will look to be a mid-to-late round selection in this summer’s draft.
  • Pitcher of the year: RHP Matt McGaha — McGaha started only one game this season for Murray St., and that start didn’t come until the OVC tournament. Despite making 26 relief appearances, McGaha qualified for the state ERA title with 67 innings pitched. The senior left-handed pitcher finished the year at 5-3 with a 3.90 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 13 walks. McGaha also saved three games this season.
  • Season high point: Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love threw 180 pitches in two days to earn wins on back-to-back days in the OVC tournament. Love’s complete-game win in the OVC tournament ended up being his final collegiate appearance.
  • Season low point: With a chance to clinch to OVC regular season title outright, Murray St. was swept in a three game series by second-place Tennessee Tech to finish the season. The Breds entered the OVC tournament at the three seed instead of the one seed after the sweep and lost its first round game to Eastern Kentucky University.
  • Miscellaneous: The Breds received strong performances from freshmen Colton Moore (.328, 39 RBI, 23 R) and Brandon Elliott (.347, 25 RBI, 41 R)…Senior outfielder Bryan Propst was a consistent threat in the Breds’ lineup and slugged 14 home runs and drove in 56 runs…Senior ace Chris Craycraft had an up-and-down season with six wins but a 5.05 ERA. Craycraft pitched two complete games.

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboad: June 1

College Baseball

Check out the pitching leaderboard updated through conference tournament action. Stats are final for every team except UofL, which is still playing in the NCAA tournament. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which makes Murray St. left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha the only eligible full-time reliever. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.91
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.01
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.90
  • Justin Amlung — UofL — 4.01
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 4.31

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 9-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 9-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 8-0
  • Alex Love — Murray St. — 8-1
  • Derek Self — UofL — 7-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 7-5

Strikeouts

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 94
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 90
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 80
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 72
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 71

Innings Pitched

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 99.0
  • Matt Ridings — WKU —92.2
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 92.2
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 87.1
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 83.2

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 16
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 12
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 9
  • Matt Little — UK — 7
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 4

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .218
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .252
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .264
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .270
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — .278

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 33
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 30
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 29
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 27
  • Gabriel Shaw — UofL — 27
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 27

BluGrass Baseball Conference Tournament Awards

College Baseball

Check out the final weekly awards from the Kentucky collegiate baseball season, including a pitching performance that saw one Murray State pitcher throw 180 pitches in two consecutive games.

Hitter of the week: OF Bryan Propst (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 13-22 (.591), 1 HR, 6 2B, 11 RBI, 6 R
  • Honorable mention: Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Logan Robbins (WKU), Ryan Wright (UofL)

Pitcher of the week: RHP Alex Love (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 2-0, 2 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 14 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 180 pitches in two days (his final two collegiate appearances)
  • Honorable Mention: Jake Donze (Murray St.), Anthony Bazzani (EKU), Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Shane Cameron (WKU), Justin Amlung (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL)

Freshman of the week: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Justin Amlung (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL)

BluGrass Baseball Friday Review: Conference Tournaments

College Baseball


The Bluegrass lost another conference tournament team Friday with EKU’s elimination at the hands of in-state rival Murray St. However, both UofL and the Breds remain in their respective tournaments. Check out recaps and awards from Friday’s games below and post-game interviews from Murray St.’s win over EKU above:

  • Murray State University scored four runs in the first inning and didn’t look back in a 10-2 win over Eastern Kentucky University in an Ohio Valley Conference tournament elimination game. The loss ended the Colonels’ season. Murray St. redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze pitched a complete game, allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out seven while walking just two. Four different Breds’ batters tallied two hits in the game. EKU junior left-fielder Bryce Labhart was 3-4 with one RBI. (Box Score)
  • The Breds returned to action at 3 p.m. in a second elimination game and rode another complete game performance from senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love to a 14-4 win over Southeast Missouri. The game was delayed by rain for five hours in the ninth inning. Love had pitched five innings on Thursday as well. Senior left fielder Bryan Propst was 4-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, and senior first baseman Wes Cunningham added three hits an a home run. Love surrendered three earned runs, struck out three and walked two. (Box Score)
  • No 9 University of Louisville blew a late lead but rode a two-run home run from redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames in the top of the 11th inning to a 9-7 win over South Florida in an elimination game in the Big East Conference tournament. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich was 4-6 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung took a no-decision, but allowed just two runs in seven innings. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland recorded his eighth win of the season. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 5-10, 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 1 2B
  • Honorable Mention: Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Bryce Labhart (EKU)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Jake Donze (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Alex Love (Murray St.), Justin Amlung (UofL)

BluGrass Baseball Thursday Review: Conference Tournaments

College Baseball


Check out the video above of EKU interviews following the win over Murray St. and recaps and awards below from a busy day of conference tournament baseball, including what was likely WKU’s final game of the season:

  • In a Ohio Valley Conference tournament first-round game delayed to Thursday due to a power failure Wednesday night, Eastern Kentucky University scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Murray State University 4-3. Freshman right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani earned the win after holding the Breds to three runs on six hits in eight innings. Bazzani struck out 10 and walked four. EKU Sophomore shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 4-5 with a run scored, and sophomore catcher A. J. Jamison drove home the winning run with a pinch-hit double in the ninth. Murray St. senior left fielder Bryan Propst was 2-3 with three RBI in the game, and senior right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft held the Colonels to two runs in seven innings and struck out eight. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University was eliminated from the Sun Belt Conference tournament with a 7-3 loss to Florida International Thursday. The loss likely ended the Hilltoppers’ season as WKU’s hopes for an at-large NCAA tournament bid were dashed. Sophomore outfielder Jared Andreoli and Kes Carter tallied two hits each in the game, and sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins drove in two runs. Senior right-handed pitcher Shane Cameron took a no decision after allowing three runs in six and one-third innings in his final start. WKU senior ace Matt Ridings did not pitch in the tournament after leaving his final regular season start with an apparent injury. (Box Score)
  • Following a short-turnaround from its game-one loss Murray St. scored six runs in the first inning and held off a late rally for a 13-9 win over Southeast Missouri in ten innings. Senior second baseman Kyle Tiernan put the Breds ahead with a solo home run in the tenth inning, and senior first baseman Wes Cunningham extended the lead with his own three-run shot, giving him the school career RBI record. Propst tallied four hits, three RBI and two runs scored, and senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love allowed one run over the final five innings for the win. (Box Score)
  • No. 9 University of Louisville lost its first game in the Big East Conference tournament with a 6-5 decision to St. Johns Thursday night. The loss could hurt UofL’s chances at one of the eight national NCAA tournament seeds, and the Cards could use a victory Friday to wrap up that honor. Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Koch allowed just two earned runs in six and two-third innings, but the Cards bullpen behind senior left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer blew the lead. Sophomore shortstop Ryan Wright was 4-4 with two RBI and one run scored in the game. (Box Score)
  • In its second game of the day, EKU couldn’t finish a late rally against OVC tournament one-seed Tennessee Tech and lost 7-4. Sophomore second baseman Dunstin Dunlop was 2-2 with two runs scored and two walks, but the Colonels couldn’t over come a poor pitching performance from junior left-handed pitcher Paul Duncan who surrendered seven runs in six and one-third innings. Murray St. and EKU will face off for the second time in the tournament with an elimination game at 11 a.m. (CT) Friday. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: OF Bryan Propst (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 6-8, 5 RBI, 3 R, 5 2Bs
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (UofL), Logan Robbins (WKU), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Matt Koch (UofL), Shane Cameron (WKU), Alex Love (Murray St.)

BluGrass Baseball Saturday Review: Week 14

College Baseball

Recaps and awards from the final Kentucky college regular season slate of baseball:

  • For the full recap of No. 11 University of Louisville‘s Big East regular season championship-clinching double-header sweep of Notre Dame click here.
  • The University of Kentucky avoided a series-sweep to last-place Georgia, but likely ended its season with a 14-11 victory Sunday. Redshirt Senior first baseman Gunner Glad launched a three-run, ninth inning home run in what was likely his last collegiate at-bat to give UK the win. Freshman outfielder Brian Adams finished the season on a hot streak with a 4-5 performance with his first collegiate home run, six RBI and three runs scored in the finale. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Nick Kennedy earned the win after allowing one run in two innings. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University gained some much-needed momentum heading into the Sun Belt Conference tournament with a 15-5 win over Middle Tennessee Saturday. The win gave WKU its first series since April 25. The game was called after six and one-half innings due to the 10-run rule for the final game of a Sun Belt series. Freshman designated hitter Ryan Huck was 2-3 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored. Redshirt sophomore right-handed reliever Ross Hammonds earned the victory with three scoreless innings. WKU will face top-seeded Florida Atlantic in game one of the Sun Belt tournament Wednesday. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University ended its season on a sour note with an 11-1 blowout loss to Tennessee Tech. The Breds will enter the OVC tournament as the three seed and will face EKU in game one Wednesday. Murray St. tallied just three hits in the game, and senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love surrendered six runs in three innings to take the loss. (Box Score)
  • Junior Jayson Langfels launched two home runs to send Eastern Kentucky University to a 8-7 win on senior night and a series sweep of SIU Edwardsville. Langfels was 2-5 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored. Junior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler earned the victory after allowing five runs in seven innings. EKU will enter the OVC tournament as the six seed and faces Murray St. in game one Wednesday. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University ended its season with a 21-10 loss to Jacksonville State on senior night. The loss was the final collegiate game for seniors Drew LeeJ.D. AshbrookMichael BottomsMichael FahsQuentin Morgan and Hunter Hewitt. Ashbrook ended his collegiate career with a 4-6 performance with two RBI and one run scored. Sophomore third baseman Andrew Deeds was 3-5 with a home run, six RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: LF Brian Adams (UK)

  • Stats: 4-5, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 1 3B
  • Honorable Mention: Adam Duvall (UofL), Ryan Huck (WKU), Jayson Langfels (EKU), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Koch (UofL), Ross Hamonds (WKU), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

BluGrass Baseball Weekend Schedule: Week 14

Uncategorized

The final weekend of the season starts early this week. Check out the schedule below for everything you need to know about week 14 Kentucky action:

University of Louisville (11) @ Notre Dame

  • Thursday — 6:05 p.m. — RHP Thomas Royse (9-1, 2.61) — Gametracker
  • Friday — 6:05 p.m. — RHP Matthew Koch (2-0, 3.71) — Gametracker
  • Saturday — 1:05 p.m. — TBA — Gametracker

University of Kentucky @ Georgia

  • Thursday — 6:30 p.m. — RHP Alex Meyer (5-2, 6.47) — Live Stats
  • Friday — 6:30 p.m. — RHP Jordan Cooper (4-4, 5.11) — Live Stats
  • Saturday — 2: 00 p.m. — LHP Taylor Rogers (4-7, 6.27) — Live Stats

Western Kentucky University vs. Middle Tennessee St.

  • Thursday — 6 p.m. (CT) — RHP Matt Ridings (9-1, 3.16) — Live Stats
  • Friday — 6 p.m. (CT) — TBA — Live Stats
  • Saturday — 6 p.m. (CT) — TBA — Live Stats

Murray State University @ Tennessee Tech.

  • Friday — 1 p.m. (CT) — RHP Chris Craycraft (6-3, 4.48)
  • Friday — GM 2 (DH) — LHP Jake Donze (5-5, 6.11)
  • Saturday — 1 p.m. (CT) — RHP Alex Love (6-0, 5.74)

Eastern Kentucky University vs. SIU Edwardsville

  • Friday — 1 p.m. — LHP Paul Duncan (4-4, 6.90) — Live Stats
  • Friday — GM 2 (DH) — RHP Anthony Bazzani (3-3, 6.02)
  • Saturday — 1 p.m. — RHP Stephen Hefler (3-5, 8.12)

Morehead State University vs. Jacksonville St.

  • Friday — 1 p.m. — RHP Michael Bottoms (4-4, 6.85) — Live Stats
  • Friday — GM 2 (DH) — RHP Matthew Robertson (1-4, 8.32)
  • Saturday — 1 p.m. — TBA

BluGrass Baseball Sunday Review: Week 12

College Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

Recaps and awards from an Sunday of baseball, heavy on postseason implications:

  • No. 9 University of Louisville scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 10-3 win over Georgetown to secure the series victory. Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung held the Hoyas scoreless over six innings for his third win of the season. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich slugged his 19th home run of the season, and redshirt sophomore right fielder Stewart Ijames was 3-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University may have played its way back onto the NCAA tournament bubble with a 4-2 loss to Arkansas Little Rock Sunday, securing a home series loss for the Hilltoppers. Junior catcher Matt Rice was 3-4 with one RBI in the game, and sophomore left fielder Jared Andreoli tallied two hits. Freshman Taylor Haydel took the loss in relief. The loss dropped WKU into a tie for fifth place in the Sun Belt Conference. (Box Score)
  • Sophomore right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer was outstanding in his return from mono, leading the University of Kentucky to a 9-3 win over No. 6 South Carolina and a must-have series victory in its push for the Southeastern Conference tournament. Meyer allowed just three unearned runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out six and walking three. Sophomore Braden Kapteyn pitched the final two innings for his second save of the season. Redshirt junior right fielder Neiko Johnson was 1-1 with two walks, one run scored and three stolen bases in the game. (Box Score)
  • Senior first baseman Wes Cunningham set or tied three Murray State University records in the Breds’ 18-5 win over Eastern Kentucky University to finish the series sweep. Cunningham was 2-4 with a double, triple, six RBI and two runs scored in the game and tied the school single-season hits record (81) while setting the new single-season RBI record (72) and career triples record (18).  Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love earned the win after allowing four runs in five and two-third innings. Seven Breds’ batters tallied two hits in the game, and three drove in at least three runs. EKU junior left fielder Bryce Labhart tallied three hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University avoided a series sweep with a 10-9, come-from-behind win over UT Martin. UT Martin jumped out to a 8-1 lead in the fourth inning, but the Eagles scored nine times over the next four innings to take back the lead. Junior left fielder Daniel Pugh drove in three runs and three different Eagles scored twice in the game. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider recorded his team-high seventh win of the season after holding UT Martin scoreless over the final four innings. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Neiko Johnson (UK), Matt Rice (WKU), Colton Moore (Murray St.), Kyle Tiernan (Murray St.), Bryce Labhart (EKU), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.), Daniel Pugh (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO
  • Honorble Mention: Justin Amlung (UofL), Alex Love (Murray St.), Josh Schneider (Morehead St.), Braden Kapteyn (UK)

BluGrass Baseball Week 12 Weekend Schedule

College Baseball

Check out the weekend schedule for week 12 below as Murray State and EKU face off in a in-state series for Ohio Valley Conference positioning. UofL and WKU will try to cement their NCAA tournament seedings while UK will try to salvage its season against Southeastern Conference leader South Carolina.

University of Louisville (9) @ Georgetown

Western Kentucky University vs. UALR

  • Friday — 6 p.m. (CT) — RHP Matt Ridings (8-1, 3.59) — Live Stats
  • Saturday –3 p.m. (CT) — RHP Shane Cameron (4-1, 4.80) — Live Stats
  • Sunday — 1 p.m. (CT) — RHP Brian Edelen (4-1, 3.66) — Live Stats

University of Kentucky vs. South Carolina (6)

  • Friday — 7 p.m. — LHP Taylor Rogers (4-6, 5.63) — Gametracker
  • Saturday — 7 p.m. — RHP Jordan Cooper (2-4, 5.70) — Gametracker
  • Sunday — 1 p.m. — RHP Alex Meyer (4-2, 7.30) — Gametracker

Murray State University vs. Eastern Kentucky University

  • Saturday — 2 p.m. — RHP Chris Craycraft (5-3, 4.81) vs. LHP Paul Duncan (4-2, 6.62) — Live Stats
  • Saturday — GM 2 (DH) — LHP Jake Donze (5-5, 6.22) vs. LHP Greg Terry (3-2, 5.40) — Live Stats
  • Sunday — 2 p.m. — RHP Alex Love (5-0, 5.91) vs. RHP Stephen Hefler (3-3, 8.03) — Live Stats

Morehead State University vs. UT Martin

  • Saturday — 1 p.m. — RHP Michael Bottoms (4-3, 6.75) — Live Stats
  • Saturday — GM 2 (DH) — RHP Matthew Robertson (1-3, 9.89)
  • Sunday — 1 p.m. — RHP Jeff Arnold (4-1, 8.43)