In our third Murray State University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant second base position.
The departed — Murray St. split its 57 starts at second base between three players in 2010: seniors Kyle Tiernan and Cory Hodskins and sophomore Jonathan Craycraft. The Breds lost Tiernan, who started 32 games at second base, and Hodskins, who started one game at second, to graduation. Craycraft, who started 24 games at the position, is not listed on the 2011 roster. Tiernan batted .300 with three home runs, 37 RBI and 30 runs scored in 2010, while Craycraft batted .262 with two home runs, 13 RBI and 23 runs scored. Craycraft started 46 games at second base as a freshman, batting .337.
Returning candidates — Murray St. lists just two returning infielders on its 2011 roster: sophomores Brandon Elliott and Colton Moore. Elliott returns to the Breds as the primary shortstop after starting 43 games there in 2010. Moore started 19 games at third base and 24 games as a designated hitter in 2010 and will likely be the primary third baseman in 2011.
Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Travis Isaak joins the Breds after batting .420 with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 55 RBI as a sophomore at Lincoln Trail Community College. Isaak batted .365 with 25 doubles, five home runs and 38 RBI as a freshman at LTCC…Freshman infielder Wes Warren comes to Murray St. from Goodlettsville, Tenn., where he batted .419 with seven triples and 32 RBI as a senior at Hendersonville High School.
Wildcard — With just four infielders listed on the 2011 roster there appear to be few surprises in the second base competition. Head coach Rob McDonald could conceivably move incumbent infielders Elliott and Moore to the position, though that appears unlikely as neither logged any time at second base during 2011. If a position change from another player was in order, the Breds boast a surplus at catcher with five players and outfield with six players on the roster.
Check out the video above of EKU interviews following the win over Murray St. and recaps and awards below from a busy day of conference tournament baseball, including what was likely WKU’s final game of the season:
- In a Ohio Valley Conference tournament first-round game delayed to Thursday due to a power failure Wednesday night, Eastern Kentucky University scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Murray State University 4-3. Freshman right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani earned the win after holding the Breds to three runs on six hits in eight innings. Bazzani struck out 10 and walked four. EKU Sophomore shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 4-5 with a run scored, and sophomore catcher A. J. Jamison drove home the winning run with a pinch-hit double in the ninth. Murray St. senior left fielder Bryan Propst was 2-3 with three RBI in the game, and senior right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft held the Colonels to two runs in seven innings and struck out eight. (Box Score)
- Western Kentucky University was eliminated from the Sun Belt Conference tournament with a 7-3 loss to Florida International Thursday. The loss likely ended the Hilltoppers’ season as WKU’s hopes for an at-large NCAA tournament bid were dashed. Sophomore outfielder Jared Andreoli and Kes Carter tallied two hits each in the game, and sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins drove in two runs. Senior right-handed pitcher Shane Cameron took a no decision after allowing three runs in six and one-third innings in his final start. WKU senior ace Matt Ridings did not pitch in the tournament after leaving his final regular season start with an apparent injury. (Box Score)
- Following a short-turnaround from its game-one loss Murray St. scored six runs in the first inning and held off a late rally for a 13-9 win over Southeast Missouri in ten innings. Senior second baseman Kyle Tiernan put the Breds ahead with a solo home run in the tenth inning, and senior first baseman Wes Cunningham extended the lead with his own three-run shot, giving him the school career RBI record. Propst tallied four hits, three RBI and two runs scored, and senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love allowed one run over the final five innings for the win. (Box Score)
- No. 9 University of Louisville lost its first game in the Big East Conference tournament with a 6-5 decision to St. Johns Thursday night. The loss could hurt UofL’s chances at one of the eight national NCAA tournament seeds, and the Cards could use a victory Friday to wrap up that honor. Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Koch allowed just two earned runs in six and two-third innings, but the Cards bullpen behind senior left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer blew the lead. Sophomore shortstop Ryan Wright was 4-4 with two RBI and one run scored in the game. (Box Score)
- In its second game of the day, EKU couldn’t finish a late rally against OVC tournament one-seed Tennessee Tech and lost 7-4. Sophomore second baseman Dunstin Dunlop was 2-2 with two runs scored and two walks, but the Colonels couldn’t over come a poor pitching performance from junior left-handed pitcher Paul Duncan who surrendered seven runs in six and one-third innings. Murray St. and EKU will face off for the second time in the tournament with an elimination game at 11 a.m. (CT) Friday. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: OF Bryan Propst (Murray St.)
- Stats: 6-8, 5 RBI, 3 R, 5 2Bs
- Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (UofL), Logan Robbins (WKU), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Anthony Bazzani (EKU)
- Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
- Honorable Mention: Chris Craycraft (Murray St.), Matt Koch (UofL), Shane Cameron (WKU), Alex Love (Murray St.)
Wednesday was a winless day on the diamond for Kentucky division one colleges with a 0-2 record. Morehead State University‘s game against Marshall was rained out an tentatively rescheduled for next Wednesday. Check out recaps and awards from the two games played below:
- The University of Kentucky surrendered 10 runs in the first six innings and couldn’t finish a late comeback in a 10-8 loss to Lipscomb. Senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer was 2-4 with two RBI, and freshman left fielder Brian Adams, making just his second start of the season, was 3-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Senior infielder Gunner Glad and senior center fielder Keenan Wiley also tallied two hits in the game. Freshman right-handed pitcher Sam Kidd took the loss after allowing seven runs in four innings. (Box Score)
- Murray State University snapped a five-game winning streak with a 10-1 blowout loss to Memphis. Freshman designated hitter Colton Moore, senior second baseman Kyle Tiernan and junior catcher Drew Pixley each recorded two hits in the game. Moore also drove in the Breds only run, scored by senior left fielder Bryan Propst. Senior right-handed pitcher Marc Harmon took the loss after allowing four runs in two innings. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: OF Brian Adams (UK)
- Stats: 3-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 2B
- Honorable Mention: Marcus Nidiffer (UK), Lance Ray (UK), Keenan Wiley (UK), Colton Moore (Murray St.)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Sean Bouthilette (UK)
- Stats: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO
- Honorable Mention: Matt McGaha (Murray St.)
UK Athletics Wallpaper
Recaps and awards from an Sunday of baseball, heavy on postseason implications:
- No. 9 University of Louisville scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 10-3 win over Georgetown to secure the series victory. Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung held the Hoyas scoreless over six innings for his third win of the season. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich slugged his 19th home run of the season, and redshirt sophomore right fielder Stewart Ijames was 3-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. (Box Score)
- Western Kentucky University may have played its way back onto the NCAA tournament bubble with a 4-2 loss to Arkansas Little Rock Sunday, securing a home series loss for the Hilltoppers. Junior catcher Matt Rice was 3-4 with one RBI in the game, and sophomore left fielder Jared Andreoli tallied two hits. Freshman Taylor Haydel took the loss in relief. The loss dropped WKU into a tie for fifth place in the Sun Belt Conference. (Box Score)
- Sophomore right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer was outstanding in his return from mono, leading the University of Kentucky to a 9-3 win over No. 6 South Carolina and a must-have series victory in its push for the Southeastern Conference tournament. Meyer allowed just three unearned runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out six and walking three. Sophomore Braden Kapteyn pitched the final two innings for his second save of the season. Redshirt junior right fielder Neiko Johnson was 1-1 with two walks, one run scored and three stolen bases in the game. (Box Score)
- Senior first baseman Wes Cunningham set or tied three Murray State University records in the Breds’ 18-5 win over Eastern Kentucky University to finish the series sweep. Cunningham was 2-4 with a double, triple, six RBI and two runs scored in the game and tied the school single-season hits record (81) while setting the new single-season RBI record (72) and career triples record (18). Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love earned the win after allowing four runs in five and two-third innings. Seven Breds’ batters tallied two hits in the game, and three drove in at least three runs. EKU junior left fielder Bryce Labhart tallied three hits in the game. (Box Score)
- Morehead State University avoided a series sweep with a 10-9, come-from-behind win over UT Martin. UT Martin jumped out to a 8-1 lead in the fourth inning, but the Eagles scored nine times over the next four innings to take back the lead. Junior left fielder Daniel Pugh drove in three runs and three different Eagles scored twice in the game. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider recorded his team-high seventh win of the season after holding UT Martin scoreless over the final four innings. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)
- Stats: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
- Honorable Mention: Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Neiko Johnson (UK), Matt Rice (WKU), Colton Moore (Murray St.), Kyle Tiernan (Murray St.), Bryce Labhart (EKU), J. D. Ashbrook (Morehead St.), Daniel Pugh (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)
- Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO
- Honorble Mention: Justin Amlung (UofL), Alex Love (Murray St.), Josh Schneider (Morehead St.), Braden Kapteyn (UK)
Four Kentucky Division One colleges were in action Tuesday, and each team won its game. Check out short recaps of those contests, including one in-state matchup below, with links to athletic department recaps.
- Senior first baseman Andrew Clark‘s two-run ninth inning home run off Indiana’s ace led No. 9 University of Louisville to a 5-4 victory over the Hoosiers. Clark was 2-5 with one home run, three RBI and one run scored in the game, and freshman left fielder Kyle Grieshaber tallied three hits in the game. UofL closer Neil Holland earned the win with one and two-third perfect innings of relief. (Box Score)
- Sophomore right-handed pitcher Sean Bouthilette gave the University of Kentucky the mid-week pitching performance it had been looking for with six innings of one-run ball in a 11-2 blowout win over Cincinnati Tuesday. Senior infielder Gunner Glad was 4-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored, and sophomore left fielder Chad Wright was 3-3 in the game. (Box Score)
- A four-run sixth inning led Murray State University to a 6-5 win over Belmont Tuesday. Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Love earned the victory with four scoreless innings of relief, and senior second baseman Kyle Tiernan was 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Senior left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha recorded his second save of the season. (Box Score)
- In Tuesday’s in-state matchup Morehead State University blew out NAIA foe Georgetown College 12-3. Morehead junior right-handed pitcher Jeff Arnold allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings for the win. Eagles senior outfielder J. D. Ashbrook, sophomore designated hitter Cameron Flynn and senior first baseman Michael Bottoms each homered in the game. Georgetown center fielder Chris Wood was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
The Murray State Racers held off a ninth inning rally from Lipscomb University to win its season opener 8-7. The Racers were paced by senior leadoff man Kyle Tiernan who had three hits in five at-bats and five RBI. BluGrass Baseball All-State first baseman Wes Cunningham also added three hits. The game was tied 3-3 after five innings, but Murray used a four-run sixth to put some distance between itself and Lipscomb.
Senior right-handed ace Chris Craycraft earned the win in his season debut for the Racers with six innings of six-hit ball. Craycraft surrendered five runs, three of which were earned, and stuck out seven while walking two. Senior right-handed reliever Dan Huff earned the save with three innings of two-run ball. (Box Score)
BluGrass Baseball POG: Kyle Tiernan — Tiernan has started every game for Murray State in the last two seasons with mediocre results. The senior second baseman started off 2010 on the right foot with a 3-5, 1 2B and 5 RBI performance. Kyle is already a fourth of the way to his 2009 RBI total.