Recaps from Friday baseball:
- No. 13 University of Louisville scored twice in the eighth inning to secure a series-opening 4-2 win over Seton Hall. Sophomore right-handed reliever Derek Self moved to 6-0 on the season and 13-0 in his career with three and one-third scoreless innings out of the Cards’ bullpen. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland saved his ninth game of the year. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright drove in two and scored twice in the game. (Box Sc0re)
- Western Kentucky University dropped its series opener at Florida International in a 7-6, extra-inning decision. Redshirt sophomore closer Rye Davis took the loss after blowing the save in the ninth and giving up two more runs in the top of the tenth inning. Junior right-handed pitcher Matt Ridings surrendered four unearned runs in eight innings. Senior first baseman Jake Wells homered and drove in three runs. (Box Score)
- The University of Kentucky looked overmatched in game one of its crucial series with Auburn in a 13-6 loss. The two teams are competing for the final berth in the Southeastern Conference tournament. Junior right fielder Lance Ray slugged three doubles in the game, and sophomore designated hitter Braden Kapteyn homered in the game. Junior left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell took the loss after allowing nine runs in six and one-third innings. (Box Score)
Hitter of the Day: 1B Jake Wells (WKU)
- Stats: 2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R
- Honorable Mention: Casey Dykes (WKU), Lance Ray (UK), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Ryan Wright (UofL), Andrew Clark (UofL)
Pitcher of the Day: RHP Matt Ridings (WKU)
- Stats: 8 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
- Honorable Mention: Derek Self (UofL), Thomas Royse (UofL), Neil Holland (UofL)
Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo
Tuesday saw four Kentucky Division One schools take the field to mixed results. Bluegrass teams were a combined 2-2 on the day, but several individual players featured standout performances. Check out recaps of those games below, and remember the state’s two ranked teams (WKU and UofL) face off today:
- Matt Payton wasted no time making his case for the on-field component of the Lowe’s Senior Class Award, which he was named a finalist for Tuesday. Payton was 3-6 with a home run, 2 RBI and three runs scored in Western Kentucky University‘s 14-7 blowout of Austin Peay. Matt Rice and Casey Dykes also homered for the Hilltoppers. Bowling Green native Jeremy Dobbs surrendered seven runs to his hometown team in two and one-third innings of relief for Austin Peay. (Box Score)
- In the first of a two-game set in bordering Mountain State, Eastern Kentucky University suffered a 13-11 loss to West Virginia. The Colonels face Marshall Wednesday. Shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 4-5 with one RBI and three runs scored. Designated hitter Jacob Daniel and first baseman Anthony Ottrando each homered for EKU. (Box Score)
- A nail-bitter extra-inning game quickly turned into a blowout in Murray State University‘s 20-17 loss to Evansville. The teams were tied at 14 entering the tenth innings, but Evansville scored six run in the top of the frame and the Breds managed just three in the bottom of the inning. Left fielder Zach Noonan was 4-7 with one RBI and four runs scored, and right fielder Daniel Hill and third baseman Cory Hodskins both homered for Murray State. (Box Score)
- Center fielder J. D. Ashbrook had a career night for Morehead State University with a perfect 5-5 day at the plate. Ashbrook drove in two, scored twice and also reached base via a hit-by-pitch in the Eagles’ 15-6 win over Marshall. Shortstop Drew Lee, right fielder Cameron Flynn and first baseman Michael Bottoms each homered in the game for Morehead. Reliever Trey Smith earned his second save of the season with four scoreless innings out of the Eagles’ bullpen. (Box Score)
Jared Andreoli bats against UK: BluGrass Baseball photo
Western Kentucky University (17) rallied for a 6-3 win Tuesday against in-state rival University of Kentucky behind four hits from senior first baseman Jake Wells and three RBI from senior shortstop Matt Payton, but it was WKU’s sophomores than made the most interesting statement of the game. The Cats’ sophomore class has been counted on for production since it entered campus as the fourth-best recruiting class in the country in 2009, but as conference play gets underway one could easily argue that the unheralded Hilltopper sophomores are having a bigger impact on their team.
WKU’s second-year players are headlined by a pair of relative unknowns entering the 2010 season in outfielders Jared Andreoli and Kes Carter. Still doubtful of their importance in the WKU lineup? Just look to the sixth inning Tuesday when UK head coach Gary Henderson elected to intentionally walk Carter to load the bases with two outs and face preseason All-American Matt Rice. Andreoli leads the Hilltoppers with a .389 batting average, Carter ranks second at .387. Andreoli ranks second in the state with 39 runs scored and Carter ranks fourth in the state with 33 RBI.
Meanwhile UK’s heralded sophomores spent all of 2009 counted on to lead a team to the NCAA tournament, an amount of pressure that was probably unfair to place on a group of freshman. The class has been led by its least heralded member in outfielder Chad Wright, who ranks second on the team with a .349 average and 20 RBI. Slugger Cory Farris has shown his token power stroke in limited action this season with six home runs, but hasn’t been able to break out of the right-field platoon. Designated hitter, pitcher and first baseman Braden Kapteyn is batting .266, and third baseman Andy Burns, arguably the most highly touted position player to ever sign with UK, is batting just .237.
WKU sophomore infielder Casey Dykes is excelling to the rate of a .340 average and four home runs after starting ever game this season. On the mound sophomore relievers Tyler Gilliand and Craig Stem both have sub-3.00 ERAs and over ten appearances in 2010. Just sophomore relievers Phil Whetherell and Aaron Mayfield with their over-6.00 ERAs and sophomore infielder Logan Robbins with his under-.200 batting average have struggled this season.
UK’s sophomore pitchers have enjoyed at least mixed success in 2010. Right-handed starting pitcher Alex Meyer, arguably the most talented pitcher in the state, has four wins but has struggled with his control to the tune of a 6.15 ERA. Sometime midweek starter Sean Bouthilette has a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings after a stellar six-inning performance Tuesday. Kapteyn hasn’t given up an unearned run in 6.2 innings this season, and righty Chase Greene pitched a scoreless inning in his only performance this year. Heralded catcher Michael Williams now finds himself in a battle for the backup time with freshman Luke Maile.
You can’t quite chalk up the success of the WKU incoming class of 2009 to inferior competition either. The Hilltoppers currently have more wins (2) against Southeastern Conference opponents than the Cats (1). The UK incoming class of 2009 has had the spotlight shined on it since its members reportedly made a pact to not sign professional contracts when drafted out of high school unless they received first-round money. I wrote my first feature about them just weeks after fall classes started their freshman year, but so far performance hasn’t quite matched up to the hype. The common thinking goes that the Cats have struggled because they are young, but they aren’t that young anymore. Just ask the sophomores to the west in Bowling Green.
Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Ridings allowed just one run on eight hits in eight innings to lead No. 22 Western Kentucky University to a 6-1 blowout of Louisiana Monroe. Ridings struck out four and walked just one. Sophomore outfielder Jared Andreoli was 1-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
Senior second baseman Matt Payton, junior designated hitter Monte Ketchum and sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes each tallied two hits in the game. Payton also scored twice. Redshirt sophomore reliever Rye Davis closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning. WKU improved to 18-5 on the season. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Matt Ridings — One came after setting the new WKU career wins record, Ridings was back to his old tricks with eight innings of one-run ball. Ridings is now 5-0 on the season in six starts.
Vanderbilt University avenged a Tuesday home loss to Western Kentucky University with a 17-6 blowout win Wednesday. Sophomore center fielder Kes Carter paced the Hilltopper offense with two hits and a home run. Senior shortstop Matt Payton, sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes and senior first baseman Jake Wells also had two hits in the game.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel took the loss after allowing ten runs in just one inning. Junior right-handed reliever Scott Pedersen was the most successful WKU reliever with two and two-third scoreless innings out of the pen. WKU fell to 13-5 on the season. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Kes Carter — Carter continued his breakout 2010 campaign with another home run and two hits Wednesday. Carter also drove in two runs and scored one in five at-bats. On the season, Carter has a team-high five home runs and ranks second on the team with 24 RBI.
Western Kentucky University used a six-run second inning to put its contest out of reach early against Illinois-Chicago and cruised to an 11-5 victory Saturday. The win clinched the series victory for WKU and moved the Hilltoppers to 8-2 on the season. WKU was led by senior second baseman Matt Payton who was 3-5 with a home run, five RBI and two runs scored. Senior catcher Matt Rice and sophomore first baseman Casey Dykes both also hit home runs for WKU.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins earned the win after surrendering three runs on seven hits in five innings while striking out five and walking three. Four other Hilltoppers tallied at least one hit in the game. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Matt Payton — Payton was 3-5 with a home run and five RBI in the game. The senior second baseman also scored two runs and is batting .375 with three home runs and 11 RBI on the season. Payton also has three triples in 2010.
Western Kentucky University dug out of an early five-run deficit to blow out Austin Peay 14-7 in a mid-week contest. WKU scored four runs in the sixth and seventh innings to put the game out of reach, and senior second baseman Matt Payton and sophomore Logan Robbins both hit home runs for the Hilltoppers. Redshirt freshman left-handed reliever Andrew Keltner earned his first career victory with three scoreless innings out of the pen.
Sophomore left fielder Jared Andreoli, senior first baseman Jake Wells, Payton and Robbins each drove in two runs in the game. Sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes was 3-4 with three runs scored in the game. Three WKU relievers combined to hold Austin Peay scoreless over the final six innings. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Matt Payton — Payton was 3-5 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored in the game. The senior second baseman added a walk for good measure and is batting .296 on the season.
Western Kentucky University scored two runs in the eighth inning via bases loaded walks to take the lead and earn a 4-3 victory over Texas State. The Hilltoppers surrendered one run in the bottom of the eighth, but redshirt sophomore right-handed reliever Rye Davis recorded the final five outs for his second save of the season. Freshman left-handed starting pitcher Tanner Perkins allowed one run in four inning in his second start.
At the plate WKU was led by sophomore first baseman Casey Dykes, who was 3-5 with a run scored. Senior second baseman Matt Payton was 1-3 with a triple, a run scored and two RBI. Redshirt junior and Campbellsville transfer Brian Edelen earned the win in the first outing of his WKU career. (Box Sc0re)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Casey Dykes — The sophomore first baseman led the Hilltoppers with three hits and scored the go ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. Dykes is batting .381 with three runs scored and four RBI on the season.
Western Kentucky University picked up its first win of the season with a 13-0 blowout victory over Kent State University Saturday. Freshman left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins did his best Taylor Rogers impression with six shutout innings in his collegiate debut to earn the win. Perkins allowed four hits and struck out six while walking none. Freshman relief pitcher Taylor Haydel pitched three perfect innings with three strikeouts for his first save.
The Hilltoppers were led by sophomore first baseman Casey Dykes, who was 3-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Freshman right-fielder Matt Borgschulte added four RBI and junior catcher Matt Rice added two RBI. Each of the first six WKU batters in the lineup scored at least two runs. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Tanner Perkins — Saturday was the day of the freshman pitcher in Kentucky college baseball. Like Taylor Rogers before him, Perkins pitched six shutout innings in his debut. He even did Rogers two better by walking none and striking out six batters.
In our third installment of the Summer League Wrap-Up we’ll look at the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers who spent time honing their skills in summer league ball.
Coastal Plain League
- 2b Matt Payton — Peninsula Pilots — Payton joined the Pilots at mid-season and batted .235 with seven RBI and 15 runs scored in 18 games. Playing in his third season with Peninsula, Payton started 17 games for the Pilots.
- Kess Carter — Peninsula Pilots — Carter appeared in 43 games for the Pilots and made 41 starts. Kes batted .272 with 22 RBI and 19 runs scored for the Pilots and stole 14 bases in 19 attempts.
- Logan Robins — Peninsula Pilots — Robbins batted .235 with three home runs and 21 RBI in 47 games for Peninsula. Logan made 42 starts for the Pilots and, scored 47 runs and stole 17 bases in 19 attempts.