UK scores one run in 9th inning to earn 3-2 win over UofL

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Jordan Cooper; UK Athletics photo

The University of Kentucky scored a single run in the ninth inning on a RBI single from senior shortstop Taylor Black to earn a 3-2 win over the University of Louisville. UK junior left fielder Chad Wright doubled with one out in the top of the ninth inning then moved to third on a wild pitch from UofL junior closer Tony Zych. Black then lined the first pitch he saw into right field to put UK ahead. UK freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott was credited with the win after recording the final out of the eighth inning prior to the Cats’ rally.

UK jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the top of the first inning. Wright reached on an error by UofL freshman right-handed pitcher Jeff Gardner to start the game then moved to second on a single from Black. Gardner hit UK junior designated hitter Braden Kapteyn with a pitch to load the bases before UK freshman right fielder J. T. Riddle drove Wright home with a single. Black then scored on a double-play from UK junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy.

UofL got on the board in the sixth inning when sophomore designated hitter Kyle Grieshaber doubled with one out and then scored on a single from redshirt junior right fielder Stewart Ijames. The Cards tied the game in the seventh inning when sophomore third baseman Cade Stallings led off the inning with a single and later scored on a groundout from freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden.

UK sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper took a no decision despite surrendering two runs, one of which was earned, on five hits in six and one-third innings while striking out two batters and walking three. Thompson surrendered two unearned runs on seven hits in three and two-third innings in the start for UofL. Cards junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self took the loss after surrendering one run in one and two-third innings. Wright and Black were both 3-4 in the game for UK. (Box Score)

Player of the game — SS Taylor Black (UK) — 3-4, 1 RBI, 1 R

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Richie Rodriguez, Justin Hageman win week eight awards

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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.)

WKU uses two home runs in 15-5 blowout win over UofL

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Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

Western Kentucky University scored 10 runs through the first three innings of its game versus the University of Louisville and held on for a 15-5 win to even the season series at one win each. Every WKU starter had at least one hit in the game, and seven players has two hits. Senior catcher Matt Rice was 2-4 with one home run, three RBI and two runs scored, and senior designated hitter Chris Bullard was 2-5 with one home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel earned the win after surrendering two runs in two innings pitched.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Chad Green took the loss for UofL after surrendering five runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits in two innings. The Cards were led offensively by junior second baseman Ryan Wright, who was 2-4 with one home run, three RBI and one run scored. Freshman designated hitter Jeff Gardner continued his recent hot streak with a 2-4 performance. WKU junior left fielder Jared Andreoli was 2-5 with one triple, three RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)

Player of the game — C Matt Rice (WKU) — 2-4, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 R

Rhodes, Perkins, Littrell named week seven award winners

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Jacob Rhodes; BluGrass Baseball photo

It’s time for the weekly college baseball awards. Check out the best hitting, pitching and freshman performances from week seven:

Hitter of the week: C Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 8-13 (.615), 1 HR, 1 2B, 8 RBI, 3 R, 5 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Kes Carter (WKU), Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Matt Rice (WKU), Jeff Gardner (UofL), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Ty Stetson (Murray St.), Brandon Eggenscwhiler (Murray St.), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the week: LHP Tanner Perkins (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Hageman (WKU), Mike Nastold (UofL), Justin Amlung (UofL), Jeff Thompson (UofL), Corey Littrell (UK), Taylor Rogers (UK), Alex Meyer (UK), Bryan Babin (Murray St.), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

Freshman of the week: RHP Corey Littrell (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 2 G, 9 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Hageman (WKU), Jeff Gardner (UofL), Jeff Thompson (UofL), Ty Stetson (Murray St.), Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.), Bryan Soloman (EKU)

NCAA roundup: UofL wins rubber match; EKU avoids sweep; WKU, UK, Murray St., Morehead St. lose finales

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Jacob Daniel; BluGrass Baseball photo

Recaps and highlights from Sunday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University suffered its first Sun Belt Conference series loss after dropping its finale 11-6 to UALR Sunday. Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Brian Edelen took the loss after surrendering six runs on six hits in three innings while striking out four batters and walking two. Senior catcher Matt Rice slugged two home runs, drove in four runs and scored twice in the game. Freshman shortstop Scott Wilcox was the only other Hilltopper with multiple hits after finishing the game 2-3 with one walk. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville secured a series victory versus West Virginia with a 6-3 win. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold earned the win after surrendering two unearned runs on three hits in five and one-third innings while striking out five batters and walking two. Freshman designated hitter Jeff Gardner was 3-4 with one double, two RBI and one run scored, and freshman first baseman Ryan Seiz was 2-3 with one double, one triple and two runs scored. Junior right-handed reliever Derek Self struck out five batters in two and two-third scoreless innings. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky dropped its sixth consecutive Southeastern Conference game with a 4-1 loss to No. 3 South Carolina. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers took the loss after surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits in six and one-third innings while striking out five batters and walking three. Junior Michael Williams, making his first career start at third base, was 2-3 with one walk. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University tallied 17 hits and scored 13 runs but could not finish the series sweep of UT Martin after a 14-13 loss. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Ben Lady took the loss after surrendering one unearned run in two-third of an inning, but UT Martin did most of its damage against freshman closer Cameron Finch, who surrendered six runs while recording just two outs. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 4-5 with one RBI and three runs scored. Junior second baseman Travis Isaak and redshirt freshman left fielder Ty Stetson were both 3-6. Junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and junior first baseman Cody Larson both homered in the game. (Box Score)
  • Eastern Kentucky University avoided a series sweep at the hands of Southeast Missouri with an 11-5 win. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler earned the win after surrendering three runs on nine hits in six innings while striking out five batters and walking two. Junior left fielder Jacob Daniel was 3-4 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored, and junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 2-3 with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 3-4 with two runs scored. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University could not avoid a series sweep by SIU Edwardsville with a 15-9 loss. Freshman left-handed pitcher Noah Smallwood took the loss after surrendering seven runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits in four and two-third innings. Junior right fielder Luke Bainer was 3-4 with one home run, one RBI and two runs scored. Junior catcher Taylor Davis and junior catcher Eric Bainer also homered in the game. Eric Bainer added a double, two RBI and two runs. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: LF Jacob Daniel (EKU)

  • Stats: 3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Rice (WKU), Jeff Gardner (UofL), Ryan Seiz (UofL), Michael Williams (UK), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Ty Stetson (Murray St.), Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Luke Bainer (Morehead St.), Eric Bainer (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Mike Nastold (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Derek Self (UofL), Taylor Rogers (UK), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

NCAA roundup: UofL wins; WKU, UK, Morehead St. lose; Murray St. sweeps double-header; EKU swept in twin bill

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Jacob Rhodes; BluGrass Baseball photo

Recaps and highlights from Saturday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • UALR scored six runs in the seventh and eight innings to break open a 2-2 tie and send Western Kentucky University to an 8-2 loss in game two of a three-game series. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Ross Hammonds took the loss after surrendering four runs, two of which were earned, on three hits in two-third of an inning. Junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson was 2-5 with one home run, two RBI and one run scored. The Hilltoppers wasted a strong start from freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman, who surrendered two runs on nine hits in six innings while striking out seven batters and walking one. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville held West Virginia scoreless for the final eight innings of their Saturday game to earn an 8-2 win and even the series at one win each. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung earned the win after surrendering two runs on seven hits in seven innings while striking out three batters and walking none. Freshman catcher Jeff Gardner was 3-3 with one walk and two runs scored, and freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden was 2-2 with two RBI and two runs scored. (Box Score)
  • South Carolina came from behind to send the University of Kentucky to a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. The Gamecocks scored the winning run in the tenth inning on a walkoff infield single that scored Adrian Morales, who had doubled on a misplayed fly ball. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott took the loss after surrendering one run one four hits in two innings. The run was the first earned run Gott had surrendered this season. Freshman center fielder Lucas Witt, junior left fielder Chad Wright and senior shortstop Taylor Black each had three hits for UK. The Cats wasted a strong start from freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell, who surrendered two runs on six hits in six innings in his first Southeastern Conference start. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University used a five-run second inning to earn a 6-3 win in game one of a double-header versus UT Martin. Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers earned the win after surrendering three runs on eight hits in seven innings while striking out three batters and walking none. Junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and redshirt freshman designated hitter Brandon Eggenschwiler were both 3-4 with one walk. Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch recorded the final six outs for his fourth save. (Box Score)
  • The Breds finished the double-header sweep of UT Martin with a 12-4 win in game two. Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze earned the win after surrendering three runs on four hits in five innings. Rhodes was 4-4 with one double, one walk, three RBI and one run scored, and junior second baseman Travis Isaak was 4-5 with one double, one walk, three RBI and three runs scored. Redshirt freshman left fielder Ty Stetson scored four runs in the game. (Box Score)
  • Southeast Missouri scored one run in the top of the ninth inning to send Eastern Kentucky University to a 7-6 loss in game one of a double-header. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani took the loss after surrendering one run in one inning of relief. Sophomore second baseman Matt Phipps, senior center fielder Ryan Faidley and freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman each had two hits in the game. Soloman slugged his third home run of the season. (Box Score)
  • UT Martin finished the double-header sweep by sending EKU to a 13-6 loss in game two. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath took the loss after surrendering three runs on eight hits in two and one-third innings. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel and freshman catcher Steve Ferraro were both 2-2 in the game. Soloman slugged his second home run of the day and drove in four runs, and Ferraro slugged his first career home run. (Box Score)
  • SIU Edwardsville scored two runs in the eighth inning to break open a 4-4 tie and send Morehead State University to a 6-4 loss in game two of a three-game series. Junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss after surrendering two runs on four hits in two and one-third innings. Senior left fielder Daniel Pugh was 2-4 with one run scored, and junior third baseman Andrew Deeds slugged his fourth home run of the season. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: C Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 7-8, 1 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Jeff Gardner (UofL), Alex Chittenden (UofL), Chad Wright (UK), Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.), Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Steve Ferraro (EKU), Daniel Pugh (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Hageman (WKU), Corey Littrell (UK), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Jake Donze (Murray St.)

Opening Weekend Review: University of Louisville

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As the first weekend of the Kentucky college baseball season wraps up we’ll breakdown each of the six Kentucky Division I team’s opening weekend. We’ll start with the first team to finish its weekend schedule: The University of Louisville.

  • Pitching dominates: The Cards finished the weekend with a Big East/Big Ten Challenge-record 23 consecutive scoreless innings after shutouts on Saturday and Sunday. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was outstanding Saturday, striking out four and allowing just four hits in seven and two-third scoreless innings. On Sunday four UofL pitchers, Mike Nastold, Chad Green, Jeff Gardner and Gabriel Shaw, combined on a three-hit shutout of Big Ten-favorite Minnesota. Juniors Derek Self and Tony Zych held Michigan scoreless over the last five innings in UofL’s friday game, meaning the only UofL pitcher to surrender a run on the weekend was sophomore Matt Koch, who surrendered three runs in five innings pitched.
  • Zych proves his worth: UofL preseason All-American closer Tony Zych saved each of the Cards’ first two wins with scoreless ninth innings. Zych struck out four batters and just surrendered two hits in two innings of work. With Zych unavailable out of UofL bullpen on Tuesday, senior right-handed reliever Gabriel Shaw pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save of the season. If Zych and Shaw keep up their pitching performances from the first weekend they should present the Cards with one of the best bullpen combos in the country.
  • Freshmen contribute in debuts: At the plate six UofL freshmen combined to go 6-37 (.161.) during the Big East/Big Ten Challenge, but if you remove the stats of freshman center fielder Adam Engel and shortstop Alex Chittenden the other four freshmen combined to go 5-17 (.294) with two runs scored and three RBI. Freshmen Ryan Seiz, Ty Young, Cole Sturgeon and Kyle Gibson each tallied at least one hit in the series. On the mound freshmen reliever Chad Green and Jeff Thompson combined to throw five scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks.

University of Louisville Media Day Roundup

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The University of Louisville baseball team hosted its annual media day on Monday. Check out some newsworthy notes I pulled from head coach Dan McDonnell’s audio, which UofL was nice enough to post on its website, and stories from the River City media:

  • McDonnell noted despite the massive turnover on his roster from last season the goals remain the same: win the Big East Conference, make the NCAA tournament, host a NCAA regional, make it to Omaha and win a College World Series.
  • McDonnell confirmed the weekend rotation we projected a couple of weeks ago. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch will start on Fridays, redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung will start on Saturdays and redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold will start on Sundays. At least early in the season Nastold’s innings will be limited as he returns from injury.
  • Freshmen infielders Alex Chittenden and Adam Engel will start for the Cards, most likely at shortstop and designated hitter respectively. McDonnell said freshmen Ty Young, Ryan Seiz, Kyle Gibson and Jeff Gardner will also push for playing time.
  • McDonnell said if Chittenden did not work out at shortstop, he would move All-American Ryan Wright from second back to shortstop and play Young at second base.
  • Wright is an “RBI mongrel,” McDonnell said, noting he didn’t think another player in America had 146 RBI in his first two college seasons.
  • Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich writes big league teams are starting to take notice of Wright after his outstanding first two years on campus.
  • C. L. Brown of the Courier-Journal reports UofL is looking to build on its recent history of success.
  • You can listen to the audio of McDonnell’s news conference via UofL Sports here.

Offseason position battle: UofL catcher

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Jeff Arnold; UofL Sports wallpaper

To begin the fourth lap in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant University of Louisville catching position.

The departed — San Francisco Giants draftee Jeff Arnold, a 2010 UofL senior, started all 63 games for the Cards in 2010, serving as the primary catcher for the Big East Conference champions. Arnold batted .306 with three home runs, 32 RBI, 64 runs scored and 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts. The Male High School graduate was named second-team All Big East following the 2010 season, and the Giants selected him in the 26th round of the MLB draft. Behind the plate Arnold threw out 41.2 percent of opposing base runners attempting to steal a base.

Returning candidates — Senior catcher J. J. Ethel batted .303 with two home runs, 15 RBI and 15 runs scored in 41 games for UofL in 2010 after transferring from Scottsdale Community College. Opposing base runners were successful in 53.8 (7-13) percent of stolen base attempts against Ethel in 2010. During the UofL Fall World Series Ethel started each of the five games for assistant coach Xan Barksdale’s team, going 6-20 with two runs scored and two RBI.

Newcomers to watch — Freshman catcher Kyle Gibson was named first-team all-state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association following his senior season at Henderson County High School. As a senior Gibson batted .485 with 20 home runs, seven triples, 15 doubles, 67 RBI and 61 runs scored. Gibson set a Kentucky high school record with home runs in five consecutive games as senior and was 4-15 with three runs scored and an RBI during the Fall World Series. Gibson started all five games in the series including two at catcher…Freshman catcher Jeff Gardner was name honorable mention all-state by KHSBCA after his senior season at Whitfield Academy in Louisville. Gardner starter each game during the Fall World Series, including three at catcher during the Fall World Series, going 3-12 with three walks, two runs scored and three RBI.

Wildcard — Sophomore Asaad Ali didn’t see any action as freshman, and may reprise his role as the team’s bullpen catcher after not appearing during the Fall World Series. Still head coach Dan McDonnell could decide to give Ali, who is the adopted son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, some playing time. Ali was the 40th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels out of high school in 2009. While Ali could qualify as a redshirt freshman since he didn’t play in 2010 the UofL roster lists him as a sophomore.

2011 Newcomers: University of Louisville

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The University of Louisville has posted its 2011 season roster on the athletic department website, which means we have the official list of newcomers for next season. You can see the full roster here, but I’ve listed the newcomers with position and former school below:

  • 2B/SS — Alex Chittenden — FR — Lawrence Central HS (Ind.)
  • INF — Adam Engel — FR — Loveland HS (Ohio)
  • LHP — Cody Edge — FR — Cherokee Washington HS (Iowa)
  • C — Kyle Gibson — FR — Henderson County High School
  • OF/LHP — Cole Sturgeon — FR — Owensboro Catholic High School
  • 3B/OF — Ryan Seiz — FR — Christopher Dock HS (Penn.)
  • RHP — Chad Green — FR — Effingham HS (Ill.)
  • LHP/1B — Brad Hedden — FR — Roxbury HS (N. J.)
  • RHP/3B — Brandon Alphin — FR — Bullitt East High School
  • SS — Ty Young — FR — Malvern Preparatory HS (Penn.)
  • RHP — Travis Tingle — JR — Cleveland State
  • C — Jeff Gardner — FR — Whitefield Academy
  • RHP — Jeff Thompson — FR — Floyd Central HS (Ind.)
  • RHP — Dace Kime — FR — Defiance HS (Ohio)