Small College Roundup: Ky. schools off to strong starts

College Baseball

We do not get too much small-college baseball news on BluGrass Baseball very often, mostly because many of the schools’ websites are slow to update and statistical information is often unavailable. However as Georgetown College pointed out with its win over Morehead St. this week, the Kentucky small-college baseball programs deserve some attention too. With that in mind here is the first post in what hopefully will become a semi-regular “Small College Spotlight” series.

Tigers win over Morehead highlights so-so start to 2011

Georgetown College may have secured a win over Division 1 Morehead St. this week, but the Tigers sit at just 12-12 on the season after the big victory. NAIA Georgetown is 3-5 in Mid-South Conference play and is 4-4 at home. Top hitter Tyler Fisher, who was the MVP of the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer, has done his part by batting .366 with five home runs, 14 RBI and 17 runs scored through the first 24 games. Senior right-handed pitcher K. C. Massie has been the Tigers’ best pitcher, boasting a 4-2 record and 2.17 ERA in six starts to go with 31 strikeouts and 11 walks.

NKU holds on to ranking without Crisper

Northern Kentucky University was ranked No. 27 in the latest NCAA DII poll from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and has won eight of its first 12 games despite playing without 2010 Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the year Jason Crisper. The Norse still list Crisper on the 2011 roster but had expected word last month as to whether the NCAA would grant the senior outfielder would a fifth year of eligibility after an injury limited him to seven games as a freshman at Miami (OH). NKU ace Dave Middendorf, a senior left-handed pitcher and 2010 draftee, is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 29 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 26 and one-third innings.

Transy pitcher dazzles in win over defending MWC champs

Transylvania University junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Bugh was outstanding in a 7-1 Transy win over defending Midwest Conference champion Ripon. Bugh surrendered just one run on four hits in a complete-game performance while striking out 10 batters and walking just one. Bugh is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 19 strikeouts to go with 4 walks in 21 and one-third innings on the season. The Pioneers are 6-3 to start the 2011 season.

Thomas Moore, Cumberlands and Union off to strong starts

Transy is not the only Kentucky NCAA DIII school playing well early in the 2011 season as Thomas Moore College has started the year 6-0 and is ranked No. 25 in the latest NCBWA DIII top 25 poll. In NAIA play the University of the Cumberlands and Union College are among the hottest teams in the country. Both teams have already won over 20 games to go with five losses. Union’s 21-5 record is tenth best in the NAIA, and Cumberlands follows close behind at 20-5.

If you are a representative of a Kentucky small-college team and wish your school to be included in a future Small College Roundup send any relevant information to jhale@blugrassbaseball.com.

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Kime, Paquet lead previously drafted Kentucky collegians

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Jonathan Paquet; UK photo by Chet White

As part of BluGrass Baseball‘s ongoing college preview check out this team-by-team breakdown of 2011 Kentucky collegians who have been previously selected in the MLB draft. UofL freshman right-handed pitcher Dace Kime is the only player to have been drafted in the first 10 rounds of the draft, and UK freshman right-handed pitcher Jonathan Paquet is the only player to have been drafted multiple times. Players are listed with the school they were at when drafted, draft round and year.

University of Kentucky

  • RHP Jordan Cooper — Shelbyville Central HS (Tenn.) — 17th round (2009) — Pirates
  • RHP Alex Meyer — Greensburg HS (Ind.) — 20th round (2008) — Red Sox
  • RHP Jonathan Paquet — Quebec/Cardinal Roy HS (Canada) — 22nd round (2010); 46th round (2009) — Phillies, Angels
  • SS Taylor Black — UK — 28th round (2010) — Cardinals
  • INF J. T. Riddle — Western Hills HS — 35th round (2010) — Red Sox
  • LHP Taylor Rogers — Chatfield HS (Col0.) — 37th round (2009) — Orioles
  • OF Lucas Witt — LCA — 38th round (2010) — Dodgers
  • RHP Braden Kapteyn — Illiana Christian School (Ill.) — 39th round (2008) — Giants
  • RHP Sam Kidd — Ohio County HS — 39th round (2009) — Phillies
  • C Luke Maile — Covington Catholic HS — 43rd round (2009) — Red Sox
  • LHP Corey Littrell — Trinity HS — 43rd round (2010) — Nationals
  • OF Brian Adams — South Forsyth HS (Ga.) — 45th round (2009) — Reds
  • INF Matt Reida — Western HS (Ind.) — 47th round (2010) — White Sox

University of Louisville

  • RHP Dace Kime — Defiance HS (Ohio) — 8th Round (2010) — Pirates
  • LHP Keith Landers — St. Peter Martin HS (Mass.) — 18th Round (2008) — Orioles
  • 1B Zak Wasserman — Lakeshore HS (Mich.) — 21st round (2009) — Giants
  • OF Stewart Ijames — UofL — 26th Round (2010) — Yankees
  • RHP Matt Koch — Cherokee Washington HS (Iowa) — 27th round (2009) — Red Sox
  • RHP Chad Green — Floyd Central HS (Ind.) — 37th round (2010) — Blue Jays
  • C Asaad Ali — Niles HS (Mich.) — 40th round (2009) — Angels
  • RHP Tony Zych — St. Rita HS — 46th round (2008) — Cubs

Western Kentucky University

  • RHP Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville HS — 32nd round (2010) — Royals
  • RHP Rye Davis — Edmonson County HS — 36th round (2010) — Indians
  • OF Kes Carter — Ravenwood HS (Tenn.) — 43rd round (2008) — Marlins
  • OF Chris Bullard — Harris Co. HS (Ga.) — 45th round (2007) — Angels
  • C Matt Rice — WKU — 50th round (2010) — Yankees

Northern Kentucky University

  • LHP Dave Middendorf — NKU — 44th round (2010) — Yankees

Out-of-state colleges

  • LHP Jeremy Dobbs — Daviess Co. HS (Austin Peay) — 30th round (2008) — Orioles
  • RHP Casey Lucchese — College of Charleston (PLD) — 39th round (2010) — Cubs
  • OF Cory Farris — Boone Co. HS (Cumberland Univ.) — 43rd round (2008) — White Sox
  • RHP Nick Maronde — Lexington Catholic HS (Florida) — 43rd round (2008) — Athletics
  • OF Ronald Cotton — Boone Co. HS (Cincinnati) — 45th round (2010) — White Sox

Top 25 Ky. Collegians Recap

College Baseball

Check back later for some breakdown of the omissions from the top 25 list, but for now here is the list in one post:

  1. Ryan Wright
  2. Matt Rice
  3. Tony Zych
  4. Stewart Ijames
  5. Rye Davis
  6. Alex Meyer
  7. Kes Carter
  8. Richie Rodriguez
  9. Taylor Black
  10. Jordan Cooper
  11. Matt Koch
  12. Jared Andreoli
  13. Braden Kapteyn
  14. Justin Amlung
  15. Chad Wright
  16. Derek Self
  17. Taylor Davis
  18. Casey Lucchese
  19. Dave Middendorf
  20. Rich Witten
  21. Justin Riddell
  22. Brian Edelen
  23. Jason Crisper
  24. Brandon Elliott
  25. Tyler Fisher

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 19 Dave Middendorf

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with No. 19, a rare example of a returning Division II draftee.

No. 19 — LHP Dave Middendorf — Northern Kentucky University

Dave Middendorf; NKU photo

Senior left-handed pitcher Dave Middendorf returns to NKU after being selected in the 44th round of the 2010 draft by the New York Yankees. Middendorf was 8-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 81 strikeouts to go with 12 walks in 11 starts for NKU in 2010. The Cincinnati native was named first-team all-Great Lakes Valley Conference and all-Midwest Region as a junior. Middendorf returns as NKU’s ace in 2011.

The southpaw held opposing batters to a .246 batting average last season and surrendered just 18 earned runs in 61 and one-third innings.  Middendorf was also named third-team all-GLVC as a sophomore and second-team all-GLVC as a freshman. In his three-season NKU career Middendorf is 16-9 with a 2.97 ERA and 222 strikeouts. Middendorf was was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in four games, including three starts, for the Lexington Hustlers during the summer. He struck out 13 and walked just three in 14 summer innings.

Draft Wrap-up: Winners and Losers

College Baseball

The 2010 draft is in the books for the most part, with only former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton‘s status up in the air, so now is as good a time as any to look at some of the Kentucky winners and losers from the last two-plus months of draft news:

Winners

  • Blake Perry — Each of the Kentucky players who signed a professional contract could be listed among the winners, but we’ll single out Perry for his monumental rise over the last year. When BluGrass Baseball broke Perry’s commitment to UK  just over a year ago he was a little known former Boyle County High School pitcher who was spending his senior season playing baseball in Florida. Turn the clock a year ahead and Perry not only improved his stock enough to be drafted in the sixth round but also negotiated a signing bonus worth more than three times the recommended slot amount for players drafted after the fifth round without the help of an adviser.
  • Northern Kentucky University — The draft is a double-edged sword for college teams. Schools want their players selected for the notoriety and recruiting help such news brings but also face losing valuable underclassmen and high school signees the better they do. NKU earned some rare publicity for a DII school with two draftees, and while rising senior left-handed pitcher Dave Middendorf appeared likely to sign with the Yankees after being selected, he didn’t sign before the deadline and could offer the Norse a rare returning draftee in 2011.
  • Western Kentucky University — The Hilltoppers had about as good a draft as a Sun Belt Conference team could hope for with three prominent 2010 seniors being selected and signed to professional teams while both underclassmen and one signee selected chose to return to school for 2011. WKU did lose signee Michael Mosby to the Orioles, but rising senior catcher Matt Rice, rising redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis and incoming freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman should help the team build on its early 2010 success.

Losers

  • James Paxton — Paxton still hasn’t signed a professional contract with the Mariners, and since his attempt to return to school after being picked in the first-supplemental round in 2009 failed last season he has no college eligibility left. As such he has until a week before the 2011 draft to sign with the Mariners. After dropping to the fourth round in the 2010 draft he stands to lose a substantial amount of money whenever he signs compared to what he would have received if he had signed in 2009. Paxton appears unlikely to suit up in affiliated ball this season unless he signs in the next few days, so he could begin 2011 with just a handful of indy ball innings under his belt over the last two years. Paxton has had some tough breaks since the 2009 draft, but at some point he likely needs to cut his losses, sign a contract and just start pitching again.
  • University of Kentucky — The Cats make the loser list only because they had the most to lose from the draft with 11 underclassmen and signees selected. UK probably expected to lose juniors Chris Bisson and Logan Darnell, but the signings of juniors Matt Little and Lance Ray deal a blow to a depleted bullpen and infield. Ray could have been the center of UK’s 2011 offense, but instead the Cats only really got half a season of production from him before he left for professional ball. The loss of signees Tyler Oliver and Perry only complicates matters. The good news is at least five drafted newcomers will arrive on campus this fall.
  • University of Louisville — The Cards have experienced great success under Dan McDonnell, but he faces his biggest rebuilding job yet in 2011 after losing nine players and one signee to the draft. Four of those loses were seniors, but McDonnell will need to find replacements for key 2010 underclassmen contributors in closer Neil Holland, ace Thomas Royse, slugger Phil Wunderlich, outfielder Josh Richmond and valuable left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer. Rising redshirt junior draftee Stewart Ijames will be back as will two drafted signees, including eighth-round pick Dace Kime.

Northern Kentucky prepares for D2 tournament

College Baseball

Northern Kentucky University will begin the 2010 NCAA Division II tournament Thursday as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. NKU opens with No. 4 Wayne State at 3 p.m. The Norse finished the season in first place in the East division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference and the league’s second best record. Outfielder Jason Crisper was named the GLVC player of the year, and reliever Kevin Jordan was named the conference pitcher of the year. NKU head coach Todd Asalon was named GLVC coach of the year. Crisper and Jordan have also been named semifinalists for the Tino Martinez Award, which goes to the top NCAA Division II player.

NKU, Bellarmine University and Kentucky Wesleyan College also had several players named to the Great Lakes Valley all conference team. I’ve listed them with position at team below:

  • First Team — 2B Jeff Bohlen (NKU), 3B Shannon McCormick (NKU), OF Jason Crisper, UT Patrick Brady (Bellarmine), SP Dave Middendorf (NKU), RP Kevin Jordan (NKU)
  • Second Team — C Brian Erie (NKU), 1B Evan McDole (NKU), 2B Luke Garmon (Kentucky Wesleyan), DH Pat Muth (NKU), SP Jarrett Casey (NKU), SP Ryan Schmidt (NKU)
  • Third Team — OF Bryan Rose (NKU), OF Jordan White (Kentucky Wesleyan), RP Cory Thomas (Bellarmine)

Henderson looks to 2010; Small college honors for Bellarmine, NKU, Campbellsville; WKU postponed

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Gary Henderson; Photo: UK Athletics

Several morning notes to pass along, including a couple of profiles of UK coach Gary Henderson and some small college awards:

  • University of Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson talks about a variety of topics with Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports including the bullpen, James Paxton and Taylor Rogers.
  • Aaron Smith of the Kentucky Kernel profiles Henderson’s transition as a second-year head coach.
  • John Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, born in Pikeville, will not negotiate a long-term deal with the team after Opening Day.
  • Bellarmine senior shortstop Patrick Brady was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the week.
  • The same story from the Courier Journal reports Northern Kentucky University junior Dave Middendorf was named the GLVC pitcher of the week.
  • Campbellsville has also been ranked No. 3 in the preseason National Christian College Athletic Association.
  • Western Kentucky University‘s game at Belmont, originally scheduled for this afternoon, has been postponed until March 3.