Offseason position battle: Murray St. outfielder

College Baseball

Zach Noonan; BluGrass Baseball photo

In the fourth Murray State University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant outfield position.

The departed — Outfielder Daniel Hill, a 2010 senior, started 33 games in right field and six as the designated hitter for the Breds in 2010. On the season he batted .284 with five home runs, 37 RBI and 33 runs scored. As a junior Hill batted .344 with a then school-record 16 home runs…Utility man Bryan Propst started 26 games in left field, five games in right field, five games at first base and 15 as the Breds’ designated hitter in 2010. Propst was second on the team in batting (.366), home runs (14), runs scored (57), hits (75), RBI (56) and total bases (140). He tied for the team lead with 19 doubles.

Returning candidates — The Breds return their every day center fielder in senior Elliot Frey, who started 51 games in the outfield in 2010, and corner outfielder senior Zach Noonan, who started 50 games in the outfield last season… The race for the third outfield spot is wide open as Murray state returns just one player who started a game in the outfield in 2010, and that player, senior catcher Drew Pixley, started just one game…Freshman outfielder Brandon Eggenschwiler and Ty Stetson both redshirted during the 2010 season.

Newcomers to watch — Murray St. head coach Rob McDonald added two junior college transfers to the outfield mix for the 2011 Breds. Redshirt sophomore Paul Ritzheimer comes to Murray from Kaskaskia Community College where he batted .405 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a freshman…Junior outfielder Cody Larson batted .263 with three home runs, 16 RBI and 16 runs scored as a sophomore at Skyline Junior College…Freshman left-handed pitcher and outfielder Brock Downey was named first-team all state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior at Murray High School. Downey batted .550 with 52 stolen bases as a senior.

Wildcard — The wildcard in the Murray State outfield race may be the only returning reserve who started a game in the outfield in 2010: senior catcher Drew Pixley. The Breds boast five catchers on the roster with Pixley and junior college transfer Jacob Rhodes leading the race for playing time. If McDonnell wants to get both players in the lineup, he could try Pixley in the outfield once again.

BluGrass Baseball Tuesday Review: Week 14

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The two non-OVC teams swept the in-state matchups Friday in the season’s last mid-week games. Check out recaps and awards from the games below:

  • No. 11 University of Louisville rode five RBI from senior catcher Jeff Arnold to a 14-3 blowout of Eastern Kentucky University Tuesday. Arnold was 2-5 with two runs scored, and five Cardinals tallied at least two hits in the game. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich was 3-5 with a run scored and RBI. Junior center fielder Josh Richmond, who was playing in his fourth game since missing 29 games with a broken hand, launched his first home run of the season. EKU senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando launched his 17th home run of the season. UofL senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Mathis was credited with the win after pitching two perfect innings. (Box Score)
  • Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Devine earned his first University of Kentucky career victory in a 6-3 win over Murray State University. Devine allowed one run on three hits in five and one-third innings and struck out four while walking one. UK junior second baseman Chris Bisson was 2-5 in the game, and six different Cats scored a run. Murray St. senior catcher Jason Laws and senior outfielder Daniel Hill each homered in the game. UK left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell earned his first save of the season but surrendered two runs in one and two-third innings. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: C Jeff Arnold (UofL)

  • Stats: 2-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 3B
  • Honorable Mention: Andrew Clark (UofL), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Anthony Ottrando (EKU), Chris Bisson (UK), Jason Laws (Murray St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Joe Devine (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Tyler Mathis (UofL), Eric Sanders (EKU), Marc Harmon (Murray St.)

BluGrass Baseball Wednesday Review: Week 11

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Recaps from Tuesday action on the diamond:
  • Murray State University gave No. 14 Mississippi everything it could handle, but the Rebels defeated the Breds 11-10 in 10 innings. Senior first baseman Wes Cunningham homered and drove in four runs, and senior right fielder Daniel Hill tallied three hits in the game. Redshirt freshman reliever Will Handlin took the loss after surrendering a walkoff home run in the 10th. (Box Score)
  • Freshman right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson picked up his first career victory in Morehead State University‘s 3-2 win over Marshall. Gibson surrendered just two hits and one walk in four and two-third innings. Sophomore third baseman Andrew Deeds was 3-3 with two runs scored, and senior designated hitter Michael Bottoms scored the Eagles other run. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: 3B Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 3-3, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Daniel Hill (Murray St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Cody Gibson (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 1-0, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Ben Lady (Murray St.), Jeff Arnold (Morehead St.)

Tuesday NCAA Recaps: WKU, Morehead defeat border rivals

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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)

BluGrass Baseball Week Seven Awards

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Player of the Week: 1B Andrew Clark (UofL)

  • Stats: 10-18 (.556), 4 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R
  • Honorable Mention: Gunner Glad (UK), Travis Redmon (Morehead State), Drew Lee (Morehead), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead), Wes Cunningham (Murray State), Daniel Hill (Murray St.), Adam Duvall (UofL), Zack Cox (Arkansas, PRP), Matt Payton (WKU)

Pitcher of the Week: LHP Dean Kiekhefer (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jeff Arnold (Morehead St.), Nick Kennedy (UK), Sean Bouthilette (UK), Thomas Royse (UofL), Matt Ridings (WKU), Alex Love (Murray St.), Chris Craycraft (Murray St.)

Freshman of the Week: 3B Colton Moore (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 7-18, 2 R, 7 RBI, 2 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Blake Crabtree (WKU), Walter Wijas (UK)

BluGrass Baseball Saturday Review: Week Seven

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Player of the day: OF Daniel Hill (Murray State)

  • Stats: 7-10, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 2Bs, 5 runs
  • Honorable Mention: Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Matt Rice (WKU), Drew Lee (Morehead St.), Adam Duvall (UofL), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Gunner Glad (UK), Jayson Langfels (EKU)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Dean Kiekhefer (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, CG, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Ridings (WKU), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Rye Davis (WKU)

Athletic Department Recaps

Sunday Ohio Valley recaps and review


Each of the state’s three ranked Division One schools were off Sunday, but the three Ohio Valley Conference teams finished their series. Check out brief recaps of those games below:

  • Senior right fielder Daniel Hill was 2-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI to lead Murray State University to a 9-6 win over Austin Peay. Redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze earned the win after allowing five runs on eight hits in eight innings with four walks and nine strikeouts. (Box Score)
  • Junior third baseman Jayson Langfels drove home two runs with a single in the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie and lead Eastern Kentucky University to a 7-6 victory over Eastern Illinois. Sophomore shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 3-5 with two runs scored in the game, and sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Harris earned his second win of the series in relief.
  • Southeast Missouri pounded out 15 runs despite rainy weather to defeat Morehead State University 15-7 in the series finale Sunday. Sophomore catcher Taylor Davis was 2-5 with two home runs and five RBI. (Box Score)

Hitter of Day — Taylor Davis (Morehead)

  • Stats: 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI

Pitcher of Day — Jake Donze (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 9 SO

WKU scores 12 in first three innings in 14-5 win over Murray

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No. 22 Western Kentucky University made good on its national ranking in the first game since receiving the honor with a 14-5 win over in-state rival Murray State University. WKU scored six runs in the second and third innings to jump out to an early 12-1 lead and never looked back. Sophomore center fielder Jared Andreoli was 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored in the game. Every Hilltopper tallied at least one hit in the game.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Craig Stem earned the victory after recording the last two outs in the fourth inning for WKU. Murray State redshirt junior reliever Jake Donze took the loss after allowing six runs in one and one-third innings. Junior center fielder Elliot Frey and senior designated hitter Daniel Hill each tallied two hits for the Breds.

BluGrass Baseball POG: Jared Andreoli — In a game where every WKU starter recorded a hit, the sophomore outfielder from Wisconsin was most impressive with two hits, a home run and three RBI in the game to lead the Hilltoppers to their 17th win of the season. Andreoli’s long ball was his first of the season.

Early runs lead Murray St. to 8-3 win over Southern Illinois

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Murray State University plated seven runs in the first three innings Wednesday to jump out to an early lead in what ended up as an 8-3 win over Southern Illinois. Junior left fielder Zach Noonan and senior first baseman Wes Cunningham each tallied two hits for the Thoroughbreds, and Noonan also launched a home run. Senior right fielder Daniel Hill drove in three runs for Murray State.

Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Jake Donze earned his second victory over the season after allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings. Donze struck out three and walked three. Senior left-handed reliever Matt McGaha pitched two scoreless innings out of the Breds’ bullpen. Murray State improved to 8-8 on the season. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball POG: Zach Noonan — Noonan finished the game 3-4 with a home run and one RBI and scored four of Murray State’s eight runs. The long ball was Noonan’s first of the season, and on the year he is batting .367 with seven RBI and 21 runs scored.

Murray State blows out Lipscomb 16-6 to clinch series

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Murray State University clinched its first series victory of the 2010 season with a 16-6 blowout victory of Lipscomb Saturday. Senior designated hitter and preseason BluGrass Baseball All-State first baseman Wes Cunningham was 2-6 with a home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Junior center fielder Elliot Frey, senior right-fielder Daniel Hill and junior left fielder Zach Noonan each drove in two runs in the game. All but one Murray starter scored a run, and all but two scored at least two runs.

On the mound redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze allowed three runs, one earned, in six innings to pick up the win. Donze struck out five, walked four and allowed five hits. Senior left-handed reliever Matt McGaha recorded a save with three innings of relief to close the game, but did allow three runs in the ninth. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball POG: Wes Cunningham — Cunningham is the best player in Kentucky without any recognition. Look for the first baseman to post games like this throughout the season in the way to a possible .400 season and a 2010 draft pick this summer.