Honorable Mention: Kes Carter (WKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Adam Engel (UofL), Thomas McCarthy (UK), Dustin Dunlop (EKU), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the week: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)
Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO
Honorable Mention: Justin Hageman (WKU), Brian Edelen (WKU), Justin Amlung (UofL), Derek Self (UofL), Chad Green (UofL), Travis Tingle (UofL), Jordan Cooper (UK), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Greg Terry (EKU), Bryan Babin (Murray St.), Matthew Robertson (Morehead St.)
Freshman of the week: RHP Justin Hageman (WKU)
Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
Honorable Mention: Jordan Cessna (WKU), Adam Engel (UofL), Chad Green (UofL), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Tyler Saltsman (Murray St.), Bud Morton (Morehead St.)
Recaps and highlights from Sunday Kentucky MiLB action:
Western Kentucky University held off a late rally from Florida Atlantic to preserve a 5-4 win and clinch the series victory. Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Brian Edelen earned the win after surrendering two runs on four hits in five innings of relief while striking out seven batters and walking none. Freshman first baseman Jordan Cessna was 2-3 with one walk and two runs scored in a rare start, and junior second baseman Ivan Hartle was 2-3 with two RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
The University of Kentucky bullpen fell apart again, surrendering three runs with two outs in the ninth inning in a 6-3 loss to Vanderbilt. The loss officially eliminated UK from Southeastern Conference tournament contention. Junior left-handed pitcher Alex Phillips took the loss after surrendering two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper surrendered three runs on five hits in six innings while striking out five batters and walking six in his return to the weekend rotation. Junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy was 3-4 with one RBI and one run scored, and junior catcher Michael Williams slugged his sixth home run of the season. (Box Score)
Eastern Kentucky University finished a three-game sweep of Murray State University with a 5-1 win Sunday. Junior left-handed pitcher Greg Terry earned the win after surrendering one run on four hits in five and two-third innings while striking out two batters and walking one. Junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 3-5 with one run scored, and sophomore center fielder Austin Grisham slugged his second home run of the season. Junior right-handed pitcher Matt Fyffe earned his first save with three and one-third scoreless innings of relief. No Murray St. batter recorded multiple hits in the game. Junior left-handed pitcher Luke Shuemaker took the loss after surrendering four runs in three innings. (Box Score)
UT Martin scored four runs after the sixth inning to send Morehead State University to a 9-8 loss. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Matt Cartwright took the loss after surrendering one run without recording an out. Junior center fielder Andrew Deeds was 3-4 with one double, one triple, three RBI and one run scored while setting the school single-season and career triples records. Junior catcher Taylor Davis was 2-5 with two runs scored, and junior catcher Eric Bainer was 2-5 with one RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: CF Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)
Stats: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
Honorable Mention: Jordan Cessna (WKU), Ivan Hartle (WKU), Thomas McCarthy (UK), Michael Williams (UK), Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Austin Grisham (EKU), Ty Stetson (Murray St.), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Brian Edelen (WKU)
Stats: 1-0, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO
Honorable Mention: Jordan Cooper (UK), Greg Terry (EKU), Matt Fyffe (EKU), Tyler Saltsman (Murray St.)
Western Kentucky University was one of two Kentucky schools to earn a series sweep in its opening series of the season. In our second opening weekend review post we’ll look at the Hilltoppers.
BGSU no match for Hilltoppers’ offense: Seven different WKU batters hit at least .300 in the opening series of the season, highlighted by senior Matt Rice‘s .538 performance with seven RBI and three runs scored. Outfielders Matt Borgschulte, Jared Andreoli and Ryan Hutchinson each hit over .400 in the series as well. Perhaps influenced by the new NCAA mandated bats, no Hilltopper homered in the series, but the team did tally eight doubles and three triples. Even without the power surge WKU scored 32 runs in the series.
Perkins anchors new weekend rotation: WKU had to replace two weekend starting pitchers this season, but sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins, who spent parts of 2010 in the weekend rotation, made his case to be the new WKU ace with six shutout innings Friday. Perkins struck out five batters, walked two and surrendered just two hits in the game. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel struggled in his Saturday start, but senior Brian Edelen, the team’s fourth starting pitcher, recorded three scoreless innings of relief Sunday.
Freshmen excel in limited action: Sunday starting pitcher Justin Hageman was the only freshman to see extended playing time on the weekend, but WKU head coach Chris Finwood did let six freshmen make their collegiate debuts. Hageman earned a win in his first collegiate start on Sunday after surrendering three runs in five innings. Freshmen relievers G. J. Strauss and Austin Clay recorded three outs without surrendering a run. At the plate freshman infielder Scott Wilcox was 1-1 in two games, and freshman outfielder David Simmons was 0-1 in one game. Freshman outfielder Jordan Cessna also made his debut as a defensive replacement.
In the third Western Kentucky University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the Hilltoppers’ vacant first-base position:
The departed — Infielder Jake Wells, a 2010 senior, started all but the first six WKU games of 2010 at first base. Wells was one of just four Hilltoppers to start all 58 games in 2010. He batted .312 with two home runs and 41 RBI on the season. Wells scored 42 runs and boasted an .802 OPS. The first baseman committed six errors on the season and finished 2010 with a .988 fielding percentage.
The returning candidates — Junior infielder Casey Dykes was the only other Hilltopper to record a start at first base in 2010, earning the nod in the first six games of the season. Dykes is listed as a “C/UTL” on the WKU roster and made 45 starts at third base in 2010, so head coach Chris Finwood may look elsewhere for his infield cornerstone. Sophomore Blake Crabtree made the final seven games of the 2010 season at third so Dykes could make a position change…Sophomore catcher/infielder Ryan Huck didn’t appear at first base in 2010, but Finwood suggested during the fall world series most of his playing time would come there this season. Huck batted .287 with seven home runs, 30 RBI and 24 runs scored in 2010 as a freshman, so WKU needs to get his bat in the lineup if at all possible. He is blocked behind the plate by All-Sun Belt Conference catcher Matt Rice.
Newcomers to watch — Incoming freshman infielder Jordan Cessna excelled during WKU’s fall practice according to the school’s media relations department. At 6-1 he could conceivably fill in when Huck catches or serves as the designate hitter…In a news release recapping the fall World Series WKU also highlighted Canadian freshman infielder Scott Wilcox as a standout in fall practice. At 6-0 Wilcox could also fill in at first base…Freshman right-handed pitcher and infielder Brian Doering was listed as a corner infielder when he signed with WKU in 2009. Doering was named first-team all-state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association after his senior season at Dupont Manual High School.
Wildcard — WKU boasts a plethora of outfielders with 11 players listed on the roster who can play the position. If Huck gets most of the playing time at first base, head coach Chris Finwood could try one of his surplus outfielders at first base when Huck catches. Junior college transfer Ryan Hutchison is 6-4 and could fit at first base. Sophomore outfielders Matt Borgschulte and Monte Ketchum each appeared in at least 41 games for WKU in 2010, so Finwood could be looking for a way to get them into the Hilltoppers’ lineup. If Finwood wanted to give Rice some time off from catching at 6-3 he might profile well as a first baseman as well.
In the latest position battle series post we will look at Western Kentucky University‘s vacant second base position:
The departed: Senior infielder Matt Payton began 2010 as the Hilltoppers primary second baseman and closed out the season at the same position afer briefly moving to shortstop during the middle of the season. Payton was second among WKU batters with a .354 batting average. He led the team with 63 runs scored, 10 triples and a .586 slugging percentage. Payton was the 27th round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies following his senior season.
The returning candidates: Rising junior Logan Robbins started six games at second base for WKU in 2010, but spent the majority of the season as the team’s starting shortstop. Rising sophomore Blake Crabtree played all over the diamond for the Hilltoppers in 2010, including 12 starts at second base. Crabtree started the final seven games of the 2010 season at third base.
Newcomers to watch: Junior-college transfer Ivan Hartle was named the Easton NJCAA Division I Baseball Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 while playing mostly second base for Iowa Western Community College. Head coach Chris Finwood noted freshmen infielders Scott Wilcox and Jordan Cessna as newcomers who had stood out during fall practice.
Wildcard: Rising sophomore Andrew Zimmerman appeared in just three games as a freshman for the Hilltoppers with all three appearances coming on the mound, but the right-handed pitcher was a standout infielder for Riverview High School in Florida. Zimmerman batted .404 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a senior in 2009.
The Kentucky High School Baseball Coach’s Association has released its 2010 preseason top 50 players list. The honorees are listed below by first name alphabetical order with college commitments when known:
Aaron Schwobel (Campbellsville)
Andrew Bowling (Trinity)
Austin Clay (Daviess Co.)
Austin Pugh (Conner)
Austin Lyons (Paintsville)
Beau Bouthilette (Elizabethtown)
Brandon Alphin (Bullit East) — University of Louisville
Brian Hockman (Pleasure Ridge Park)
Brian Doering (Manual) — Western Kentucky University
Brock Downey (Murray) — Murray State University
Bud Mortin (West Jessamine) — Morehead State University
Chris Beymer (PLD) — Purdue University
Cole Isom (Christian Co.)
Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro Catholic) — UofL
Corey Littrell (Trinity) — University of Kentucky
Corey Sloan (Hazard)
Dakota Ritchie (Breathitt Co.)
Dalton West (Apollo)
Derek Stapleton (East Carter)
Duran Elmore (Danville) — Morehead St.
Eric Standafer (Shelby Co.)
Gus Wise (Lee Co.)
J. T. Riddle (Western Hills) — UK
Jacob Russell (Anderson Co.)
Jared Martin (Harrison Co.)
Jeff Gardner (Whitefield Academy)
Jimmy Conway (Eastern)
John Fidanza (Ballard) — Coastal Carolina
Jordan Cessna (Henderson Co.) — WKU
Justin Hageman (Hopkinsville) — WKU
Kyle Gibson (Henderson Co.)
Kyle Cornett (Eastern) — Murray St.
Logan Dailey (Harrison Co.)
Logan McQueary (George Rogers Clark)
Loui Helmburg (West Jessamine) — Marshall University