BluGrass Baseball Weekend No. 1 preview

College Baseball

We’re trying something new at BluGrass Baseball this collegiate season with a weekend preview post. You will still get the full weekend schedule later this afternoon, but for now check out a few storylines to watch for the next three days of college baseball.

Matchup of the weekendUniversity of Kentucky @ No. 20 College of Charleston

UK will waste no time in getting a chance to prove its batch of newcomers can help put 2010 behind coach Gary Henderson and his team with a matchup against a top 25 team on opening night. College of Charleston sends ace David Peterson, who was 8-3 with a 5.30 ERA in 2010, to the mound against UK sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper, who was 4-5 with a 5.71 ERA last season. Six starters return to CofC’s lineup that ranked seventh nationally with 9.1 runs per game last season.

Newcomer to watchTyler BeersMurray State University

In somewhat of a surprise Murray St. will turn to junior-college transfer Tyler Beers in its opening day matchup at UNC Asheville. Beers is the first newcomer to get an opening day start for Murray St. since UK transfer Kalen Gibson did so in 2006. Beers was just 2-7 with a 6.12 ERA in 2010 at Mineral Area College, so he must have done something impressive during early practices with Murray St. to earn the opening start. He did strike out 55 batters and walk 20 in 64 and two-third innings pitched last season.

Home cookingWestern Kentucky University

The Hilltoppers are the only Kentucky Division I school opening at home this weekend. WKU welcomes Bowling Green State to Bowling Green, Ky., for a three-game series, and will turn to sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins, sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel and freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman in its weekend rotation. You will have to forgive the Hilltoppers if they are a little jealous of the other Kentucky schools, which open in places like Malibu, Calif.; Charleston, S.C.; and St. Petersburg, Fla..

Tournament watchUniversity of Louisville (Big East/Big Ten Challenge)

UofL probably gets its most difficult non-conference weekend series out of the way early with the Big East/Big Ten Challenge this weekend. The Cards send sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch to the mound versus Michigan Friday on opening night. On Saturday UofL will send redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung to the mound versus Ohio State, and on Sunday UofL will send redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold to the mound versus Minnesota for his first start since 2009. None of the three Big Ten teams are ranked in Baseball America‘s preseason top 25, but the magazine did pick Minnesota to win the conference.

Out-of-state Ky. collegians playing Ky. collegesCasey Lucchese (CofC), Louie Helmburg (Marshall)

UK will face a pair of former Kentucky high school starts in its weekend appearance at the College of Charleston Invitational in Paul Laurence Dunbar alum Case Lucchese and West Jessamine alum Louie Helmburg. Lucchese, a senior right-handed pitcher, will serve as CofC’s closer after turning down the Chicago Cubs as the team’s 39th round pick in the 2010 draft. Helmburg, a freshman catcher, will serve as a backup for Marshall and will probably have to hope for an at-bat off the bench if he is to face his hometown team.

KHSBCA All-State Teams


Check out the first and second Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association All-State teams:

First Team

  • Brock Downey — Murray High School
  • Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville High School
  • Kyle Gibson — Henderson County High School
  • Cole Isom — Christian County High School
  • Cole Sturgeon — Owensboro Catholic High School
  • Ty Downing – Greenwood High School
  • Shane Waldrop — Warren Central High School
  • Brandon Alphin — Bullitt East High School
  • Corey Littrell – Trinity High School
  • John Fidanza – Ballard High School
  • Kyle Cornett – Eastern High School
  • Brian Doering – Manual High School
  • Jared Martin — Harrison County High School
  • Trevor Gott — Tates Creek High School
  • J.T. Riddle — Western Hills High School
  • Lucas Witt — Lexington Christian Academy
  • Louie Helmburg — West Jessamine High School
  • Duran Elmore — Danville High School

Second Team

  • Tyler Saltsman — Grayson County High School
  • Mikey Scott — Grayson County High School
  • Matt Bowles — Bullitt East High School
  • Taylor Banks — Pleasure Ridge Park
  • Ryan Messex — Louisville Male High School
  • Matt Spalding — St. X
  • Spencer Drake — Eastern High School
  • Corey Bays — Henry Clay High School
  • Eric Standafer — Shelby County High School
  • Austin Pugh — Conner High School
  • Brice Smallwood — Dixie Heights High School
  • Logan Dailey — Harrison County High School
  • Taylor Martin — Lexington Catholic High School
  • Evan Stephens — Lexington Christian Academy
  • Aaron Watts — McCreary Central High School
  • Noah Smallwood — West Jessamine High School
  • Chandler Shepherd — Lawrence County High School
  • Gavin Miller — Pikeville High School

You can see the honorable mention team with player’s from each region here.

Ky seniors named Rawlings All-Americans

High School Baseball

Earlier today we linked Perfect Game USA‘s underclassmen high school All-American teams. Perfect Game partnered with Rawlings Sporting Goods to release the senior All-American team a few weeks ago, but several Kentucky high schoolers and in-state college signees were honored, so the list is still worth passing along. I’ve included those players with school and college commitment below, but you can see the full team here.

3rd Team All-American

  • LHP Corey Littrell — Trinity — University of Kentucky
  • C Jake DePew — Granite City (Ill.) — University of Louisville
  • RHP Kim Dace — Defiance (Ohio) — UofL

High Honorable Mention

  • RHP Patrick Maronde — Lexington Catholic — Coastal Carolina
  • LHP Joel Bender — Oak Hills (Ohio) — UofL
  • INF Alex Chittenden — Lawrence Central (Ind.) — UofL
  • RHP Chad Green — Effingham (Ill.) — UofL
  • P Jeffrey Thompson — Floyd Centrall (Ind.) — UofL
  • RHP Trevor Gott — Tates Creek — UK
  • OF Gavin Patton — IMG Academies (Fla.) — UK
  • RHP Blake Perry — Danville, IMG Academies (Fla.) — UK
  • SS Matt Reida — Russiaville (Ind.) — UK
  • OF G. J. Strauss — Chesterfield (Mo.) — Western Kentucky University

Hit the jump for players honored on regional teams