Ryan Wright, Alex Meyer, Corey Littrell win week 10 awards

College Baseball

Alex Meyer; UK Athletics photo

It’s time for the week 10 college baseball awards. Check out a rundown of the week’s best hitting, pitching and freshmen performances below:

Hitter of the week: INF Ryan Wright (UofL)

  • Stats: 8-15 (.533), 2 HR, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SBs
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Rice (WKU), Ryan Huck (WKU), Thomas McCarthy (UK), Luke Maile (UK), Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the week: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)
  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Derek Self (UofL), Justin Amlung (UofL), Jordan Cooper (UK), Corey Littrell (UK), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Garrick Whittle (Morehead St.), Josh Schneider (Morehead St.)
Freshman of the week: LHP Corey Littrell (UK)
  • Stats: 1-0, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Scott Wilcox (WKU), Kyle Gibson (UofL), Ryan Seiz (UofL), Matt Reida (UK), Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Blake Bottoms (EKU), Noah Smallwood (Morehead St.)
Advertisements

NCAA roundup: UK splits double-header; WKU loses finale

College Baseball

Corey Littrell; BluGrass Baseball photo

Recaps and highlights from Sunday Kentucky college baseball:

  • Western Kentucky University could not avoid a series sweep by Sun Belt Conference-leading Troy after a 12-9 loss in the series finale. Junior right-handed pitcher Phil Wetherell took the loss after surrendering six runs on eight hits in three and one-third innings. Sophomore first baseman Ryan Huck was 3-4 with one home run, three RBI and two runs scored, and junior left fielder Jared Andreoli was 2-4 with one home run, three RBI, one run scored and one walk. Senior third baseman Casey Dykes tallied three hits and two RBI in the game. (Box Score)
  • In the conclusion of a game suspended in the third inning on Saturday, the University of Kentucky clinched a series victory over Arkansas with a 3-1 win. Freshman left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell returned to the mound at the resumption of the game on Sunday and earned the win after surrendering one run on three hits in five and two-third innings while striking out four and walking two. Sophomore catcher Luke Maile slugged his team-high sixth home run of the season and drove in two runs. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott struck out the final two Arkansas batters to earn his second save. (Box Score)
  • UK could not finish the sweep of Arkansas after a 4-1 loss in game two of the double-header in a five-inning game that was shortened due to Southeastern Conference travel rules. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers took the loss after surrendering four runs on eight hits in five innings while striking out two batters and walking none. Freshman second baseman Matt Reida was 2-2 with one RBI. (Box Score) On April 25 UK, Arkansas and the NCAA decided the statistics from the incomplete sixth inning would count in the game, meaning the final score was 5-1 and Matt Reida was 3-3.
Hitter of the day: 1B Ryan Huck (WKU)
  • Stats: 3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Jared Andreoli (WKU), Casey Dykes (WKU), Thomas McCarthy (UK), Luke Maile (UK)
Pitcher of the day: LHP Corey Littrell (UK)
  • Stats: 1-0, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Trevor Gott (UK)

NCAA roundup: UK, Morehead St. win; WKU, UofL lose; Murray St. splits double-header; EKU swept in double-header

College Baseball

UK baseball players slide on tarp during rain delay; Photo by UKBaseball via twitter

Recaps and highlights from Saturday Kentucky baseball action:

  • Sun Belt Conference-leader Troy clinched a series victory over Western Kentucky University by sending the Hilltoppers to an 11-3 loss. Freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman took the loss after surrendering eight runs on eight hits in five innings while striking out five batters and walking one. Junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson was 2-3 with two RBI, and sophomore first baseman Ryan Huck was 2-4 with one RBI. Senior catcher Matt Rice scored two runs. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville could not finish a series sweep of South Florida after a 10-5 loss Sunday. Junior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw took the loss after surrendering two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning. Freshman first baseman Ryan Seiz was 3-5 with two RBI, and redshirt junior right fielder Stewart Ijames was 2-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Senior catcher J. J. Ethel was 2-4 with one double, one RBI, two runs scored and one walk. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky used a complete-game start from junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer to snap a 12-game Southeastern Conference losing streak with a 3-2 win over Arkansas in game one of a double-header. Meyer earned the win after surrendering two runs on three hits in nine innings while striking out 10 batters and walking four. UK earned the win in walk-off fashion with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Junior left fielder Chad Wright drove home freshman infielder Matt Reida to tie the game before junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy walked with the bases loaded to give the Cats the win. Game two of UK’s double-header was suspended in the third inning due to rain. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University scored four runs in the fifth inning to earn a 4-1 win over Eastern Illinois in game one of a double-header. Senior right-handed pitcher Jake Donze earned the win after surrendering one run on four hits in seven innings while striking out two batters and walking two. Sophomore third baseman Paul Ritzheimer was 3-3 with one run scored, and junior catcher Jacob Rhodes slugged his third home run of the season. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University could not finish the double-header sweep in game two, which it lost 5-3 to Eastern Illinois. Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers took the loss after surrendering four runs on two hits in two and one-third innings. Rhodes was 3-4 with two RBI, and redshirt freshman designated hitter Brandon Eggenschwiler had two hits in both games of the double-header. (Box Score)
  • In the continuation of a game suspended on Friday due to rain Eastern Kentucky University dropped a 5-3 decision to UT Martin. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath took the loss after surrendering five runs on five hits in four and one-third innings. Junior left fielder Jacob Daniel was 2-4, and freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 2-3 with one run scored. (Box Score)
  • In game two of a double-header EKU could not avoid the series sweep by UT Martin after a 4-2 loss. The two teams ended the scheduled seven-inning game tied at two, but UT Martin scored two runs in the top of the eighth to earn the win. Senior right-handed pitcher Ryne Purcell took the loss after surrendering two runs on five hits in one and two-third innings. Soloman was 3-4 with one RBI, and junior first baseman A. J. Jamison was 2-4 with one home run, one RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University earned its first Ohio Valley Conference series victory with an 11-4 win in the series finale versus Tennessee Tech. Freshman left-handed pitcher Noah Smallwood earned the win after surrendering three runs on seven hits in five innings while striking out four batters and walking two. Junior third baseman Andrew Deeds was 2-4 with one triple, one home run, six RBI and one run scored. Redshirt sophomore designated hitter Kellen Begeman was 2-3 with two home runs, two RBI and two runs scored. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: 3B Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)
  • Stats: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 R
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Hutchinson (WKU), Ryan Seiz (UofL), J. J. Ethel (UofL), Michael Williams (UK), Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.), Paul Ritzheimer (Murray St.),  Bryan Soloman (EKU), A. J. Jamison (EKU), Kellen Begeman (Morehead St.)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)
  • Stats: 1-0, 9 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jake Donze (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Noah Smallwood (Morehead St.)

Black, Amlung, Littrell earn week 2 BluGrass Baseball awards

College Baseball

Taylor Black; UK Athletics photo

It’s time for the weekly BluGrass Baseball awards. Check out the best hitting, pitching and freshmen performances from week two of the 2011 season:

Hitter of the week: SS Taylor Black (UK)

  • Stats: 9-17 (.529), 1 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 3 doubles, 1 stolen base
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Rice (WKU), Ivan Hartle (WKU), Luke Maile (UK), Ryan Wright (UofL), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Austin Grisham (EKU), Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the week: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 0-0, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Tanner Perkins (WKU), Taylor Haydel (WKU), Walter Wijas (UK), Corey Littrell (UK), Matt Koch (UofL), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Kyle McGrath (EKU), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Jake Donze (Murray St.)

Freshman of the week: LHP Corey Littrell (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Scott Wilcox (WKU), Trevor Gott (UK), Matt Reida (UK), Cody Edge (UofL), Kyle McGrath (EKU), Cameron Finch (Murray St.), Noah Smallwood (Morehead St.)

Murray St. falls to 0-4 with midweek loss; Webb has no pain after long-toss session; Edelen to start Wed. for WKU

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Recap of Tuesday collegiate baseball action and other notes from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Murray State University dropped to 0-4 on the season with an 8-4 loss to Arkansas St. despite five solid innings of work from junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers. The junior-college transfer rebounded from a poor performance in his first start last Friday to surrender just two hits in five scoreless innings while striking out eight and walking none. Junior second baseman Travis Isaak was 3-5 with one run scored. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle Cornett took the loss after surrendering four runs on two hits without recording an out. Junior first baseman Jacob Rhodes was 2-5 with three RBI. (Box Score)
  • You can read BluGrass Baseball‘s full recap of the University of Kentucky 12-3 win over Morehead State Universityhere.
  • Senior right-handed pitcher Brian Edelen will start for Western Kentucky University Wednesday in its game versus Lipscomb.
  • Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb had no ill-effects after a long-toss session Tuesday morning.

Tuesday player of the day: OF Chad Wright (UK)

  • Stats: 3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1  2B
  • Honorable Mention: Thomas McCarthy (UK), Matt Reida (UK), Nick Duff (Morehead St.), Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.)

Tuesday pitcher of the day: RHP Tyler Beers (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Walter Wijas (UK) Matthew Robertson (Morehead St.)

UK blows out Morehead St. 12-3 in first in-state game of 2011

College Baseball

Chad Wright; Photo: UK Athletics

In the first intrastate matchup of the 2011 season the University of Kentucky had no trouble with the Morehead State University pitching staff in a 12-3 win. Six different UK batters tallied multiple hits in the game. UK junior outfielder Chad Wright was 3-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. UK Sophomore right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas was credited with the win after pitching three and two-third scoreless innings in relief. Wijas struck out three batters and walked two. UK freshman second baseman Matt Reida was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored in the game, and junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy was 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. UK freshman right-handed pitcher Jonathan Paquet surrendered two runs in three innings in his first collegiate start.

The Morehead St. pitching staff was able to work out of trouble early in the game, preventing UK from scoring a run after loading the bases in three consecutive innings, but a three-run seventh inning and four-run eighth inning from UK put the game out of reach. At the plate Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis was 2-5 with one RBI. Junior outfielder Luke Bainer, sophomore shortstop Austin Haney and redshirt freshman outfielder Nick Duff each tallied two hits in the game. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson was credited with the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in three innings. The Eagles used seven different pitchers in the game, including weekend starting pitchers Trey Smith and Josh Schneider. (Box Sc0re)

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.

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.

A ten-spot from UK baseball media day

College Baseball

Cliff Hagan Stadium outfield; UK photo

The University of Kentucky hosted its annual baseball media day this afternoon. There was not any major breaking news at the event, but it was the first chance to talk with juniors Alex Meyer, Chad Wright and Braden Kapteyn and senior Taylor Black as well as head coach Gary Henderson this season. I’ve included 10 notes from the event below:

  • Henderson said the second base job is wide open but later admitted he would lean toward playing the strongest defensive player. While outlining the second base candidates, he made a point to emphasize freshman Matt Reida‘s defensive ability, so that probably offers a little glimpse at Henderson’s current thinking.
  • Senior shortstop Taylor Black said he seriously considered signing with the St. Louis Cardinals after being drafted in 2010. “In the end I though it was best for me to come back to the Cliff for my degree and another year,” he told BluGrass Baseball. Black is the only 2010 Cat who was drafted that elected to return to school.
  • Henderson said if the season started today junior everything man Braden Kapteyn would be the starting first baseman, but noted “somebody has to be able to play there when he’s pitching.” For now it looks like either Luke Maile or Michael Williams will be the backup first baseman when the other is catching.
  • While Reida may have a leg up in the second base battle, Henderson said freshman infielder J. T. Riddle was “kind of forcing our hand offensively.” Henderson noted Riddle keeps hitting line drives in the intrasquad games and eventually they will need to find a spot for him in the lineup if he keeps performing. Henderson even suggested Riddle might get a look at first base.
  • There was lots of talk about the new NCAA mandated bats. Each of the four players suggested that bats might even out some of the major losses on the UK offense. Henderson said he thought the complaining some other SEC coaches had done about the bats was overblown.
  • Alex Meyer confirmed a recent media report that he’s been working on a changeup this offseason. Henderson said the changeup would be especially useful the third time through the lineup when batters began to adapt to Meyer’s other two pitches.
  • Each of the three juniors spoke on the need for their class to step into the leadership roles vacated by the numerous upperclassmen who moved on to professional ball from the 2010 team.  “I feel like we have a lot of experience,” outfielder Chad Wright said of the junior class. “Coming in almost all of us have played quite a bit. With the experience we’ll be able to contribute a lot to the team.”
  • I asked Meyer about his adjustment to throwing to new catchers after mainstay Marcus Nidiffer‘s graduation, and he said Nidiffer would be missed but was confident he would quickly adjust to Maile and Williams.
  • Henderson said freshman Corey Littrell and junior Alex Phillips would be the midweek starting pitchers to begin the season. If either of them falters or an injury necessitates a change, freshmen Trevor Gott and Jonathan Paquet would be next in line for starts.
  • I asked each of the four players what this team needed to accomplish to consider the season a success. They each agreed on what that goal was, but Wright was most direct in his answer: “I definitely feel like it [the season] is not a success unless we make the postseason.”