Rice, Amlung, Hageman receive Week 1 college awards

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Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

In our first weekly awards post of the 2011 season we will look at the best performances from the college opening weekend:

BluGrass Baseball Hitter of the Week: C Matt Rice (WKU)

  • Stats: 7-13 (.538), 1 2B, 7 RBI, 3 R
  • Honorable Mention: Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Drew Haynes (UofL), Cade Stallings (UofL)

BluGrass Baseball Pitcher of the Week: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Tanner Perkins (WKU), Jeremy Dobbs (Austin Peay, Daviess Co. HS), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Chad Green (UofL), Derek Self (UofL), Mike Nastold (UofL), Alex Meyer (UK), Taylor Rogers (UK), Garrick Whittle (Morehead St.)

BluGrass Baseball Freshman of the Week: RHP Justin Hageman (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Bryan Soloman (EKU), Sean Hagen (EKU), Brice Smallwood (Morehead St.), Ty Young (UofL)
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    Saturday NCAA Roundup: UofL, WKU win; EKU suspended

    College Baseball

    Justin Amlung; UofL photo

    Recaps from day two of the Kentucky college baseball season:

    • University of Louisville redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was nearly unhittable in leading the Cards to a 2-0 win over Ohio State in game two of the Big East/Big Ten Challenge. Amlung allowed just four hits in seven and two-third shutout innings while striking out four and walking one to earn the win. Junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych allowed the potential tying run to reach base in the ninth but finished the game without allowing a run to record his second save in two games. Junior second baseman Ryan Wright and sophomore third baseman Cade Stallings tallied the two RBI for UofL in the game. (Box Score)
    • Bowling Green St. intentionally walked two batters to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Western Kentucky University senior catcher Matt Rice made them pay with a game-winning RBI single in the Hilltoppers’ 8-7 win. The Hilltoppers led 7-5 entering the ninth inning but redshirt junior closer Rye Davis surrendered two runs in a blown save. Junior left fielder Jared Andreoli led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. BGSU then intentionally walked junior outfielders Kes Carter and Ryan Hutchinson, setting up the Rice game-winning hit. Hutchinson was 2-3 with one RBI and two runs scored in the game, and Andreoli tallied three hits in four at-bats. (Box Score)
    • The University of Kentucky surrendered four unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth inning after a throwing error from redshirt senior second baseman Neiko Johnson prolonged the inning in a 6-4 loss to Marshall. The loss dropped UK to 0-2 for the first time since 1999. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott took the loss after surrendering four unearned runs in two innings. UK scored twice and brought the tying run to the plate with no outs in the top of the ninth inning but the rally fell just short. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers pitched will in his first start of the season, surrendering two runs on seven hits in seven innings while striking out seven and walking none. Junior first baseman Braden Kapteyn was 2-4 with two runs scored in the game. (Box Score)
    • Eastern Kentucky University‘s game with Pepperdine was postponed due to inclement weather with the Colonels up 8-7 and a man on third base with one out in the ninth inning. EKU junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 4-4 with two RBI and a run scored, and junior designated hitter Jacob Daniel was 1-2 with a home run, four RBI and one run scored. EKU senior closer Ryne Purcell was on the mound when the game was postponed. The game will be resumed at 2 p.m. on Sunday. (Live Stats)
    • Murray State University never overcame a five-run first inning from UNC Asheville in a 15-5 loss in game two of a three-game series. Junior-college transfer and Murray St. starting pitcher Luke Shuemaker settled down after the first inning but still took the loss after surrendering five runs on nine hits in four innings pitched. At the plate the Breds were led by senior left fielder Drew Pixley, who was 2-4 with a run scored. (Box Score)
    • Nothing went right for Morehead State University in its second game of the 2011 season as the Eagles tallied just five hits and were blown out 18-0 after an abysmal pitching performance. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider took the loss after surrendering six runs on six hits in three innings pitched. Freshman left-handed pitcher Noah Smallwood struggled in his collegiate debut, giving up six runs on six hits in just one inning of work. One of the few bright spots for the Eagles came from freshman left-handed pitcher Brice Smallwood, who struck out the side in a scoreless inning in his collegiate debut. (Box Score)

    Hitter of the day: Richie Rodriguez (EKU)

    • Stats: 4-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB
    • Honorable Mention: Jacob Daniel (EKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Ryan Huck (WKU), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Drew Pixley (Murray St.)

    Pitcher of the day: Justin Amlung (UofL)

    • Stats: 1-0, 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO
    • Honorable Mention: Taylor Rogers (UK), Matt Harris (EKU), Brice Smallwood (Morehead St.), Ross Hammonds (WKU)

    Offseason position battle: Morehead St. starting pitchers

    College Baseball

    In the final post of the third lap in the “offseason position battle series” we will look at the vacant Morehead State University weekend starting pitcher positions.

    The departed — Morehead St. lost the closest thing it had to an ace in 2010 to graduation in the form of right-handed pitcher and first baseman Michael Bottoms. The two-way player led Morehead St. with 12 starts on the season and finished the season at 4-4 with a 6.57 ERA and 40 strikeouts to go with 28 walks in 74 innings pitched. Bottoms continued his career after graduation by pitching in the South Australian Baseball League…Right-handed pitcher Quentin Morgan, a 2010 senior, was 3-1 with a 9.95 ERA in 10 games, including eight starts, for the Eagles in 2010. Morgan struck out 25 batters and walked 16 in 38 innings pitched.

    Returning candidates — Senior right-handed pitcher Jeff Arnold made 12 starts for Morehead St. as a junior in 2010, going 4-1 with a 9.10 ERA and 31 strikeouts to go with 14 walks in 58.1 innings pitched…Junior right-handed pitcher Matt Robertson made eight starts for the Eagles as a sophomore in 2010, going 1-5 with a 9.40 ERA in 45 innings pitched…Senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith was 3-2 with a 7.93 ERA in 16 games, including three starts, as a junior for Morehead St. in 2010. Smith struck out 16 batters in 10 innings over two starts during the Fall World Series…Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson made just one start as a freshman in 2010, but struck out 10 batters over six innings in a start during the Fall World Series. Gibson was 1-2 with a 7.92 ERA and three saves in 16 games in 2010…Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider made five starts as a sophomore in 2010 but pitched well in a starting role during the Fall World Series…Junior left-handed pitcher Tyler Hieneman made seven starts as a sophomore for Morehead last season but struggled to the tune of a 10.70 ERA.

    Newcomers to watch — Freshman left-handed pitcher Noah Smallwood comes to Morehead from West Jessamine High School, where he was named second-team all-state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association following his senior season. Smallwood made a start for the Eagles during the Fall World Series…Freshman left-handed pitcher Brice Smallwood was also named second-team all-state by KHSBCA following his senior season at Dixie Height High School. Brice was 10-0 with a 1.21 ERA as a senior…Freshman left-handed pitcher and outfielder Duran Elmore struck out 106 batters in 77 innings pitched as a senior at Danville High School.

    Wildcard — Sophomore left-handed pitcher Garrick Whittle did not make any starts for Morehead as a freshman, a rarity on a pitching staff that had no pitcher with multiple appearances finish with an ERA under 6.57, but started a game during the Fall World Series. Whittle struck out eight batters over five shutout innings during that start, positioning him as a serious candidate for a starting rotation spot in 2011. Whittle did not record a decision as a reliever in 2010 and posted a 10.38 ERA in nine appearances…Junior college transfer Kyle Williams is still new to pitching after converting to the position. He originally signed with Shawnee Community College as an outfielder.

    KHSBCA All-State Teams

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    Check out the first and second Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association All-State teams:

    First Team

    • Brock Downey — Murray High School
    • Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville High School
    • Kyle Gibson — Henderson County High School
    • Cole Isom — Christian County High School
    • Cole Sturgeon — Owensboro Catholic High School
    • Ty Downing – Greenwood High School
    • Shane Waldrop — Warren Central High School
    • Brandon Alphin — Bullitt East High School
    • Corey Littrell – Trinity High School
    • John Fidanza – Ballard High School
    • Kyle Cornett – Eastern High School
    • Brian Doering – Manual High School
    • Jared Martin — Harrison County High School
    • Trevor Gott — Tates Creek High School
    • J.T. Riddle — Western Hills High School
    • Lucas Witt — Lexington Christian Academy
    • Louie Helmburg — West Jessamine High School
    • Duran Elmore — Danville High School

    Second Team

    • Tyler Saltsman — Grayson County High School
    • Mikey Scott — Grayson County High School
    • Matt Bowles — Bullitt East High School
    • Taylor Banks — Pleasure Ridge Park
    • Ryan Messex — Louisville Male High School
    • Matt Spalding — St. X
    • Spencer Drake — Eastern High School
    • Corey Bays — Henry Clay High School
    • Eric Standafer — Shelby County High School
    • Austin Pugh — Conner High School
    • Brice Smallwood — Dixie Heights High School
    • Logan Dailey — Harrison County High School
    • Taylor Martin — Lexington Catholic High School
    • Evan Stephens — Lexington Christian Academy
    • Aaron Watts — McCreary Central High School
    • Noah Smallwood — West Jessamine High School
    • Chandler Shepherd — Lawrence County High School
    • Gavin Miller — Pikeville High School

    You can see the honorable mention team with player’s from each region here.