In the third Eastern Kentucky University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant catching position.
The departed — Two-year starter Joey Stevens, a 2010 senior, started 42 games for the Colonels in 2010. On the season he batted .276 with two home runs, 24 RBI and 19 runs scored. Stevens recorded a .335 on-base percentage and .368 slugging percentage. Opposing runners were successful in 35 of 43 stolen base attempts (86 percent) against Stevens on the season. Stevens was charged with six passed balls and two errors in 2010.
Returning candidates — Junior A. J. Jamison served as Stevens’ primary backup in 2010, starting seven games and appearing in 19 games total. Jamison batted .208 with one home run, six RBI and four runs scored on the season. Opposing runners were successful in all eight stolen base attempts against Jamison last season…Junior Brian Shrimpton also saw some time behind the plate for EKU in 2010, especially early in the season. Shrimpton started six games and appeared in 11 total. On the season he was 1-22 (.045), and opposing runners were successful in 19 of 21 stolen base attempts (91.3 percent) against him.
Newcomers to watch — EKU added two catchers to the 2011 roster in the form of freshmen Sean Hagen and Steve Ferraro. In a news release announcing Hagen’s signing EKU head coach Jason Stein described him as a “complete catcher who can catch, throw and block,” adding he was a very offensive-minded player, as well.” As a junior at Reading High School in Pennsylvania, Hagen batted .469 with six home runs and 29 RBI. Stein said Hagen would fill an immediate need at catcher with Stevens’ graduation.
Wildcard — With four catchers on the Colonels’ roster any wildcard in this race would have to come from nowhere. EKU has nine infielders on the roster so if an unlikely position change were to occur that would likely be the first place to look.
Awards from the final regular season week of the Kentucky college baseball season:
Player of the week: SS Adam Duvall (UofL)
- Stats: 7-18 (.389), 2 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI, 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 SB
- Honorable Mention: Brian Adams (UK), Logan Robbins (WKU), Ryan Huck (WKU), Bryan Propst (Murray St.), Joey Stevens (EKU), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the week: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)
- Stats: 1-0, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO
- Honorable Mention: Thomas Royse (UofL), Joe Devine (UK), Shane Cameron (WKU), Matt Ridings (WKU), Matt McGaha (Murray St.), Paul Duncan (EKU), Eric Sanders (EKU), Michael Bottoms (Morehead St.)
Freshman of the week: OF Brian Adams (UK)
- Stats: 8-14 (.571), 1 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 3 R, 6 RBI
- Honorable Mention: Justin Amlung (UofL), Cade Stallings (UofL), Ryan Huck (WKU), Taylor Haydel (WKU), Anthony Bazzani (EKU)
Saturday was a raining day on the diamond for Kentucky teams. UK, WKU, Morehead State and Murray State were all rained out, and EKU lost one game of its doubleheader to weather. The Colonels and Cards did manage to get in one game each, so check out recaps and awards from those contests below:
- Freshman right-handed reliever Matt Koch earned his first career victory with three scoreless innings of relief in No. 13 University of Louisville‘s 3-1 victory over Seton Hall. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland recorded his tenth save of the season after recording the last five outs of the game. Senior shortstop Adam Duvall was 2-3 with a run scored, and senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich and redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames both homered. (Box Score)
- Eastern Kentucky University wasted a 7-1 lead in an 18-9 loss to UT Martin. Junior third baseman Jayson Langfels was 3-5 with two home runs, five RBI and three runs scored. Senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando tallied three hits and two RBI. Freshman right-handed reliever Chris Barte was the only Colonel pitcher to hold UT Martin scoreless in his appearance. Barte recorded the final two outs of the game. (Box Score)
Hitter of the Day: 3B Jayson Langfels (EKU)
- Stats: 3-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R
- Honorable Mention: Adam Duvall (UofL), Anthony Ottrando (EKU), Joey Stevens (EKU), Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL)
Pitcher of the Day: RHP Matt Koch (UofL)
- Stats: 1-0, 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
- Honorable Mention: Neil Holland (UofL), Dean Kiekhefer (UofL)
Check out a recap from EKU’s Tuesday win and more notes from the WKU offensive onslaught:
- Eastern Kentucky University beat up on NAIA University of the Cumberlands for a 15-2 win Tuesday. Sophomore outfielder Michael Garcia was 2-3 with four RBI and a run scored. Junior outfielder Richie Allen and senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando both homered for the Colonels. (Box Score)
- You can read the full recap of the Western Kentucky University romp over the University of Kentucky below, but there are just too many stats to consider to condense into one post. The game was played in front of 6,183 fans, the largest crowd to ever watch a college baseball game in Kentucky. WKU became just the fourth team to have 16 consecutive batters reach base in a game and the first since 1998. (Box Score)
- Mike Stunson of the College Heights Herald recaps the WKU win.
- Nick Baumgardner of the Bowling Green Daily News also has a recap of the blowout.
Hitter of the Day: C Matt Rice (WKU)
- Stats: 5-6, 1 HR, 2 2Bs, 3 RBI, 3 R
- Honorable Mention: Matt Payton (WKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Logan Robbins (WKU), Lance Ray (UK), Joey Stevens (EKU), Michael Garcia (EKU)
Pitcher of the Day: RHP Brian Edelen (WKU)
- Stats: 1-0, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
- Honorable Mention: Ross Hammonds (WKU), Anthony Bazzani (EKU), Chase Greene (UK)
- Greene gets the nod for being the only UK pitcher with any success against WKU.
Marcus Nidiffer; Photo: UK Athletics
Links to Athletic Department recaps of Tuesday games:
- The University of Louisville (11) rallied for an 8-7 win over Evansville with two runs in the top of the ninth inning. Senior infielder Phil Wunderlich and redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames both homered for the Cards. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland earned his third win of the season. (Box Score)
- Home runs from junior shortstop Taylor Black, sophomore right fielder Cory Farris and senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer led the University of Kentucky to a 11-6 win over Xavier. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Nick Kennedy picked up his first win of the season in relief. (Box Score)
- Senior shortstop Drew Lee broke the Morehead State University record for career runs scored in a 20-15 victory over Indiana. Six different Eagles tallied at least three hits in the game, and five launched a home run. Sophomore outfielder Cameron Flynn drove in six runs in the game. (Box Score)
- Sophomore left-handed pitcher Greg Terry earned the win after allowing three runs in six innings, and junior third baseman Jayson Langfels was a perfect 2-2 with two runs scored and a walk in Eastern Kentucky University‘s 7-3 win over Miami (OH). Senior catcher Joey Stevens slugged his second home run of the season. (Box Score)
Eastern Kentucky University rallied from down 8-1 in the fourth inning against Western Carolina to win 12-9 and earn its first victory of the season. Junior catcher Joey Stevens launched a go-ahead three run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to give EKU the win. Senior first baseman Anthony Ottrando was 2-2 with a home run, two walks, a run scored and five RBI one day after launching two home runs in the season opener.
Preseason All-American third baseman Jayson Langfels was 2-4 with a home run, two runs scored and one RBI. Sophomore left-handed reliever Greg Terry earned the win with a scoreless eighth inning. Junior right-handed reliever Ryne Purcell recorded his first save with a scoreless ninth. EKU improved to 1-1 on the year. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Anthony Ottrando — Ottrando was 2-2 with a home run, run scored and five RBI in the game. The senior first baseman is 4-6 with three home runs, seven RBI and three runs scored in two games this season.