NCAA roundup: UofL wins; WKU, UK, Morehead St. lose; Murray St. sweeps double-header; EKU swept in twin bill

College Baseball

Jacob Rhodes; BluGrass Baseball photo

Recaps and highlights from Saturday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • UALR scored six runs in the seventh and eight innings to break open a 2-2 tie and send Western Kentucky University to an 8-2 loss in game two of a three-game series. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Ross Hammonds took the loss after surrendering four runs, two of which were earned, on three hits in two-third of an inning. Junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson was 2-5 with one home run, two RBI and one run scored. The Hilltoppers wasted a strong start from freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman, who surrendered two runs on nine hits in six innings while striking out seven batters and walking one. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville held West Virginia scoreless for the final eight innings of their Saturday game to earn an 8-2 win and even the series at one win each. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung earned the win after surrendering two runs on seven hits in seven innings while striking out three batters and walking none. Freshman catcher Jeff Gardner was 3-3 with one walk and two runs scored, and freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden was 2-2 with two RBI and two runs scored. (Box Score)
  • South Carolina came from behind to send the University of Kentucky to a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. The Gamecocks scored the winning run in the tenth inning on a walkoff infield single that scored Adrian Morales, who had doubled on a misplayed fly ball. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott took the loss after surrendering one run one four hits in two innings. The run was the first earned run Gott had surrendered this season. Freshman center fielder Lucas Witt, junior left fielder Chad Wright and senior shortstop Taylor Black each had three hits for UK. The Cats wasted a strong start from freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell, who surrendered two runs on six hits in six innings in his first Southeastern Conference start. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University used a five-run second inning to earn a 6-3 win in game one of a double-header versus UT Martin. Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers earned the win after surrendering three runs on eight hits in seven innings while striking out three batters and walking none. Junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and redshirt freshman designated hitter Brandon Eggenschwiler were both 3-4 with one walk. Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch recorded the final six outs for his fourth save. (Box Score)
  • The Breds finished the double-header sweep of UT Martin with a 12-4 win in game two. Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze earned the win after surrendering three runs on four hits in five innings. Rhodes was 4-4 with one double, one walk, three RBI and one run scored, and junior second baseman Travis Isaak was 4-5 with one double, one walk, three RBI and three runs scored. Redshirt freshman left fielder Ty Stetson scored four runs in the game. (Box Score)
  • Southeast Missouri scored one run in the top of the ninth inning to send Eastern Kentucky University to a 7-6 loss in game one of a double-header. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani took the loss after surrendering one run in one inning of relief. Sophomore second baseman Matt Phipps, senior center fielder Ryan Faidley and freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman each had two hits in the game. Soloman slugged his third home run of the season. (Box Score)
  • UT Martin finished the double-header sweep by sending EKU to a 13-6 loss in game two. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath took the loss after surrendering three runs on eight hits in two and one-third innings. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel and freshman catcher Steve Ferraro were both 2-2 in the game. Soloman slugged his second home run of the day and drove in four runs, and Ferraro slugged his first career home run. (Box Score)
  • SIU Edwardsville scored two runs in the eighth inning to break open a 4-4 tie and send Morehead State University to a 6-4 loss in game two of a three-game series. Junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss after surrendering two runs on four hits in two and one-third innings. Senior left fielder Daniel Pugh was 2-4 with one run scored, and junior third baseman Andrew Deeds slugged his fourth home run of the season. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: C Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 7-8, 1 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Jeff Gardner (UofL), Alex Chittenden (UofL), Chad Wright (UK), Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.), Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Steve Ferraro (EKU), Daniel Pugh (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Hageman (WKU), Corey Littrell (UK), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Jake Donze (Murray St.)
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College roundup: UofL, WKU, UK all lose; EKU swept in DH; Murray St., Morehead St. split double-headers

College Baseball

Taylor Davis; Morehead St. photo

Recaps and highlights from Sunday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University suffered its first Sun Belt Conference loss and snapped an eight-game winning streak with a 9-8 loss to FIU in 10 innings. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis took the loss after surrendering two runs in the tenth inning while recording two outs. Junior left fielder Jared Andreoli was 3-6, and junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson was 3-6 with one home run, two RBI and one run scored. Junior second baseman Ivan Hartle and senior designated hitter Chris Bullard also homered in the game. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville suffered its first Big East Conference loss with a 4-2 loss to Rutgers in the finale of its three-game series. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold took the loss after surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits in five innings while striking out four batters and walking two. No UofL batter tallied multiple hits in the game, but redshirt junior right fielder Stewart Ijames did slug his sixth home run of the season. (Box Score)
  • Alabama finished a three-game sweep of the University of Kentucky by sending the Cats to an 8-3 loss on Sunday. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers took the loss after surrendering six runs on nine hits in four and one-third innings. Alabama scored four runs in the first innings, putting the Cats in an early hole. Freshman second baseman J. T. Riddle was 2-4 with a home run. Freshman right fielder Lucas Witt and junior left fielder Chad Wright also had two hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header, Murray State University dropped a 5-2 decision to Austin Peay in its Ohio Valley Conference opener. Daviess County High School alum Jeremy Dobbs earned the win for Austin Peay after surrendering two runs on seven hits in five and one-third innings while striking out three batters and walking one. Murray St. junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers took the loss after surrendering five runs on five hits in three and one-third innings. Junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and senior center fielder Elliot Frey both tallied two hits for the Breds. (Box Score)
  • In game two of the double-header Murray St. earned its first OVC win with a 3-2 victory over Austin Peay. Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze earned the win after surrendering two runs on six hits in seven innings while striking out two batters and walking one. Redshirt freshman right fielder Ty Stetson and junior second baseman Travis Isaak were both 2-3 for the Breds. Bowling Green High School alum Jack Snodgrass took the loss for Austin Peay after surrendering three runs on eight hits in three and one-third innings. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header Eastern Kentucky University dropped an 8-1 decision to Eastern Illinois. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath took the loss after surrendering four runs on eight hits in five innings while striking out three batters and walking one. No EKU batter tallied multiple hits in the game, but senior designated hitter Bryce Labhart slugged his first home run of season. (Box Score)
  • EKU dropped a 5-4 decision in game two of the double-header to give Eastern Illinois the series win. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler took the loss after surrendering five runs on 11 hits in four and one-third innings. Sophomore second baseman Matt Phipps was 2-2 with one run scored, and senior center fielder Ryan Faidley tallied two RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header Morehead State University dropped its OVC opener with a 3-2 loss to Southeast Missouri. Senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith took the loss after surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits in five and two-third innings while striking out no batters and walking four. Junior third baseman Andrew Deeds was 2-3 with one RBI. (Box Score)
  • In game two of the double-header Morehead St. earned its first OVC win with a 14-4 victory over Southeast Missouri. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Garrick Whittle earned the win after surrendering two runs on four hits in five and one-third innings while striking out three batters and walking six. Junior catcher Taylor Davis was 3-4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored, and senior second baseman Travis Redmon slugged a home run. Center fielder Nick Duff was 3-4 with three RBI and sophomore shortstop Austin Haney was 3-4 with one RBI and two runs scored. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 4-6, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Ivan Hartle (WKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Ryan Huck (WKU), Stewart Ijames (UofL), J. T. Riddle (UK), Elliot Frey (Murray St.), Nick Duff (Morehead St.), Austin Haney (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Jake Donze (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB 2 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Mike Nastold (UofL), Brian Edelen (WKU), Jeremy Dobbs (Austin Peay, Daviess Co. HS), Trey Smith (Morehead St.), Garrick Whittle (Morehead St.)

College roundup: UofL, WKU clinch series wins; EKU earns first road win; UK drops second straight to Alabama

College Baseball

Ryan Wright; UofL photo

Recaps and highlights from Saturday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University remained undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play and won its eighth game in a row with a 6-4 win over FIU. Freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman earned the win after surrendering one run on seven hits in six and two-third innings while striking out eight batters and walking four. Junior shortstop Logan Robbins was 3-4 with one RBI, and junior second baseman Ivan Hartle was 2-4 with one RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore first baseman Ryan Huck slugged his second home run of the season. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville clinched a series victory in its first Big East Conference series with a 9-2 win over Rutgers. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung improved to 5-0 on the season after surrendering two runs, one of which was earned, on seven hits in six innings while striking out seven batters and walking three. Junior second baseman Ryan Wright finish the game a double shy of the cycle and was 4-5 with a home run, triple, five RBI and three runs scored. Redshirt junior right fielder Stewart Ijames slugged his fifth home run of the season, and junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self held Rutgers scoreless over the final three innings for the save. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky surrendered an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 6-5 loss to Alabama, clinching a series win for the Crimson Tide. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott took the loss after surrendering one unearned run on two hits in two and one-third innings. Freshman center fielder Lucas Witt was 2-2 with one walk and one run scored in his return from injury. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper had his second consecutive poor start after surrendering five runs on six hits in two and two-third innings. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University‘s double-header versus Austin Peay was rained out. The two teams will play a double-header on Sunday.
  • Eastern Kentucky University earned its first road win of the season with a 9-7 victory over Eastern Illinois. Senior right-handed pitcher Ryne Purcell was credited with the win after surrendering two runs on three hits in one inning. Senior center fielder Ryan Faidley and sophomore first baseman Alex Hughes each homered in the game, and junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 2-4 with a triple, three RBI and two runs scored. Senior right-handed pitcher Chris Hord pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save, and redshirt junior right-handed starting pitcher Matt Fyffe surrendered two runs in five innings. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University‘s double-header versus Southeast Missouri was rained out. The two teams will play a double-header on Sunday.

Hitter of the day: 2B Ryan Wright (UofL)

  • Stats: 4-5, 1 HR, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 3 R
  • Honorable Mention: Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Ryan Faidley (EKU), Lucas Witt (UK), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Kyle Grieshaber (UofL), Logan Robbins (WKU), Ivan Hartle (WKU)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Justin Hageman (WKU)

  • Stats: 1-0, 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Amlung (UofL), Derek Self (UofL), Walter Wijas (UK), Matt Fyffe (EKU)

Former Mr. Kentucky Baseball carries UK to SEC series win

College Baseball

J. T. Riddle; UK photo by Chet White

A year ago this week University of Kentucky freshman J. T. Riddle was beginning his senior season at Western Hills High School, now he’s leading the Cats in batting while playing a new position.

Riddle led the Cats to a series win in its first Southeastern Conference series of the season versus Tennessee this weekend with five hits, one home run and five RBI. On Friday and Sunday Riddle made diving catches in right field to save extra base hits.

“J. T. Riddle is doing a lot for us right now,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said after UK’s 7-3 win Sunday. “J. T. is catching doubles and triples in right field. He’s knocking in runs.”

Through 20 games Riddle leads the Cats with a .381 batting average. On Sunday he slugged his first collegiate home run.

Riddle’s hot start to his collegiate career has even surprised him.

“I definitely didn’t expect to be where I’m at right now,” Riddle said of his .381 batting average. “I just wanted to come in and play baseball like I always have.”

Riddle has driven in 10 runs this season, scored eight times and stolen four bases all while playing right field for the first time in his life.

“He’s bringing energy to the club,” Henderson said. “He’s fun to watch, He’s inspiring his teammates.”

Riddle was named Mr. Kentucky baseball following his senior season at Western Hills and was drafted in the 35th round of the 2010 draft by the Boston Red Sox. When he arrived at UK he was expected to play shortstop and second base while occasionally pitching. What he wasn’t expected to do was become UK’s every day right fielder and play stellar defense.

“Baseball is baseball,” Riddle said. “Playing outfield is basically catch and throw it where it needs to be thrown.”

When UK lost its first two right fielders on the depth chart, redshirt senior Neiko Johnson and freshman Lucas Witt, to injury, Henderson turned to Riddle out of necessity.

“It hasn’t been bad at all,” Riddle said of the adjustment to playing outfield. “The first game I think I started I came out and made a couple of nice plays. After that I had the confidence to know I can do it.”

At UK’s preseason media day Henderson said Riddle was forcing his way into the lineup by hitting line drives throughout fall practice. Now 20 games into the season Riddle has not only hit his way into the lineup, he may be the team’s most valuable player.

Freshmen lead UK rally in a 7-6 win over Murray State

College Baseball

Dallen_Reber bats vs. Murray St.; BluGrass Baseball photo

The University of Kentucky rallied from an early 5-0 deficit to post a 7-6 win over Murray State University. The Cats tied the game with two outs in the sixth inning on a two-run single from freshman right fielder J. T. Riddle and then took the lead on a RBI single from freshman designated hitter Dallen Reber. UK sophomore right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas earned the win after striking out two batters in a scoreless inning. Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek earned his third save of the season after coming on to pitch in the ninth inning with one out and two men on base and inducing a double-play to end the game. Riddle, Reber, sophomore center fielder Brian Adams and sophomore catcher Luke Maile each tallied two hits in the game for UK. Riddle entered the game as a defensive replacement for freshman outfielder Lucas Witt, who left with an apparent leg injury.

Murray St. junior left-handed pitcher Mark Roberts took the loss after surrendering three runs in on four hits in one inning of work. At the plate sophomore third baseman Paul Ritzheimer was 3-4 with one home run, three RBI and one run scored. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 3-5 with one RBI and one run scored, and junior catcher Jacob Rhodes was 2-4 with one double and one run scored. Freshman right-handed pitcher Tyler Saltsman started the game for Murray St. and surrendered one hit in two scoreless innings. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball player of the game: RF J. T. Riddle — 2-2, 1 BB, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

Witt injured in UK loss; Rice named candidate for senior-class award; Wellemeyer realistic about chances with Cubs

College Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

Latest links around Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Kentucky freshman outfielder Lucas Witt pulled a hip flexor during the Cats’ loss to UIC Friday, UK confirmed to BluGrass Baseball following the game. Witt will be re-evaluated today when the Cats hope to figure out a timetable for his return.
  • Western Kentucky University catcher Matt Rice has been named a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports the Texas Rangers plan for Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb to throw of a mound for the first time on Sunday.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com talks with Louisville native and former Bellarmine right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer, who says he realizes he is a long-shot to make the Cubs’ roster but hopes his previous experience in pitching well during Spring Training to make a team will pay off.
  • C. Ray Hall of the Courier-Journal profiles the multiple aces of University of Louisville‘s starting rotation.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com profiles Louisville Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt and his fast ascension through the minor leagues.

Opening Weekend Review: University of Kentucky

College Baseball

In our first two weekend review posts there was little wrong with UofL’s or WKU’s opening weekend performance. That trend stops now as each of the other four Kentucky teams combined to go 0-12 on the weekend. In the third post we will look at the University of Kentucky.

  • Freshmen struggle: UK head coach Gary Henderson is always quick to downplay the expectations for freshmen playing in the Southeastern Conference, but even he had to admit the Cats would need contributions from youngsters this season. It was probably too much to ask for freshmen to carry UK during their first collegiate series, but the Cats had to hope for a little more than they got this weekend. At the plate three freshmen hitters, J. T. Riddle, Matt Reida and Lucas Witt, combined to go 1-13 with seven strikeouts. On the mound two freshmen relievers, Corey Littrell and Trevor Gott, combined to go 0-2 after surrendering nine runs in four and one-third innings. On the bright side, four of those nine runs were unearned.
  • Defense comes up short for Cats: At preseason media day Henderson said the Cats’ season would depend on pitching and defense, but after the first series of the year he can’t be happy with the Cats’ defensive effort. On Saturday Marshall scored four unearned runs in the eighth inning to break open what was a 2-2 tie after a throwing error by second baseman Neiko Johnson. On Sunday Miami (Ohio) scored the go-ahead run after junior catcher Michael Williams dropped what would have been an outfield assist gunning down the go-ahead run at home plate. On the weekend UK recorded four errors, but two of them came at crucial times. The defensive lapses on Saturday and Sunday wasted two superb starts from Alex Meyer and Taylor Rogers. Meyer and Rogers combined for 20 strikeouts in 13 innings.
  • Revolving door at second base: In three games Henderson started three different players at second base: freshmen Reida and Riddle and redshirt senior Johnson. The three batters combined to go 1-9 during their time at second base. At media day Henderson said he would focus on the best defensive option at the position, so he couldn’t have been happy that both Reida and Johnson committed errors while at second base. The problems at second base could have been overlooked if UK had found any offense elsewhere. The Cats batted .181 on the weekend.

UK falls 11-6 to College of Charleston in season opener

College Baseball

Braden Kapteyn; Photo: UK Athletics

The University of Kentucky couldn’t silence the powerful College of Charleston offense in an 11-6, season-opening loss to the No. 20 Cougars. UK jumped out to a 3-1 lead on a three-run home run from junior first baseman Braden Kapteyn in the top of the third inning, but College of Charleston answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. UK tied the game again in the sixth inning with two runs, but the Cougars put the game out of reach with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Paul Laurence Dunbar alum Casey Lucchese pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game for College of Charleston.

UK freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell took the loss after surrendering five runs on five hits in two and one-third innings pitched. Littrell was effective for his first two innings out of the UK bullpen but imploded in the sixth, surrendering five runs while only recording one out. UK sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper struggled in his first start of the season, surrendering five runs on six hits in three innings pitched. At the plate junior designated hitter Michael Williams was 2-3 with two RBI and a walk. Freshman center fielder Lucas Witt was 1-3 with one RBI in his collegiate debut. (Box Score)

Kime, Paquet lead previously drafted Kentucky collegians

Uncategorized

Jonathan Paquet; UK photo by Chet White

As part of BluGrass Baseball‘s ongoing college preview check out this team-by-team breakdown of 2011 Kentucky collegians who have been previously selected in the MLB draft. UofL freshman right-handed pitcher Dace Kime is the only player to have been drafted in the first 10 rounds of the draft, and UK freshman right-handed pitcher Jonathan Paquet is the only player to have been drafted multiple times. Players are listed with the school they were at when drafted, draft round and year.

University of Kentucky

  • RHP Jordan Cooper — Shelbyville Central HS (Tenn.) — 17th round (2009) — Pirates
  • RHP Alex Meyer — Greensburg HS (Ind.) — 20th round (2008) — Red Sox
  • RHP Jonathan Paquet — Quebec/Cardinal Roy HS (Canada) — 22nd round (2010); 46th round (2009) — Phillies, Angels
  • SS Taylor Black — UK — 28th round (2010) — Cardinals
  • INF J. T. Riddle — Western Hills HS — 35th round (2010) — Red Sox
  • LHP Taylor Rogers — Chatfield HS (Col0.) — 37th round (2009) — Orioles
  • OF Lucas Witt — LCA — 38th round (2010) — Dodgers
  • RHP Braden Kapteyn — Illiana Christian School (Ill.) — 39th round (2008) — Giants
  • RHP Sam Kidd — Ohio County HS — 39th round (2009) — Phillies
  • C Luke Maile — Covington Catholic HS — 43rd round (2009) — Red Sox
  • LHP Corey Littrell — Trinity HS — 43rd round (2010) — Nationals
  • OF Brian Adams — South Forsyth HS (Ga.) — 45th round (2009) — Reds
  • INF Matt Reida — Western HS (Ind.) — 47th round (2010) — White Sox

University of Louisville

  • RHP Dace Kime — Defiance HS (Ohio) — 8th Round (2010) — Pirates
  • LHP Keith Landers — St. Peter Martin HS (Mass.) — 18th Round (2008) — Orioles
  • 1B Zak Wasserman — Lakeshore HS (Mich.) — 21st round (2009) — Giants
  • OF Stewart Ijames — UofL — 26th Round (2010) — Yankees
  • RHP Matt Koch — Cherokee Washington HS (Iowa) — 27th round (2009) — Red Sox
  • RHP Chad Green — Floyd Central HS (Ind.) — 37th round (2010) — Blue Jays
  • C Asaad Ali — Niles HS (Mich.) — 40th round (2009) — Angels
  • RHP Tony Zych — St. Rita HS — 46th round (2008) — Cubs

Western Kentucky University

  • RHP Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville HS — 32nd round (2010) — Royals
  • RHP Rye Davis — Edmonson County HS — 36th round (2010) — Indians
  • OF Kes Carter — Ravenwood HS (Tenn.) — 43rd round (2008) — Marlins
  • OF Chris Bullard — Harris Co. HS (Ga.) — 45th round (2007) — Angels
  • C Matt Rice — WKU — 50th round (2010) — Yankees

Northern Kentucky University

  • LHP Dave Middendorf — NKU — 44th round (2010) — Yankees

Out-of-state colleges

  • LHP Jeremy Dobbs — Daviess Co. HS (Austin Peay) — 30th round (2008) — Orioles
  • RHP Casey Lucchese — College of Charleston (PLD) — 39th round (2010) — Cubs
  • OF Cory Farris — Boone Co. HS (Cumberland Univ.) — 43rd round (2008) — White Sox
  • RHP Nick Maronde — Lexington Catholic HS (Florida) — 43rd round (2008) — Athletics
  • OF Ronald Cotton — Boone Co. HS (Cincinnati) — 45th round (2010) — White Sox

BluGrass Baseball preseason all-newcomer team

Uncategorized

Over the past few weeks BluGrass Baseball has been counting down the top 2011 returning Kentucky collegians. Freshmen and junior-college transfers were excluded from that list, but don’t worry the newcomers are about to get their due. Check out the preseason all-newcomer team below. The team is focused on players who are projected to receive major playing time for their respective schools.

CatcherSean HagenEastern Kentucky University

Hagen is projected to start at catcher for the Colonels. After Hagen signed with EKU out of high school, Colonels head coach Jason Stein said, “Sean will fill an immediate need at catcher following the graduation of 2010. He is a complete catcher who can catch, throw and block. But he is also a very offensive-minded player, as well.”

Honorable mention: Murray St. junior-college transfer Jacob Rhodes figures to be a mainstay in the Breds’ lineup at either catcher or designated hitter.

First Base — Tyler Beers — Murray State University

There is no clear first base candidate among the 2011 Kentucky newcomers, Beers may start for the Breds so he takes this spot almost by default. Beers batted .300 with five home runs and 25 RBI as a sophomore at Mineral Area College.

Honorable mention: UK head coach Gary Henderson said freshman infielder J. T. Riddle could see time at first base if carries his strong spring offensive performance over to the season.

Second Base — Matt Reida — University of Kentucky

Henderson hasn’t officially named a starter at second base for the Cats, but all signs point to Reida as the likely winner of that position battle. Reida may struggle with the bat early on, but as a plus defender he figures to get plenty of playing time at the position.

Honorable mention: Murray St. junior-college transfer Travis Isaak batted .420 with eight home runs and 19 doubles as a sophomore at Lincoln Trail Community College.

Shortstop — Alex Chittenden — University of Louisville

On Monday UofL head coach Dan McDonnell announced Chittenden would start at shortstop for the Cards. Chittenden batted .588 with eight home runs and 19 stolen bases as a senior in high school.

Honorable mention: Morehead St. freshman infielder Bud Morton may not start for the Eagles to begin the season, but he adds an excitement factor to the lineup the Eagles could use.

Third base — Thomas McCarthy — University of Kentucky

McCarthy comes to UK after batting over .400 for two seasons in junior-college baseball. UK head coach Gary Henderson doesn’t predict that for his third baseman this season, but Henderson said “he’s going to be able to get a hit.”

Honorable mention: EKU freshman infielder Bryan Soloman, who head coach Jason Stein called “a complete third baseman,” is projected to start for the Colonels.

Outfield — Ryan Hutchinson — Western Kentucky University

Baseball America recently ranked Hutchinson, who was an all-American at 2010 NJCAA World Series champion Iowa Western Community College, the No. 3 newcomer in the Sun Belt Conference. WKU head coach Chris Finwood expects Hutchinson to provide a middle-of-the-order power presence for the Hilltoppers this season.

Outfield — Lucas Witt — University of Kentucky

In an interview with College Baseball Daily, UK head coach Gary Henderson singled Witt out as a the freshmen outfielder who was making the best case to start in right field. Witt may not be the full-time starter to begin the season, but he figures to see plenty of playing time in 2010.

Outfield — Paul Ritzheimer — Murray State University

Ritzheimer batted .405 with three home runs and 20 RBI as a freshman at Kaskaskia College in 2010, and he should push for playing time in the Murray State outfield this season.

Honorable Mention — UK freshman infielder and outfielder Dallen Reber probably has the most power on the UK roster and will likely push for playing time in right field for the Cats.

Designated hitter — Ivan Hartle — Western Kentucky Unviersity

Junior-college trasnfer Ivan Hartle will start at second base for WKU this season and only is included at DH here to get him into the starting lineup. Hartle was named the NJCAA Division I defensive player of the year in 2010 while playing for the NJCAA World Series champion, Iowa Western Community College.

Honorable mention — UofL freshmen infielder Adam Engel will start for the Cards at designated hitter to begin the season.

Starting pitcher — Corey Littrell — University of Kentucky

Freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell will be UK’s primary midweek starting pitcher to begin the season and stands to be the first option on the weekend in the event of injury or poor performance by one of UK’s top three starters. Littrell was all-state as a senior at Trinity High School and was the 43rd-round pick of the Nationals in 2010.

Starting pitcher — Justin Hageman — Western Kentucky University

WKU head coach Chris Finwood says freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman, the 2010 32nd round pick of the Royals, has as much talent as any pitcher he saw on a Friday night during his time in the Southeastern Conference, but it remains to be seen what Hageman’s role will be with the Hilltoppers. He figures to begin the season as a midweek starting pitcher, but will move to the weekend rotation if he proves himself in that role.

Starting pitcher — Kyle McGrath — Eastern Kentucky University

Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath figures to begin the season as a midweek starting pitcher for the Colonels, but you have to figure he will be given every shot to carve out a more substantial role with the team considering the Colonels’ poor pitching performance in 2010. McGrath was all-state at Butler High School.

Honorable mention — Due to the overall depth of UofL’s pitching staff, freshman right-handed pitcher Dace Kime may not start for the Cards this season but as the highest-drafted player attending a Kentucky college this season he figures to push for playing time in some role.