In our third Murray State University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant second base position.
The departed — Murray St. split its 57 starts at second base between three players in 2010: seniors Kyle Tiernan and Cory Hodskins and sophomore Jonathan Craycraft. The Breds lost Tiernan, who started 32 games at second base, and Hodskins, who started one game at second, to graduation. Craycraft, who started 24 games at the position, is not listed on the 2011 roster. Tiernan batted .300 with three home runs, 37 RBI and 30 runs scored in 2010, while Craycraft batted .262 with two home runs, 13 RBI and 23 runs scored. Craycraft started 46 games at second base as a freshman, batting .337.
Returning candidates — Murray St. lists just two returning infielders on its 2011 roster: sophomores Brandon Elliott and Colton Moore. Elliott returns to the Breds as the primary shortstop after starting 43 games there in 2010. Moore started 19 games at third base and 24 games as a designated hitter in 2010 and will likely be the primary third baseman in 2011.
Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Travis Isaak joins the Breds after batting .420 with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 55 RBI as a sophomore at Lincoln Trail Community College. Isaak batted .365 with 25 doubles, five home runs and 38 RBI as a freshman at LTCC…Freshman infielder Wes Warren comes to Murray St. from Goodlettsville, Tenn., where he batted .419 with seven triples and 32 RBI as a senior at Hendersonville High School.
Wildcard — With just four infielders listed on the 2011 roster there appear to be few surprises in the second base competition. Head coach Rob McDonald could conceivably move incumbent infielders Elliott and Moore to the position, though that appears unlikely as neither logged any time at second base during 2011. If a position change from another player was in order, the Breds boast a surplus at catcher with five players and outfield with six players on the roster.
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)
Sunday was a disappointing day on the diamond for several Kentucky colleges, but a few did salvage big wins. Check out recaps and awards from Sunday’s action below:
- The University of Louisville (9) salvaged one win in its three game series against Pittsburgh after senior infielder Adam Duvall and sophomore shortstop Ryan Wright each homered in the ninth inning to send the Cards to a 9-7 win. Junior right-handed reliever Neil Holland recorded the win after allowing three runs in five innings. Junior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw surrendered four runs in four innings in his first start of the season. (Box Score)
- Western Kentucky University (21) missed out on a series sweep against South Alabama with a 7-5 loss Sunday. Senior second baseman Matt Payton tallied three hits in the game and junior catcher Matt Rice recorded three RBI. Freshman left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins took the loss after allowing three runs in four and one-third innings. (Box Score)
- The University of Kentucky blew a 9-0 lead in the fifth innings to miss out on a series sweep against No. 24 Alabama. The Tide rallied for 11-unanswered runs to win 11-9. Sophomore left fielder Chad Wright, senior first baseman Gunner Glad and sophomore designated hitter Braden Kapteyn each tallied three hits in the game. Junior shortstop Taylor Black also homered in the game. (Box Score)
- Murray State University earned a series victory against Jacksonville State with a 9-6 win Sunday. Senior left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha recorded the win with three innings of one-run pitching out of the Breds bullpen. Senior infielder Cory Hodskins was 3-5 with a home run and two runs scored. (Box Score)
- Eastern Kentucky University finished a series sweep against Austin Peay with a 15-12 win Sunday. Three Colonels homered in the game, and senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando was 3-5 with a home run, five RBI and two runs scored. Five different EKU batters tallied at least two hits in the game. (Box Score)
- Morehead State University dropped the rubber match of its three-game series against Eastern Illinois with a 9-5 loss Sunday. Senior center fielder J. D. Ashbrook was 3-5 with two home runs, two RBI and two runs scored for the Eagles. Junior outfielder Daniel Pugh also tallied two hits in the game. (Box Score)
Hitter of the Day: OF J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.)
- Stats: 3-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
- Honorable Mention: Matt Payton (WKU), Ryan Wright (UofL), Cory Hodskins (Murray St.), Anthony Ottrando (EKU), Chad Wright (UK)
Pitcher of the Day: RHP Neil Holland (UofL)
- Stats: 1-0, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
- Honorable Mention: Matt McGaha (Murray St.), Alex Meyer (UK)
Awards and recaps from the worst day record-wise for Kentucky college teams so far (Six D1 teams finished 4-5):
Player of the Day: Bryan Propst (Murray St.)
- Stats: 3-5, 2 HR, 1 3B, 8 RBI, 3 Runs, 1 BB
- Honorable Mention: Drew Lee (Morehead), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead), Michael Garcia (EKU), Cory Hodskins (Murray St.), Matt Payton (WKU), Matt Rice (WKU), Cory Farris (UK), Ryan Wright (UofL)
Pitcher of Day: Dean Kiekhefer (UofL)
- Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 SO, 1 BB
- Honorable Mention: Shane Cameron (WKU), Matt McGaha (Murray St.)
Athletic Department Recaps