Following the completion of the “offseason position battle” series we will post a lineup project for each of the five division one schools this week. The lineups are based on the position battle posts and are my projection with a little background research of what the Opening Day lineup might look like. Note that while some positions were not included in the offseason battle series because they had an incumbent starter those starters can still change. We will also include weekend rotations, midweek starters and closers for good measure. We are moving in reverse order of 2010 records and will look at Western Kentucky University today.
The draft is already underway, but we’ll continue our previews for schools with some players projected to go in later rounds. You can follow the Kentucky-related draft news all day from BluGrass Baseball via Twitter. Check out prospects from Western Kentucky University below:
One would think a catcher that has hit as well as Matt Rice has would be a top draft prospect, but a variety of factors have diminished his prospect status. First, he’s a little oversized for the position and doesn’t look pretty at times on defense. But perhaps even more relevant to his draft hopes is his status as a candidate to become WKU’s first Rhodes Scholar. Baseball America projected the potential honor would move Rice down teams boards as they are leery of the prospects of trying to sign him away from Rhodes. Still Rice should go off the board on day two.
Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Ridings, the Sun Belt pitcher of the year, was projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds before Tommy John surgery ended his season just before the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Still when asked by BluGrass Baseball, Jim Callis of Baseball America said of Ridings: “Area scouts love him. Someone will take a flier.” Ridings doesn’t have great stuff or eye-popping size, but he’s demonstrated an excellent feel for pitching through his WKU career.
Redshirt sophomore closer Rye Davis missed 2009 with an eye injury, but was unhittable during his return this season. Davis saved nine games and struck out 63 in 49.2 innings. Opponents batted just .249 against Davis, who even made a start during the Sun Belt tournament. As a draft-eligible sophomore Davis figures to go late in the draft to a team who hopes it can sign him away from returning to WKU for his junior season.
Senior hoping for chance
Senior second baseman Matt Payton batted .354 in 2010 with seven home runs and 55 RBI. Payton figures to be a late senior sign in the draft and will hope to impress a team enough to stick around during short-season ball.
Left-handed pitcher Bart Carter was ranked among the top 25 draft prospects in the state by Baseball America after experiencing mixed success in the WKU bullpen in 2010. Carter finished the year 3-1 with a 5.61 ERA, but could get a chance late in the draft as a lefty specialist.
Other eligible juniors
OF Matt Bracken
OF Chris Bullard
OF Monte Ketchum
RHP Scott Pederson
OF Kory Petri
RHP Brian Edelen
LHP Garrie Krueger
Other eligible seniors
RHP Shane Cameron
1B Jake Wells
High school signees
RHP Justin Hageman of Hopkinsville High School was listed by Baseball America as one of the state’s top 25 draft prospects and could be the best candidate of Kentucky high schoolers to sign.
Recaps from UofL’s win over WKU and Murray St.’s loss Wednesday:
Southern Illinois rallied for an 8-7 victory over Murray State University Wednesday with a go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Junior center fielder Elliot Frey was 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored in the game. Senior catcher Jason Laws tallied three hits on the afternoon. Freshman right-handed pitcher Ben Lady took the loss for the Breds. (Box Score)
Josh Cook recaps No. 13 University of Louisville‘s fifth consecutive win over Western Kentucky University for the Courier Journal.
The University of Louisville (13) used three-hit performances from its star first and second basemen to defeat Western Kentucky University 7-4 and earn a season sweep of the Hilltoppers. UofL senior first baseman Andrew Clark was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored, and sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright was 3-5 with one RBI and one run scored in the game. Five other UofL starting position players tallied two hits in the game, and redshirt sophomore right fielder Stewart Ijames drove in two runs.
Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung earned the victory after allowing just two hits in three scoreless innings. Amlung struck out four Hilltoppers and walked none. Junior left-handed pitcher Brian Feekin earned his first save of the season after recording the last out of the game.
WKU junior left fielder Kory Petri was 2-4 with two RBI and one run scored, and senior catcher Matt Rice added two hits for the Hilltoppers. Normal Saturday starting pitcher freshman Tanner Perkins took the loss after allowing two runs on six hits in three innings. Right-handed closer Rye Davis struck out two Cards in a scoreless eighth inning. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: 2B Ryan Wright (UofL) — Wright’s second-inning RBI gave the Cards their first lead, and the team never looked back. Wright finished the game 3-5 with one RBI and one run scored. On the season the sophomore infielder is batting .366 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI.
Western Kentucky University tied its game against Tennessee with a base-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then won on Blake Crabtree‘s first career hit in the tenth. Crabtree, a redshirt freshman infielder who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the tenth, drove home junior designated hitter Kory Petri on a no-out, bases-loaded single to give WKU a 5-4 win. Redshirt sophomore right-handed reliever Rye Davis earned the victory after pitching a scoreless tenth.
Sophomore center fielder Kes Carter was 3-5 with a RBI and two runs scored in the game, and junior catcher Matt Rice was 2-4 with an RBI. Freshman right fielder Matt Borgschulte also drove in a run for the Hilltoppers. Freshman right-handed starting pitcher Taylor Haydel took a no decision after allowing two runs in five innings. WKU improved to 9-3 on the season. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Kes Carter — Carter’s two-out RBI double in the ninth inning brought the Hilltoppers within one and kept the rally alive. Carter has been WKU’s breakout star this season and is batting .429 with one home run, 12 RBI and eight runs scored on the season.
Western Kentucky University took advantage of five Texas A&M errors to earn a 5-1 victory in game one of the QTI Baylor Classic. Four of WKU’s five runs were unearned. The Hilltoppers only earned run came in the second inning, and WKU used four Aggie errors in the fifth to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
On the mound WKU senior right-handed ace Matt Ridings allowed one earned run in six innings on six hits. Ridings struck out four and walked one. Senior left-handed reliever Bart Carter and sophomore right-handed reliever Rye Davis finished the game with three scoreless innings. Senior second baseman Matt Payton and junior designated hitter Kory Petri each drove in a run, and sophomore left fielder Jared Andreoli added two hits. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Matt Ridings — The most valuable player for the Hilltoppers Friday night probably was Texas A&M’s poor defense, but Ridings was lights out as well. In two starts this season Ridings is 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings. Ridings second start (6 IP, 1 ER, 4SO, 1 BB) was much better than his first (4 IP, 6 ER, 7 SO, 4BB)