UK blows out Morehead St. 12-3 in first in-state game of 2011

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

In the first intrastate matchup of the 2011 season the University of Kentucky had no trouble with the Morehead State University pitching staff in a 12-3 win. Six different UK batters tallied multiple hits in the game. UK junior outfielder Chad Wright was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. UK Sophomore right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas was credited with the win after pitching three and two-third scoreless innings in relief. Wijas struck out three batters and walked two. UK freshman second baseman Matt Reida was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored in the game, and junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. UK freshman right-handed pitcher Jonathan Paquet surrendered two runs in three innings in his first collegiate start.

The Morehead St. pitching staff was able to work out of trouble early in the game, preventing UK from scoring a run after loading the bases in three consecutive innings, but a three-run seventh inning and four-run eighth inning from UK put the game out of reach. At the plate Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis was 2-5 with one RBI. Junior outfielder Luke Bainer, sophomore shortstop Austin Haney and redshirt freshman outfielder Nick Duff each tallied two hits in the game. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson was credited with the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in three innings. The Eagles used seven different pitchers in the game, including weekend starting pitchers Trey Smith and Josh Schneider. (Box Sc0re)

BluGrass Baseball Midweek Schedule: Feb. 22

College Baseball

BluGrass Baseball graphic

In our first midweek schedule of the season four of the six Kentucky Division I schools are in action. Check out the schedule below with probable starters where available.


  • University of Kentucky @ Morehead State University — 2 p.m. — RHP Jonathan Paquet vs. RHP Cody Gibson — Wazoo Sports (TV)
  • Murray State University @ Arkansas St. — 3 p.m. (CT) — RHP Tyler Beers


  • Western Kentucky University vs. Lipscomb — 3 p.m. (CT)
  • UK vs. Eastern Michigan — 4 p.m. — LHP Corey LittrellGametracker

Morehead St. falls 9-2 to Western Carolina in season opener

College Baseball

Morehead State University suffered a 9-2 loss to Western Carolina in its opening game of the 2011 season, despite a quality start from ace Trey Smith. Smith, a senior right-handed pitcher, surrendered three runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out three and walking three. Western Carolina blew the game open with a six-run seventh innings. All six runs were charged to sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson, though Smith was still credited with the loss.

Offensively, the Eagles were paced by senior second baseman Travis Redmon, who finished the game 2-5 with a run scored. Senior first baseman Michael Fear also tallied two hits in four at-bats for Morehead St. The Eagles tried to mount a rally in the top of the ninth inning. After loading the bases with one out, junior center fielder Andrew Deeds scored on an RBI-walk from freshman catcher Cole Cleveland, who was making his collegiate debut in a pinch-hit appearance. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball player of the game: Trey Smith — 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO

UK picked to finish fourth in SEC East; OVC coaches talk opening weekend; Rauch in 4-way battle for Blue Jays’ closer

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • The Southeastern Conference coaches have picked the University of Kentucky to finish fourth in the SEC East.
  • The Ohio Valley Conference announced Tuesday that beginning in 2012 teams, including Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University and Murray State University, will play Friday, Saturday, Sunday series in conference play.
  • The OVC has also posted the audio from its preseason teleconference with 10-minute segments from EKU head coach Jason Stein, Morehead St. head coach Jay Sorg and Murray St. head coach Rob McDonald. The three Ky. OVC coaches said little in the way of breaking news, but Stein did confirm freshmen Byran Soloman and Sean Hagen would start for the Colonels. Sorg also noted the senior Trey Smith, redshirt junior Josh Schneider and sophomore Cody Gibson are the favorites to begin the season in the weekend rotation.
  • Troy E. Renck profiles on right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook, who was born in Fort Campbell, and his improved mechanics.
  • Seth Livingston of USA Today profiles former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton, who he call’s the “forgotten man” in the Phillies’ all-star rotation.
  • Seth Stohs of the The Star-Tribune lists Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere among the 2011 impact prospects for the Twins, noting Revere could step into center field and the leadoff spot if Denard Span goes is injured.
  • Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun breaks down the four-way battle for the Blue Jays closer, which includes former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch.

BluGrass Baseball Preseason Pitching Leaderboard

College Baseball

Throughout the college baseball season BluGrass Baseball publishes a weekly statistics leaderboard for Kentucky collegians. As part of the 2011 college baseball preview we’ll begin the weekly leaderboard series with a look at the top five returners in each statistical category from 2010. Yesterday we looked at the top returning hitters, so today we give the pitchers their turn. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game.


  • Justin Amlung — UofL — 4.01
  • Damon McCormick — Valparaiso (St. X) — 5.35
  • Anthony Bazzani — EKU — 5.47
  • Jordan Cooper — UK — 5.71
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 6.02


  • Derek Self — UofL — 7-0
  • Damon McCormick  — Valparaiso (St. X) — 7-1
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 7-5
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 6-6
  • 6 players tied with 5 wins each


  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 71
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 63
  • Alex Meyer — UK — 63
  • Justin Amlung — UofL — 55
  • Casey Lucchese — College of Charleston (PLD) — 52

Innings Pitched

  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 83.2
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 83.0
  • Anthony Bazzani — EKU — 77.1
  • Stephen Hefler — EKU — 70
  • Damon McCormick — Valparaiso (St. X) — 67.1


  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 12
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 9
  • Gabriel Shaw — UofL — 3
  • Cody Gibson — Morehead St. — 3
  • Braden Kapteyn — UK — 2
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 2

Batting Average Against

  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — .278
  • Anthony Bazzani — EKU — .282
  • Justin Amlung — UofL — .286
  • Damon McCormick — Valparaiso (St. X) — .289
  • Jordan Cooper — UK — .303


  • Rye Davis — WKU — 33
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 30
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 29
  • Gabriel Shaw — UofL — 28
  • Derek Self — UofL — 27

UofL loses pitcher until midseason; NCBWA ranks Cards No. 22; Paxton negotiations at impasse; Legends host caravan

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Marcus Nidiffer, center; Photo: UK Athletics

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Brian Foley of College Baseball Daily reports University of Louisville sophomore left-handed pitcher Keith Landers is out until midseason after undergoing a second surgery on his throwing arm during the fall.
  • The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has released its preseason poll with UofL at No. 22.
  • The Lexington Legends annual caravan will begin Wednesday in Danville. The Caravan will also make stops in Cynthiana, Lexington, Somerset, Columbia and Jackson. Kentucky minor leaguers Marcus Nidiffer, Ben Revere, Chaz Roe, Jeremy Shelby and John Shelby III will attend the Lexington event on Thursday. Former Kentucky major leaguers Willie Blair, Andy Green, John Shelby Jr., Jeff Parrett and Josh Anderson will also appear at one of the caravan stops.
  • Larry Stone of The Seattle Times catches up with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik about his negotiations with former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton. In summary, Zduriencik doesn’t sound very optimistic about Paxton signing before Spring Training.
  • T. R. Sullivan of recaps the Texas Rangers’ offseason, pointing to the team’s acquisition of Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb as one of the moves that will define the success of the offseason.
  • In examining the Atlanta Braves’ offseason Steven Henson of Yahoo! Sports concludes second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, is the new face of the team.
  • As noted by the Legends, Andy Green has retired and will serve as the hitting coach for the rookie-level Missoula Osprey in 2011.
  • We’ve removed the Morehead State University lineup projection post after learning several of the choices were inaccurate. It appears Cody Gibson and Garrick Whittle are competing for a weekend rotation spot with Matthew Robertson being a midweek starting pitcher for the Eagles. Junior Matt Cartwright will likely replace Gibson as the Eagles closer. Senior Jeff Arnold may miss some time with an injury. Sophomore Austin Haney is the leading candidate to replace All-OVC shortstop Drew Lee, and freshman outfielder Duran Elmore appears unlikely to see early playing time. (I’ve decided to try the series again but remember the projections are just speculation on my part)

2011 lineup projections: Morehead State University

College Baseball

Following the completion of the “offseason position battle” series we will post a lineup project for each of the five division one schools this week. The lineups are based on the position battle posts and are only a guess and what each Opening Day lineup might look like. We will also include weekend rotations, midweek starters and closers for good measure. We are working in reverse order of the 2010 records, begining the series with Morehead State University.


  • C — Taylor Davis
  • 1B — Michael Fear
  • 2B — Travis Redmon
  • 3B — Andrew Deeds
  • SS — Austin Haney
  • LF — Daniel Pugh
  • CF — Luke Bainer
  • RF — Ryan Conner
  • DH — Bud Morton

Weekend rotation

  • RHP — Trey Smith
  • RHP — Josh Schneider
  • RHP — Cody Gibson

Midweek starters

  • LHP — Garrick Whittle
  • RHP — Matthew Robertson


  • LHP Matt Cartwright

*A previous version of  this post incorrectly to identified Ryan Conner as Eric Sanders. This post has also been amended to include information learned after its original publishing.

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.

Kentucky prep pitchers highlight wood-bat tournament; Revere stays hot in AFL; Gibson excels for Morehead

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Jon Rauch; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links and highlights from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Conor Glassey of Baseball America recaps the action from the World Wood Bat Championship, highlighting performances from Lexington Catholic High School right-handed pitcher Tyler Arthur and St. X right-handed pitcher Matt Spalding.
  • Mark Polishuk of MLBTradeRumors evaluates former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch‘s free agent stock.
  • On Wednesday former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke earned his first save for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League. Former Lexington Legend right-handed pitcher Kyle Greenwalt pitched four scoreless innings for the win.
  • On Thursday Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere was 3-6 with three RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base for the Peoria Saguaros of the AFL.
  • Former UofL right-handed pitcher B. J. Rosenberg took the loss after surrendering four runs in one inning for the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL.
  • Morehead State University sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson struck out 10 batters in six innings to lead the Gold team to a 2-0 series lead in the Eagles’ fall scrimmage series.

Sellers hopes for big league promotion; Wright is hero in Team USA win; Morehead Eagles named summer All-Stars

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Some links to get you through a Monday morning:

  • Kevin Patton of The Gleaner of Henderson profiles former Henderson County High School and Eastern Kentucky University infielder Neil Sellers, who was in Louisville with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for a series against the Bats this weekend. Sellers told Patton, “I have proved myself at every level, and I have to keep proving myself” to earn his coveted big league promotion.
  • Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet tells Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal he hasn’t given up on making the playoffs yet.
  • University of Louisville rising junior infielder Ryan Wright‘s RBI triple plated the only run in Team USA’s 1-0 win over Korea Saturday.
  • Morehead State University rising sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson, rising sophomore infielder Kellen Begeman, incoming freshman Ryan Rogers and rising junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider were named All-Stars in their respective summer leagues.