Offseason position battle: Murray St. closer

College Baseball

We are closing out the “offseason position battle” series with a look at the three vacant Kentucky closer positions, starting today with Murray State University.

The departed — Left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha, a 2010 senior, was Murray State’s top reliever last season, finishing the season at 5-3 with a 3.90 ERA. McGaha pitched enough innings out of the Breds’ bullpen to qualify for the ERA title and recorded three saves on the season. The right-handed pitcher struck out 52 batters and walked 13 in 67 innings pitched on the season…Right-handed pitcher Dan Huff, a 2010 senior, led Murray St. with four saves in 2010. Huff was 1-4 with an 8.35 ERA in 18 games, including six starts.

Returning candidates — No returning Murray St. reliever recorded a save in 2010, but sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Major had the most success out of the pen of any Breds returner. Major did not record a decision and posted a 3.60 ERA in four appearances, including one start. Major struck out four batters and walked nine in 10 innings pitched…Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ben Lady is the returning reliever with the most innings pitched at 20 and one-third innings, but struggled to the tune of a 7.97 ERA in 2010…No returning Murray St. reliever other than Major posted an ERA below 6.35 in 2010.

Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Bryan Babin had moderate success as a reliever for Mississippi Gulf Coast College in 2010, going 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched. Babin struck out 23 batters and walked 11 in 13 appearances…Junior college transfer Luke Shuemaker proved able to miss bats with 40 strikeouts in 50 and two-third innings pitched for Rend Lake College in 2010…Junior college transfer Mark Roberts posted a save and five wins for Lincoln Trail College in 2010 while striking out 35 batters and walking 25 in 55 innings pitched…Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle Cornett was named first-team all state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior at Eastern High School and could serve as a valuable reliever if he does not start for the Breds…Freshman right-handed pitcher Tyler Saltsman was named second-team all-state by KHSBCA as a senior at Grayson County High School.

Wildcard — Freshman two-way player Brock Downey may be called on to pitch and play outfield for the Breds in 2011. As a senior left-handed pitcher at Murray High School Downey posted a 2.18 ERA and 102 strikeouts. KHSBCA named him first-team all-state and the Region 1 player of the year as a senior. Downey batted .550 and stole 52 bases as a senior at the plate. Considering no Murray St. reliever posted more than four saves in 2010 there is a good chance head coach Rob McDonald may use a revolving set of pitchers in the late innings all season.

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Offseason position battle: Murray St. starting pitchers

College Baseball

In the fifth Murray State University post of the “offseason position battle series we will look at the vacant weekend starting pitching slots.

The departed — Right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft, a 2010 senior, served as the Murray State ace for each of the last two seasons, being named second-team all-Ohio Valley Conference following the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Craycraft was 6-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, for the Breds in 2010. The Lexington native struck out 72 batters and walked 35 in 92 and two-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitcher Alex Love, a 2010 senior, was 8-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 19 games, including eight starts, for the Breds last season. Love struck out 35 batters and walked 23 in 70 and one-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitchers Marc Harmon and Dan Huff, both 2010 seniors, combined to make 13 starts for Murray St. last season but neither finished the year with an ERA below 8.35.

Returning candidates — Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze made 16 starts for Murray St. in 2010 and finished the season at 6-6 with a 6.02 ERA. Donze struck out 71 batters and walked 56 in 83.2 innings pitched and enters 2011 as the Breds de facto ace…Sophomore right-handed pitchers Joe Major, Will Handlin, and Ben Lady each made one start for Murray St. in 2010. Major was the only returning Murray St. pitcher to finish 2010 with a sub-4.00 ERA, but he logged just 10 innings pitched on the season.

Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Bryan Babin pitched four shutout innings in the decisive game of the Murray St. Fall World Series. Babin, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched as a sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…Junior college transfer Luke Shuemaker, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 4-2 with a 5.15 ERA in 50 and two-third innings pitched for Rend Lake College in 2010…Junior college transfer Mark Roberts, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 55 innings pitched for Lincoln Trail College in 2010…Freshman left-handed pitchers Kyle Cornett and Brock Downey were both named first-team all-state as a seniors by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association…Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch was named first-team all state as a senior in Collierville, Tenn., and pitched eight complete games and two no-hitters in 2010.

Wildcard — The Breds have no shortage of starting pitcher candidates as head coach Rob McDonald brought in nine new pitchers to the 2011 pitching staff. Junior Tyler Beers, a junior college transfer, may be needed to man the vacant first base position for the Breds, but he also logged experience as a right-handed pitcher at Mineral Area college. Beers was 2-7 with a 6.12 ERA as a sophomore, but proved to be an innings eater after striking out 55 in 64 and two-third innings pitched.

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboad: June 1

College Baseball

Check out the pitching leaderboard updated through conference tournament action. Stats are final for every team except UofL, which is still playing in the NCAA tournament. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which makes Murray St. left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha the only eligible full-time reliever. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.91
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.01
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.90
  • Justin Amlung — UofL — 4.01
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 4.31

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 9-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 9-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 8-0
  • Alex Love — Murray St. — 8-1
  • Derek Self — UofL — 7-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 7-5

Strikeouts

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 94
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 90
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 80
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 72
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 71

Innings Pitched

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 99.0
  • Matt Ridings — WKU —92.2
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 92.2
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 87.1
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 83.2

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 16
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 12
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 9
  • Matt Little — UK — 7
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 4

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .218
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .252
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .264
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .270
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — .278

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 33
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 30
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 29
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 27
  • Gabriel Shaw — UofL — 27
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 27

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboard: May 25

College Baseball

Check out the final regular season pitching leaderboard below. As with the offensive categories, stats will continue to update for postseason teams, but this represents the final update for Morehead St. and likely UK. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which makes Murray St. left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha the only eligible full-time reliever. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.71
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.01
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.36
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 4.28
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 4.89

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 9-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 9-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 7-0
  • Derek Self — UofL — 7-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 7-5

Strikeouts

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 90
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 88
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 74
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 64
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 64

Innings Pitched

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 93.0
  • Matt Ridings — WKU —92.2
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 85.2
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 83.0
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 81.0

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 15
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 11
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 9
  • Matt Little — UK — 7
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 4

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .218
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .249
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .258
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — .272
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .275

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 32
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 28
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 28
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 25
  • Gabriel Shaw — UofL — 25
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 25

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboard: Week 14

College Baseball

In the second weekly statistics leaderboard update, we’ll look at the pitching categories. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which makes Murray St. left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha the only full-time reliever eligible. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.61
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.16
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.29
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 4.20
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 4.77

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 9-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 9-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 7-0
  • Derek Self — UofL — 7-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 7-4

Strikeouts

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 85
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 82
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 69
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 64
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 63

Innings Pitched

  • Matt Ridings — WKU —88.1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 86.1
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 82.1
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 79.0
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 63.2

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 13
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 9
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 9
  • Matt Little — UK — 7
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 4

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .223
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .254
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .255
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — .272
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .278

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 31
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 25
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 25
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 23
  • Gabriel Shaw — UofL — 23
  • Matt Little — UK — 23

Midweek Schedule: Week 14

College Baseball

Check out the short midweek schedule below. Remember now that classes are out of session several teams will start their weekend series on Thursday. Today’s game against UofL is the regular season finale for EKU, and if the Colonels are knocked out of sixth in the OVC to miss the conference tournament it will be their last game of the season.

Tuesday

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboard: May 11

College Baseball

In the second weekly statistics leaderboard update, we’ll look at the pitching categories. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which makes Murray St. left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha the only full-time reliever eligible. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.38
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.38
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.62
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 3.95
  • Derek Self — UofL — 4.03

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 8-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 9-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 7-0
  • Derek Self — UofL — 7-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 7-4

Strikeouts

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 77
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 77
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 67
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 59
  • Alex Meyer — UK — 58
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 58

Innings Pitched

  • Matt Ridings — WKU —80.0
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 79.1
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 76.1
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 75.2
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 69.2

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 12
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 8
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 8
  • Matt Little — UK — 7
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 4

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .238
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .251
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .261
  • Alex Meyer — UK — .263
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .278

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 29
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 23
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 23
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 22
  • Five tied at 21

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboard: May 4

College Baseball

In the second weekly statistics leaderboard update, we’ll look at the pitching categories. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which just makes Murray St. reliever Matt McGaha eligible, but excludes new UofL weekend starting pitcher Gabriel Shaw and Cards closer Neil Holland. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.65
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.59
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.94
  • Derek Self — UofL — 3.94
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 4.08

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 8-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 8-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 7-0
  • Derek Self — UofL — 6-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 6-3

Strikeouts

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 67
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 66
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 65
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 55
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 54

Innings Pitched

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 72.2
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 71.1
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 70.1
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 67.1
  • Logan Darnell — UK — 67.1

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 11
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 8
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 8
  • Matt Little — UK — 6
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 4

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .246
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .256
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .268
  • Derek Self — UofL — .274
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .278

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 27
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 21
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 21
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 21
  • Matt Little — UK — 20
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 20

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboard: April 27

College Baseball

In the second weekly statistics leaderboard update, we’ll look at the pitching categories. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which just makes Murray St. reliever Matt McGaha eligible, but excludes new UofL weekend starting pitcher Gabriel Shaw and Cards closer Neil Holland. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.56
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.51
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.76
  • Derek Self — UofL — 3.95
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — 4.15

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 7-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 7-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 6-0
  • Derek Self — UofL — 6-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 6-3

Strikeouts

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 61
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 62
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 59
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 54
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 53

Innings Pitched

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 66.2
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 63.1
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 63.1
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 63.1
  • Logan Darnell — UK — 61.0

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 10
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 8
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 7
  • Matt Little — UK — 6
  • Cody Gibson — Morehead St. — 3
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 3
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3

Batting Average Against

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .245
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .254
  • Derek Self — UofL — .259
  • Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — .272
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — .274

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 25
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 21
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 21
  • Neill Holland — UofL — 19
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 19
  • Greg Terry — EKU — 19

BluGrass Baseball Pitching Leaderboard: April 20

College Baseball

In the second weekly statistics leaderboard update, we’ll look at the pitching categories. To qualify for the ERA and batting average against, pitchers must have a minimum of 1.0 IP per team game, which just makes UofL closer Neil Holland and Murray St. reliever Matt McGaha eligible, but excludes new UofL weekend starting pitcher Gabriel Shaw. Stats are current through Sunday. The college leaderboard is now permanently accessible on its own page on the left sidebar here.

ERA

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 1.50
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 2.45
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3.75
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 3.99
  • Derek Self — UofL — 3.40

Wins

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 7-1
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 7-1
  • Neil Holland — UofL — 6-0
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 6-3
  • Derek Self — UofL — 5-0
  • Alex Love — Murray St. — 5-0
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 5-2
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 5-4

Strikeouts

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 57
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 54
  • Alex Meyer — UK — 52
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — 51
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 50

Innings Pitched

  • Matt Ridings — WKU — 58.2
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — 58.2
  • Chris Craycraft — Murray St. — 58.0
  • Taylor Rogers — UK — 56.2
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — 55

Saves

  • Neil Holland — UofL — 8
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU — 8
  • Rye Davis — WKU — 7
  • Matt Little — UK — 6
  • Cody Gibson — Morehead St. — 3
  • Dan Huff — Murray St. — 3
  • Matt McGaha — Murray St. — 3

Batting Average Against

  • Neil Holland — UofL — .145
  • Thomas Royse — UofL — .249
  • Matt Ridings — WKU — .251
  • Shane Cameron — WKU — .262
  • Jake Donze — Murray St. — .268

Appearances

  • Rye Davis — WKU — 22
  • Matt Harris — EKU — 20
  • Ryne Purcell — EKU 19
  • Craig Stem — WKU — 18
  • Josh Schneider — Morehead St. — 18
  • Greg Terry — EKU — 18