Opening Weekend Review: Morehead St. University

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In the final “Opening Weekend Review” post we’ll look at Morehead State University, which finished 0-3 on the weekend:

  • Pitching staff needs a mulligan on opening weekend: The Eagles may have begun their 2011 schedule on Friday, but no one sent the memo to the Morehead St. pitching staff. The Eagles surrendered 36 runs in three games with the low point coming in an 18-0 blowout loss on Saturday. Despite the abysmal performance by the staff, two of the Eagles’ starting pitchers actually pitched fairly well. On Friday senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith surrendered three runs on seven hits in six innings but took a loss after the Eagles’ offense mustered only two runs. On Sunday sophomore right-handed pitcher Garrick Whittle surrendered three runs, two of which were earned, in five and two-third innings in a no decision.
  • Mixed results for All-OVC catcher: Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis, a preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference selection, was just 1-7 in the Eagles’ first two games, but exploded with a 3-5 performance on Sunday. Davis slugged a home run, drove in two runs and scored twice in game three. Senior second baseman Travis Redmon was another bright spot on offense for the Eagles, finishing the weekend 5-14 (.357) with two runs scored.
  • Defense blows Sunday game: After committing three errors in the first two games that did not result in any unearned runs, the Morehead St. defense imploded on Sunday. The Eagles committed eight errors in the game that contributed to seven unearned runs crossing the plate. Junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss in that game after surrendering six unearned runs in the eighth inning. Senior third baseman Casey Branham had the worse defensive day for the Eagles with three errors.

Offseason position battle: Morehead St. shortstop

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Drew Lee; Morehead St. photo

In the next offseason position battle post we’ll look at the vacant Morehead State University shortstop position:

The departed: Senior shortstop Drew Lee left Morehead with one of the most prolific careers in Eagles’ history after being selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB draft. Lee batted .412 with 17 home runs, 66 RBI, 60 runs scored and 156 total bases in 2011. The 2010 All-American batted over .400 for two straight seasons for Morehead and finished his collegiate career with several school records, including the career hits and RBI records. The Mount Sterling native was named an Appalachian League all-star during his first professional season in 2010.

Returning candidates: Lee started 47 of Morehead St.’s 50 games at shortstop in 2010 with the other three starts going to rising sophomore Austin Haney. Haney was just 2-22 (.091) in 15 games for the Eagles last season but is the only shortstop listed on Morehead St.’s 2011 roster. Rising senior utility man Casey Branham recorded one start at second base in 2010, but could conceivably move over to shortstop if head coach Jay Sorg is confident in his defense. Branham slugged two home runs in game three of the Eagles’ fall blood bowl series.

Newcomers to watch: Freshman infielder Bud Morton batted .395 with a .487 on-base percentage as a junior at West Jessamine High School while primarily playing shortstop. Morton excelled during the fall blood bowl series, highlighted by a three-hit game in game three. Morton stole 36 bases as a senior in high school.

Wildcard: Rising senior Travis Redmon had a strong summer for the Lexington Hustlers after making 46 starts at second base for Morehead St. in 2010. Head coach Jay Sorg could conceivably move Redmon to shortstop if he feels the standout of the Haney, Branham, Morton trio would be better suited defensively at second base.

Webb, Wellemeyer are unknown quantities in FA starting pitcher market; Lueke gets second AFL save

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Zack Cox; University of Arkansas photo

Latest links and highlights from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors breaks down the free-agent market for right-handed starting pitchers and lists Ashland native Brandon Webb as an injured pitcher teams will sign hoping for a rebound and Louisville native Todd Wellemeyer as a pitcher who will likely have to start in the bullpen or minor leagues to compete for innings.
  • Morehead State University senior utility man Casey Branham slugged two home runs and drove in six runs in game three of the Eagles’ fall scrimmage series.
  • The University of Kentucky has announced its 2010-11 baseball camp schedule.
  • Former UofL right-handed pitcher B. J. Rosenberg pitched a scoreless inning and struck out one for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 1-4 with a run scored in the game for the Peoria Saguaros.
  • PRP alum Zack Cox, the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick, was 1-3 with a triple, run scored and walk for the Surprise Rafters of the AFL.
  • Former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke earned his second save of the AFL season with two scoreless innings for the Peoria Javelinas.

UK moves to 7-0 with 5-2 win over Morehead State

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UK Athletics Wallpaper

The University of Kentucky earned its seventh victory of the season with a 5-2 win over Morehead State University behind two home runs from its slugging third baseman. UK sophomore Andy Burns put the Cats ahead with a first inning homer and added a second long ball in the fifth inning. Morehead received a 3-3 performance from senior first baseman Michael Bottoms, and three other Eagles recorded multiple hits in the game. UK scored three runs in the first inning to put the game out of reach early.

UK freshman right-handed pitcher/outfielder Sam Kidd recorded his first career victory after allowing one run in two innings of relief out of the Cats’ bullpen. Freshman relievers Jordan Cooper and Walter Wijas also recorded scoreless relief appearances, and junior right-handed reliever Matt Little earned his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. Junior second baseman Chris Bisson was 2-4 for the Cats, and junior right fielder Lance Ray and senior first baseman Gunner Glad also drove in runs for UK.

Morehead Sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Josh Scneider took the loss for the Eagles after allowing three runs in one and one-third innings. Relievers Trey Smith, Casey Branham and Michael Fahs held UK scoreless over the last three and two-third innings. Senior shortstop Drew Lee, senior center fielder J. D. Ashbrook and sophomore catcher Taylor Davis each had two hits in the game for the Eagles. (Box Sc0re)

BluGrass Baseball POG: Andy Burns — The sophomore slugger launched his second and third home runs of the season and finished the afternoon at 3-4 with two home runs, three runs scored and two RBI. Burns also stole a base for good measure and is batting .333 with three home runs and four RBI on the season and leads UK with nine runs scored.