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

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2011 Lineup Projections: Murray St. University

College Baseball

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 Murray State University today.

Lineup

  • C — Drew Pixley
  • 1B — Tyler Beers
  • 2B — Travis Isaak
  • 3B — Colton Moore
  • SS — Brandon Elliott
  • LF — Zach Noonan
  • CF — Elliot Frey
  • RF — Paul Ritzheimer
  • DH — Jacob Rhodes

Weekend rotation

  • LHP — Jacob Donze
  • LHP — Bryan Babin
  • LHP — Kyle Cornett

Midweek starting pitchers

  • LHP — Brock Downey
  • LHP — Mark Roberts

Closer

  • LHP — Luke Shuemaker

Offseason position battle: Murray St. closer

College Baseball

We are closing out the “offseason position battle” series with a look at the three vacant Kentucky closer positions, starting today with Murray State University.

The departed — Left-handed pitcher Matt McGaha, a 2010 senior, was Murray State’s top reliever last season, finishing the season at 5-3 with a 3.90 ERA. McGaha pitched enough innings out of the Breds’ bullpen to qualify for the ERA title and recorded three saves on the season. The right-handed pitcher struck out 52 batters and walked 13 in 67 innings pitched on the season…Right-handed pitcher Dan Huff, a 2010 senior, led Murray St. with four saves in 2010. Huff was 1-4 with an 8.35 ERA in 18 games, including six starts.

Returning candidates — No returning Murray St. reliever recorded a save in 2010, but sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Major had the most success out of the pen of any Breds returner. Major did not record a decision and posted a 3.60 ERA in four appearances, including one start. Major struck out four batters and walked nine in 10 innings pitched…Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ben Lady is the returning reliever with the most innings pitched at 20 and one-third innings, but struggled to the tune of a 7.97 ERA in 2010…No returning Murray St. reliever other than Major posted an ERA below 6.35 in 2010.

Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Bryan Babin had moderate success as a reliever for Mississippi Gulf Coast College in 2010, going 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched. Babin struck out 23 batters and walked 11 in 13 appearances…Junior college transfer Luke Shuemaker proved able to miss bats with 40 strikeouts in 50 and two-third innings pitched for Rend Lake College in 2010…Junior college transfer Mark Roberts posted a save and five wins for Lincoln Trail College in 2010 while striking out 35 batters and walking 25 in 55 innings pitched…Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle Cornett was named first-team all state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association as a senior at Eastern High School and could serve as a valuable reliever if he does not start for the Breds…Freshman right-handed pitcher Tyler Saltsman was named second-team all-state by KHSBCA as a senior at Grayson County High School.

Wildcard — Freshman two-way player Brock Downey may be called on to pitch and play outfield for the Breds in 2011. As a senior left-handed pitcher at Murray High School Downey posted a 2.18 ERA and 102 strikeouts. KHSBCA named him first-team all-state and the Region 1 player of the year as a senior. Downey batted .550 and stole 52 bases as a senior at the plate. Considering no Murray St. reliever posted more than four saves in 2010 there is a good chance head coach Rob McDonald may use a revolving set of pitchers in the late innings all season.

Offseason position battle: Murray St. starting pitchers

College Baseball

In the fifth Murray State University post of the “offseason position battle series we will look at the vacant weekend starting pitching slots.

The departed — Right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft, a 2010 senior, served as the Murray State ace for each of the last two seasons, being named second-team all-Ohio Valley Conference following the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Craycraft was 6-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, for the Breds in 2010. The Lexington native struck out 72 batters and walked 35 in 92 and two-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitcher Alex Love, a 2010 senior, was 8-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 19 games, including eight starts, for the Breds last season. Love struck out 35 batters and walked 23 in 70 and one-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitchers Marc Harmon and Dan Huff, both 2010 seniors, combined to make 13 starts for Murray St. last season but neither finished the year with an ERA below 8.35.

Returning candidates — Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze made 16 starts for Murray St. in 2010 and finished the season at 6-6 with a 6.02 ERA. Donze struck out 71 batters and walked 56 in 83.2 innings pitched and enters 2011 as the Breds de facto ace…Sophomore right-handed pitchers Joe Major, Will Handlin, and Ben Lady each made one start for Murray St. in 2010. Major was the only returning Murray St. pitcher to finish 2010 with a sub-4.00 ERA, but he logged just 10 innings pitched on the season.

Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Bryan Babin pitched four shutout innings in the decisive game of the Murray St. Fall World Series. Babin, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched as a sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…Junior college transfer Luke Shuemaker, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 4-2 with a 5.15 ERA in 50 and two-third innings pitched for Rend Lake College in 2010…Junior college transfer Mark Roberts, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 55 innings pitched for Lincoln Trail College in 2010…Freshman left-handed pitchers Kyle Cornett and Brock Downey were both named first-team all-state as a seniors by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association…Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch was named first-team all state as a senior in Collierville, Tenn., and pitched eight complete games and two no-hitters in 2010.

Wildcard — The Breds have no shortage of starting pitcher candidates as head coach Rob McDonald brought in nine new pitchers to the 2011 pitching staff. Junior Tyler Beers, a junior college transfer, may be needed to man the vacant first base position for the Breds, but he also logged experience as a right-handed pitcher at Mineral Area college. Beers was 2-7 with a 6.12 ERA as a sophomore, but proved to be an innings eater after striking out 55 in 64 and two-third innings pitched.

2011 Newcomers: Murray State University

Minor League Baseball

Murray State University has posted its 2011 roster which means we have out first look at the official list of Breds’ newcomers for the upcoming season. The roster may change slightly by the spring semester, but this list should at least give you a good idea of what the Breds will look like in 2011. You can see the full roster here, but I’ve listed the newcomers below with year and previous school:

  • INF — Wes Warren — FR — Hendersonville HS (Tenn.)
  • RHP — Cameron Finch — FR — Collier HS (Tenn.)
  • C — Clay Fuson — FR — Lipscomb HS (Tenn.)
  • INF — Chase Freeman — FR — Anderson HS (Ind.)
  • LHP/OF — Brock Downey — FR — Murray High School (Ky.)
  • LHP — Thomas McGurk — FR — Medina HS (Ohio)
  • RHP — Tyler Saltsman — FR — Grayson County High School (Ky.)
  • LHP — Kyle Cornett — FR — Eastern High School (Ky.)
  • OF — Paul Ritzheimer — SO — Kaskaskia CC (Ill.)
  • LHP — Bryan Babin — JR — Mississippi Gulf Coast CC
  • RHP/1B — Tyler Beers — JR — Mineral Area College (Mo.)
  • INF — Travis Isaak — JR — Lincoln Trail CC (Ill.)
  • OF — Corey Larson — JR — Skyline CC (Cal.)
  • C — Jacob Rhodes — JR — Wabash Valley College (Mich.)
  • LHP — Luke Shuemaker — JR — Rend Lake College (Paducah, Ky.)
  • LHP — Mark Roberts — JR — Lincoln Tail CC (Henderson, Ky.)
  • RHP — Curan McNeely — JR — Land Lake College (Ill.)