Richie Rodriguez, Justin Hageman win week eight awards

College Baseball

Richie Rodriguez; EKU photo

It’s time for the week eight weekly awards. I’ve included Lexington Catholic alum Justin Riddell and Daviess Co. alum Jeremy Dobbs among the honorable mention category this week since their performances came against Kentucky schools.

Hitter of the week: SS Richie Rodriguez (EKU)

  • Stats: 12-16 (.750), 2 2Bs, 3 BB, 8 R, 1 RBI, 4 SBs
  • Honorable Mention: Jeff Gardner (UofL), Matt Rice (WKU), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Zach Noonan (Murray St.), Cody Larson (Murray St.), Justin Riddell (Cincinnati, Lexington Catholic)

Pitcher of the week: RHP Justin Hageman (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Koch (UofL), Justin Amlung (UofL), Tanner Perkins (WKU), Jordan Cooper (UK), Matt Harris (EKU), Greg Terry (EKU), Jeremy Dobbs (Austin Peay, Daviess Co. HS)

Freshman of the week: RHP Justin Hageman (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jeff Gardner (UofL), Dallen Reber (UK), Nick Duff (Morehead St.)

Freshmen lead UK rally in a 7-6 win over Murray State

College Baseball

Dallen_Reber bats vs. Murray St.; BluGrass Baseball photo

The University of Kentucky rallied from an early 5-0 deficit to post a 7-6 win over Murray State University. The Cats tied the game with two outs in the sixth inning on a two-run single from freshman right fielder J. T. Riddle and then took the lead on a RBI single from freshman designated hitter Dallen Reber. UK sophomore right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas earned the win after striking out two batters in a scoreless inning. Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek earned his third save of the season after coming on to pitch in the ninth inning with one out and two men on base and inducing a double-play to end the game. Riddle, Reber, sophomore center fielder Brian Adams and sophomore catcher Luke Maile each tallied two hits in the game for UK. Riddle entered the game as a defensive replacement for freshman outfielder Lucas Witt, who left with an apparent leg injury.

Murray St. junior left-handed pitcher Mark Roberts took the loss after surrendering three runs in on four hits in one inning of work. At the plate sophomore third baseman Paul Ritzheimer was 3-4 with one home run, three RBI and one run scored. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 3-5 with one RBI and one run scored, and junior catcher Jacob Rhodes was 2-4 with one double and one run scored. Freshman right-handed pitcher Tyler Saltsman started the game for Murray St. and surrendered one hit in two scoreless innings. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball player of the game: RF J. T. Riddle — 2-2, 1 BB, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

Meyer, Davis, Littrell win BluGrass Baseball week four awards

College Baseball

Alex Meyer; UK Athletics photo

It’s time for the weekly highlights of the Bluegrass State’s best college performances, which are marked by a slew of outstanding pitching performances during week four. Check out the weekly award winners for best pitching, hitting and freshman performance below:

Pitcher of the week: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 13 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Mike Nastold (UofL), Justin Amlung (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL), Tanner Perkins (WKU), Brian Edelen (WKU), Jordan Cooper (UK), Taylor Rogers (UK), Corey Littrell (UK), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Bryan Babin (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Chris Hord (EKU), Matt Fyffe (EKU), Matthew Robertson (Morehead St.)

Hitter of the week: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 7-11 (.636), 1 HR, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Alex Chittenden (UofL), Brian Adams (UK), Chad Wright (UK), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Logan Robbins (WKU), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Matt Phipps (EKU), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)

Freshman of the week: LHP Corey Littrell (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Alex Chittenden (UofL), Ryan Seiz (UofL), Dallen Reber (UK), J. T. Riddle (UK), Justin Hageman (WKU), Cameron Finch (Murray St.), Kyle McGrath (EKU)

Friday roundup: UofL, WKU, UK ride strong pitching to wins; Morehead State wins for 2nd time; Murray State loses

College Baseball

Recaps and highlights from Friday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • The University of Louisville used a three-run fifth inning and a strong eight-inning performance from sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch to earn a 4-2 win in game one of its series versus Pepperdine. Koch surrendered two runs, one of which was earned, on four hits in eight innings while striking out seven batters and walking one to earn his second win of the season. Freshman first baseman Ryan Seiz was 2-5 with one double, two RBI and one run scored, and senior catcher J. J. Ethel was 2-4 with two doubles and one RBI. Junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fifth save of the season. (Box Score)
  • Western Kentucky University rode a complete-game performance from sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins to a 3-1 win in game one of its series versus Illinois. Perkins surrendered on run on three hits in nine innings while striking out six and walking none. At one point Perkins retired 21 batters in a row. The Hilltoppers scored two runs in the sixth inning on a RBI double from junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson and a RBI single from junior shortstop Logan Robbins. Perkins improved his record to 3-1 on the season and posted the first nine-inning complete game of any Kentucky pitcher this season. (Box Score)
  • University of Kentucky sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers earned his first win of the season in a 9-2 win over Niagara. Rogers surrendered two runs on seven hits in seven innings while striking out five batters and walking one. Junior first baseman Michael Williams was 2-4 with his third home run of the season, and freshman infielder Dallen Reber launched a pinch-hit home run in eighth inning in just his second collegiate at-bat. Junior designated hitter and right-handed pitcher Braden Kapteyn was 3-5 with one double, two RBI and one run scored and struck out two batters in a scoreless ninth inning. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University tallied nine hits but scored just two runs in a 9-2 loss to IPFW. Junior left-handed pitcher Luke Shuemaker took the loss after surrendering five runs, four of which were earned, on seven hits in six innings while striking out four batters and walking two. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 3-3 with one walk and two runs scored, and junior second baseman Travis Isaak was 2-4 with two RBI. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University earned its second win of the season with a 6-4 victory over La Salle in game one of a three-game series. Junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson struck out two batters in two scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season. Junior catcher Taylor Davis was 4-4 with one double, one RBI and one run scored, and senior second baseman Travis Redmon was 3-5 with two runs scored. Senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith surrendered four runs on six hits in six innings while striking out four batters and walking five in the start. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 4-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Travis Redmon (Morehead St.), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Dallen Reber (UK), Michael Williams (UK), Ryan Seiz (UofL), J. J. Ethel (UofL)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Tanner Perkins (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Koch (UofL), Taylor Rogers (UK), Matthew Robertson (Morehead St.)

BluGrass Baseball preseason all-newcomer team


Over the past few weeks BluGrass Baseball has been counting down the top 2011 returning Kentucky collegians. Freshmen and junior-college transfers were excluded from that list, but don’t worry the newcomers are about to get their due. Check out the preseason all-newcomer team below. The team is focused on players who are projected to receive major playing time for their respective schools.

CatcherSean HagenEastern Kentucky University

Hagen is projected to start at catcher for the Colonels. After Hagen signed with EKU out of high school, Colonels head coach Jason Stein said, “Sean will fill an immediate need at catcher following the graduation of 2010. He is a complete catcher who can catch, throw and block. But he is also a very offensive-minded player, as well.”

Honorable mention: Murray St. junior-college transfer Jacob Rhodes figures to be a mainstay in the Breds’ lineup at either catcher or designated hitter.

First Base — Tyler Beers — Murray State University

There is no clear first base candidate among the 2011 Kentucky newcomers, Beers may start for the Breds so he takes this spot almost by default. Beers batted .300 with five home runs and 25 RBI as a sophomore at Mineral Area College.

Honorable mention: UK head coach Gary Henderson said freshman infielder J. T. Riddle could see time at first base if carries his strong spring offensive performance over to the season.

Second Base — Matt Reida — University of Kentucky

Henderson hasn’t officially named a starter at second base for the Cats, but all signs point to Reida as the likely winner of that position battle. Reida may struggle with the bat early on, but as a plus defender he figures to get plenty of playing time at the position.

Honorable mention: Murray St. junior-college transfer Travis Isaak batted .420 with eight home runs and 19 doubles as a sophomore at Lincoln Trail Community College.

Shortstop — Alex Chittenden — University of Louisville

On Monday UofL head coach Dan McDonnell announced Chittenden would start at shortstop for the Cards. Chittenden batted .588 with eight home runs and 19 stolen bases as a senior in high school.

Honorable mention: Morehead St. freshman infielder Bud Morton may not start for the Eagles to begin the season, but he adds an excitement factor to the lineup the Eagles could use.

Third base — Thomas McCarthy — University of Kentucky

McCarthy comes to UK after batting over .400 for two seasons in junior-college baseball. UK head coach Gary Henderson doesn’t predict that for his third baseman this season, but Henderson said “he’s going to be able to get a hit.”

Honorable mention: EKU freshman infielder Bryan Soloman, who head coach Jason Stein called “a complete third baseman,” is projected to start for the Colonels.

Outfield — Ryan Hutchinson — Western Kentucky University

Baseball America recently ranked Hutchinson, who was an all-American at 2010 NJCAA World Series champion Iowa Western Community College, the No. 3 newcomer in the Sun Belt Conference. WKU head coach Chris Finwood expects Hutchinson to provide a middle-of-the-order power presence for the Hilltoppers this season.

Outfield — Lucas Witt — University of Kentucky

In an interview with College Baseball Daily, UK head coach Gary Henderson singled Witt out as a the freshmen outfielder who was making the best case to start in right field. Witt may not be the full-time starter to begin the season, but he figures to see plenty of playing time in 2010.

Outfield — Paul Ritzheimer — Murray State University

Ritzheimer batted .405 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a freshman at Kaskaskia College in 2010, and he should push for playing time in the Murray State outfield this season.

Honorable Mention — UK freshman infielder and outfielder Dallen Reber probably has the most power on the UK roster and will likely push for playing time in right field for the Cats.

Designated hitter — Ivan Hartle — Western Kentucky Unviersity

Junior-college trasnfer Ivan Hartle will start at second base for WKU this season and only is included at DH here to get him into the starting lineup. Hartle was named the NJCAA Division I defensive player of the year in 2010 while playing for the NJCAA World Series champion, Iowa Western Community College.

Honorable mention — UofL freshmen infielder Adam Engel will start for the Cards at designated hitter to begin the season.

Starting pitcher — Corey Littrell — University of Kentucky

Freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell will be UK’s primary midweek starting pitcher to begin the season and stands to be the first option on the weekend in the event of injury or poor performance by one of UK’s top three starters. Littrell was all-state as a senior at Trinity High School and was the 43rd-round pick of the Nationals in 2010.

Starting pitcher — Justin Hageman — Western Kentucky University

WKU head coach Chris Finwood says freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman, the 2010 32nd round pick of the Royals, has as much talent as any pitcher he saw on a Friday night during his time in the Southeastern Conference, but it remains to be seen what Hageman’s role will be with the Hilltoppers. He figures to begin the season as a midweek starting pitcher, but will move to the weekend rotation if he proves himself in that role.

Starting pitcher — Kyle McGrath — Eastern Kentucky University

Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath figures to begin the season as a midweek starting pitcher for the Colonels, but you have to figure he will be given every shot to carve out a more substantial role with the team considering the Colonels’ poor pitching performance in 2010. McGrath was all-state at Butler High School.

Honorable mention — Due to the overall depth of UofL’s pitching staff, freshman right-handed pitcher Dace Kime may not start for the Cards this season but as the highest-drafted player attending a Kentucky college this season he figures to push for playing time in some role.

2011 Newcomers: University of Kentucky

College Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

The University of Kentucky has released its official 2011 roster meaning we can restart the 2011 newcomer series from earlier this offseason. I’ve listed new Cats below with their most recent school.

  • RHP Kevin Bein — Fr. — Franklin High School (Tenn.)
  • INF/C Thomas Bernal — Fr. — Paso Robles High School (Calif.)
  • OF Lucas Witt — Fr. — Lexington Christian Academy
  • RHP Trevor Gott — Fr. — Tates Creek High School
  • C/OF Steven Hoagland — Fr. — Lexington Christian Academy
  • OF Damon Sanders — Fr. — Butler High School
  • INF/RHP J. T. Riddle — Fr. — Western Hills High School
  • RHP Alex Lester — Fr. — West Jessamine High School
  • LHP Corey Littrell — Fr. — Trinity High School
  • INF Matt Reida — Fr. — Western High School (Ind.)
  • INF Paul McConkey — Fr. — Halls High School (Tenn.)
  • INF/OF Dallen Reber — Fr. — Western High School (Ind.)
  • RHP Jonathan Paquet — Fr. — Cardinal Ray High School (Canada)
  • LHP/1B Tyler Ramond — Fr. — Grove City High School (Ohio)
  • 1B/OF Ryan Mossakowski — R-Fr. — UK (Football team)
  • LHP Alex Phillips — Jr. — Lower Columbia College
  • INF Thomas McCarthy — Jr. — Feather River College
  • RHP Tyler Dunaway — R-Jr. — Wabash Valley Junior College

Offseason position battle: UK outfielder

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

In the fourth University of Kentucky post in out “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant outfield position.

The departed — Center fielder Keenan Wiley started all 56 games for UK in 2010, batting .324 with four home runs, 37 RBI, 40 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Wiley signed a non-drafted free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves following the season. The Richmond native also provided a steady hand on defense, committing just one error on the season…Outfielder and first baseman Lance Ray did not see much playing time early in the season but worked his way into the everyday lineup with much of his playing time coming in right field. Ray was UK’s best hitter by the end of the season, finishing the year with a .356 batting average, 10 home runs, 34 RBI and 29 runs scored…Utility man Gunner Glad, a 2010 senior, saw extended playing time in the outfield in 2010…Outfielder Cory Farris, a 2010 sophomore, is not listed on the 2011 UK roster.

Returning candidates — Junior outfielder Chad Wright returns to anchor the UK outfield after spending each of his first two seasons at UK as an everyday starter at the corner outfield positions. Wright, who was named a Cape Cod League all-star this summer, could move to center field after Wiley’s graduation…Sophomore Brian Adams started the final eight games of the season in left field, batting .483 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI. Adams, a wide receiver on the football team, suffered a hamstring injury toward the end of football season but that injury is not expected to affect his baseball availability…Sophomore outfielder and pitcher Sam Kidd appeared in 10 games as a freshman, mostly as a late-inning defensive replacement.

Newcomers to watch — Lexington Christian Academy alum Lucas Witt comes to UK after being named first-team all state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior. In a recent interview with College Baseball Daily UK head coach Gary Henderson singled Witt out as a freshman outfielder who had performed well enough during fall practice to earn early playing time. Witt recorded hits in two of the three Fall World Series games…UK also lists freshman outfielders Damon Sanders, Steven Hoagland, and Ryan Mossakowski on the roster.

Wildcard — Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek has only appeared on the mound during his three-year UK career but began the transition to becoming a two-way player during the fall. Kaczmarek will appear in the outfield for UK some this season, and after experiencing moderate success with the bat during fall practice could push for regular playing time. Henderson could also try freshman infielder Dallen Reber in the outfield if needed.

This post has been updated after UK released its 2011 roster without outfielder Cory Farris, Gavin Patton and Navarro Hall on it.

Offseason position battle: UK second baseman

College Baseball

Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

We will begin the third lap in the “offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant University of Kentucky second base position:

The departed — Second baseman Chris Bisson, a 2010 junior, was a stalwart in the middle of the UK defense and lineup during 2010, batting .329 with five home runs, 35 RBI and 43 runs scored. Bisson, who moved on to professional ball following the season as the fourth-round pick of the San Diego Padres, batted .325 in his three-year UK career with seven home runs, 91 RBI and 101 runs scored. Bisson led the Southeastern Conference with 32 stolen bases in 2010 and was honored with a second-team all-SEC selection following the season. The left-handed batter missed five games after being hit in the face by a pitch during a game versus Monmouth on March 6.

Returning candidates — Redshirt senior infielder Neiko Johnson started 21 games for UK in 2010 and filled in for Bisson at second base while he recovered from the early season hit-by-pitch. Johnson batted just .171 in 33 games but boasted an impressive .388 on-base percentage and stole 24 bases in 25 attempts. This summer Johnson batted .307 with 25 stolen bases in the Coastal Plains League…Redshirt freshman Tyler Townsend, who sat out during the 2010 season, is the only other returning backup infielder on the roster. Townsend batted .220 in 36 games in the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer.

Newcomers to watch — In a recent interview with College Baseball Daily UK head coach Gary Henderson listed freshman infielders Dallen Reber, Paul McConkey, J. T. Riddle and Matt Reida as standouts during fall practice. Riddle and Reida profile best as middle infielders and should push for early playing time at second base. Henderson told CBD that Reida was the most advanced of the group defensively, so that praise can only help his chances. When Reida signed with UK, Henderson described him as a future stalwart at middle infield and the leadoff spot in the lineup. The Chicago White Sox selected Reida in the 47th round of the 2010 draft…Riddle was named Mr. Kentucky Baseball in 2010 after batting .514 with 7 HR, 62 RBI and 20 stolen bases as a senior at Western Hills High school. He was the 35th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2010. Riddle homered during UK’s Fall World Series and could pitch for UK as well.

Wildcard — UK’s lone returning starting infielder is shortstop Taylor Black, the 28th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 draft, so the second, third and first base positions could be a revolving door in 2011. The Cats aren’t lacking candidates for the vacant second and third base positions, but Henderson could decide not to name a full-time starter at either position early in the season and instead choose to rotate several of the players. Ideally UK would have a fairly consistent lineup in time for conference play, but don’t be surprised in Johnson, Reida, Riddle, Reber, McConkey and Townsend rotate early in 2011.

Offseason position battle: UK third baseman

College Baseball

UK Athletics Wallpaper

We will begin our second lap in the “Offseason position battle” series with a look at the vacant University of Kentucky third base position:

The departed — This season was supposed to be the year that Colorado native Andy Burns, arguably the highest ranked high school position player to ever sign with Kentucky, rode his immense talent to an early MLB draft selection. Burns batted .279 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI over two seasons at UK before deciding to transfer to Arizona following the 2010 season. The only other Cat to appear at third base during the 2010 season was since departed senior utility man Gunner Glad.

Returning candidates — The only returning infielders who didn’t start in 2010 on the roster are redshirt senior Neiko Johnson and redshirt freshman Tyler Townsend.  Johnson batted just .171 in 33 games as a junior but is better suited for second base, where he filled in for an injured Chris Bisson in 2010. Townsend redshirted during the 2010 season.

Newcomers to watch — Freshman infielder Dallen Reber belted a three-run home run in game two of the Fall World Series. In an interview with College Baseball Daily head coach Gary Henderson listed freshman infielders Paul McConkey, J. T. Riddle and Matt Reida as standouts in fall camp. Henderson noted Reida was the most advanced defensive infielder of the group, though he probably profiles as a second baseman or shortstop. Junior college transfer Thomas McCarthy slugged two home runs and a double during game one of the Fall World Series. McCarthy batted .415 with three home runs and 36 RBI in 36 games for Feather River College in 2010.

Wildcard — We listed UK redshirt freshman football quarterback Ryan Mossakowski as the wildcard in UK’s first base race after The Cat’s Pause reported he would play baseball this spring, but his quarterback’s arm could also fit at third base. Mossakowski is unlikely to contribute early in the 2011 season after missing two years following shoulder surgery in high school, but could fit in later in the season as wide receiver Brian Adams did in the outfield at the end of the 2010 season.

Offseason position battle: UK First Baseman

College Baseball

Braden Kapteyn; Photo: UK Athletics

The start of the 2011 college baseball season is less than two months away, so it’s time to start looking at what Kentucky players need to step up for their respective schools. In the coming weeks we’ll look at an almost-daily series that examines offseason position battles at each of the state’s five division one baseball programs. We’ll begin the series with a look at the University of Kentucky‘s first base slot.

The departed: Senior Gunner Glad and junior Lance Ray were UK’s primary first baseman during the 2010 season. Rising junior Braden Kapteyn is the only returning Cat with significant playing time at first base, but head coach Gary Henderson would probably prefer to keep him at designated hitter for the added flexibility not fielding provides in bringing Kapteyn in on the mound. With Ray and Glad moving on to the professional ranks, finding a new first baseman will be among the most important tasks for Henderson and his staff this Spring.

The returning candidates: In addition to Kapteyn catchers T. J. Daugherty, Luke Maile, Michael Thomas and Michael Williams could each conceivably spend some time at first base, though the group will probably see most of its playing time come behind the plate. Rising sophomore Tyler Townsend is the only returning infielder on the roster with the height one usually relates to a first baseman.

Newcomers to watch: Reports out of UK’s fall camp had freshmen infielders Dallen Reber, Matt Reida, Paul McConkey, and J. T. Riddle pushing for early playing time. Reida and Riddle figure to be primarily middle infielders leaving Reber as probably the leading newcomer candidate at both the vacant corner infield positions. Reber blasted a three-run home run in game two of UK’s fall World Series while playing first base but did have a fielding error in the game.

Wildcard: Matt May of The Cat’s Pause recently reported redshirt freshman football quarterback Ryan Mossakowski would suit up for the Bat Cats this spring. At 6-4 Mossakowski looks the part of a first baseman but will probably need significant time adjusting to SEC baseball after sitting out two years following shoulder surgery as a senior in high school. Mossakowski was named All-District in baseball for his Texas high school twice before the injury.