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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UofL duo named to Golden Spikes Award watch list; Rangers taking it easy with Brandon Webb; NCAA tourney projections

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Latest links around Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Louisville junior infielder Ryan Wright and junior closer Tony Zych have been named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list by USA Baseball. The award goes to the nation’s top college player each season.
  • Richard Skinner of the Cincinnati Enquirer previews Northern Kentucky University‘s season, noting the school is still waiting for word on star slugger Jason Crisper‘s eligibility.
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson, who the Oakland Athletics acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in November.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports the Texas Rangers are taking it easy with former UK right-handed pitcher and Ashland native Brandon Webb, having him throw off a mound every three days instead of every two.
  • Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA has UofL as a No. 2 seed in the Charlottesville regional in his preseason NCAA tournament projection and the University of Kentucky just missing the field.
  • Aaron Fitt of Baseball America has UofL as a No. 3 seed in the Nashville regional in his preseason NCAA tournament projections and also has UK among the teams just missing the field.

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

Nidiffer hopes to play for Legends; Crisper appealing for extra year at NKU; Kearns provides Indians with OF depth

High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Austin Kearns; Photo by Scott Ableman via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com examines the Cleveland Indians outfield, including Lexington native Austin Kearns. Bastian reports Kearns will “provide an experienced right-handed bat to help offset the fact that the trio of regulars all bat from the left side.”
  • Stephen Wilder of the Northerner, the student newspaper of Northern Kentucky University, previews the 2011 Norse and reports 2010 GLVC player of the year Jason Crisper is appealing to the NCAA for a medical hardship that would grant him an extra year of eligibility.
  • Mark Maloney of the Lexington Herald-Leader profiles former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer, who has transitioned to a first baseman as a professional and may be the first former Cat to play for the Lexington Legends.
  • Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal profiles new Ballard High School coach David Trager, a 25-year-old Ballard alum who played four years at Indiana.

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 23 Jason Crisper

College Baseball

Jason Crisper; NKU photo

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s countdown of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down its own list of the top 25 Kentucky college baseball players in advance of the 2011 season. To be eligible, players must  attend a Kentucky college, have attended a Kentucky high school or have been born in the state. We move on to No. 23 today with a Division II all-American.

No 23 — OF Jason Crisper — Northern Kentucky University

On Friday Crisper was named a first-team Division II preseason all-American by Baseball America following a strong 2010 campaign that saw him bat .442 with four home runs, 47 RBI, 75 runs scored and 39 stolen bases in 43 attempts. The outfielder was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the year following the 2010 season and was selected as a third-team Division II all-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

The Cincinnati native may be able to play his way into a late-round draft choice or at least a free-agent contract with a strong follow-up to his 2010 season. Crisper led the Norse last season in batting average, runs scored, doubles, triples, total bases and stolen bases. As a sophomore in 2009 Crisper batted .413 for the Norse, earning all-conference and all-region honors.

NKU OF named DII preseason all-Ameircan; Revere, Chapman among top MiLB prospects at their positions

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Ben Revere; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Northern Kentucky University senior outfielder Jason Crisper has been named a preseason NCAA DII all-American by Baseball America.
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere the No. 9 outfield prospect in MiLB.
  • Mayo ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in MiLB. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 7 on the list.
  • May ranks 2009 Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles the No. 10 right-handed pitching prospect in MiLB.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com answers a few questions about 2010 Louisville Bats in his Reds mailbag, including Travis Wood, Juan Francisco and Chris Valaika.

Kentuckians among ABCA Division II, III and NAIA All-Americans

College Baseball

The American Baseball Coaches Association has released its Division I, II and NAIA All-American teams and several Kentucky players made the cut. Check out those players below. You can see the entire NAIA, Division II and Division III teams by clicking each of the links:

Division II Second Team

  • OF Jason Crisper — Northern Kentucky University

Division II Third Team

  • RHP Kevin Jordan — NKU

Division III Third Team

  • SP Paul Uhl — Thomas Moore College

NAIA First Team

  • OF Troy Frazier — Louisville, Ky. — Cumberland (Tenn.)

NAIA Second Team

  • SP Stephen Shackleford — Louisville, Ky. — SCAD

NKU’s DII tournament run ends in regional semifinals

College Baseball

After losing Friday, Northern Kentucky University won a 15-12, extra-innings thriller against Indianapolis Saturday to stay alive in the NCAA Division II tournament, but lost 6-5 to top-seed Southern Indiana in the second game of the day. The loss eliminated the Norse from the double-elimination regional and ended NKU’s season.

Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the year Jason Crisper was 5-10 with a home run, four runs scored and two RBI in the two Saturday games. The Norse plated three runs in the top of the 10th inning to earn the victory in game one. NKU fell down 6-2 early in game two and scored three runs over the final two innings, but its rally fell short. NKU finished its season at 43-17 with a 24-6 conference record and a 21-3 record at home.

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)