WKU loses to Belmont; Ellis to open season with Dodgers

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

A. J. Ellis; Photo by frankat1stbase3 via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball with a recap from Wednesday’s lone college baseball game:

  • Western Kentucky University surrendered two runs in the top of the 10th inning and the team’s rally in the bottom of the inning fell just short in a 9-8 loss to Belmont. Freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman took the loss after surrendering two unearned runs in one inning. Senior third baseman Casey Dykes was 3-4 with three RBI and one run scored, and senior designated hitter Matt Rice slugged his third home run of the season. Junior center fielder Kes Carter was 2-4 with three runs scored. (Box Score)
  • Quinn Roberts of MLB.com reports PLD alum A. J. Ellis won the last spot on the Dodgers roster after Jay Gibbons was forced to start the season on the disabled list.
  • Chuck Jones of The News-Enterprise reports Elizabethtown native Nathan Adcock is “on top of the world” after being selected to open the season in the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen.
  • Nick Jones of the Northerner, the student newspaper of Northern Kentucky University, reports Bill Aker, the first baseball coach at NKU, died Saturday.

Small College Roundup: Ky. schools off to strong starts

College Baseball

We do not get too much small-college baseball news on BluGrass Baseball very often, mostly because many of the schools’ websites are slow to update and statistical information is often unavailable. However as Georgetown College pointed out with its win over Morehead St. this week, the Kentucky small-college baseball programs deserve some attention too. With that in mind here is the first post in what hopefully will become a semi-regular “Small College Spotlight” series.

Tigers win over Morehead highlights so-so start to 2011

Georgetown College may have secured a win over Division 1 Morehead St. this week, but the Tigers sit at just 12-12 on the season after the big victory. NAIA Georgetown is 3-5 in Mid-South Conference play and is 4-4 at home. Top hitter Tyler Fisher, who was the MVP of the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer, has done his part by batting .366 with five home runs, 14 RBI and 17 runs scored through the first 24 games. Senior right-handed pitcher K. C. Massie has been the Tigers’ best pitcher, boasting a 4-2 record and 2.17 ERA in six starts to go with 31 strikeouts and 11 walks.

NKU holds on to ranking without Crisper

Northern Kentucky University was ranked No. 27 in the latest NCAA DII poll from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and has won eight of its first 12 games despite playing without 2010 Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the year Jason Crisper. The Norse still list Crisper on the 2011 roster but had expected word last month as to whether the NCAA would grant the senior outfielder would a fifth year of eligibility after an injury limited him to seven games as a freshman at Miami (OH). NKU ace Dave Middendorf, a senior left-handed pitcher and 2010 draftee, is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 29 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 26 and one-third innings.

Transy pitcher dazzles in win over defending MWC champs

Transylvania University junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Bugh was outstanding in a 7-1 Transy win over defending Midwest Conference champion Ripon. Bugh surrendered just one run on four hits in a complete-game performance while striking out 10 batters and walking just one. Bugh is 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 19 strikeouts to go with 4 walks in 21 and one-third innings on the season. The Pioneers are 6-3 to start the 2011 season.

Thomas Moore, Cumberlands and Union off to strong starts

Transy is not the only Kentucky NCAA DIII school playing well early in the 2011 season as Thomas Moore College has started the year 6-0 and is ranked No. 25 in the latest NCBWA DIII top 25 poll. In NAIA play the University of the Cumberlands and Union College are among the hottest teams in the country. Both teams have already won over 20 games to go with five losses. Union’s 21-5 record is tenth best in the NAIA, and Cumberlands follows close behind at 20-5.

If you are a representative of a Kentucky small-college team and wish your school to be included in a future Small College Roundup send any relevant information to jhale@blugrassbaseball.com.

UofL duo named to Golden Spikes Award watch list; Rangers taking it easy with Brandon Webb; NCAA tourney projections

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Latest links around Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Louisville junior infielder Ryan Wright and junior closer Tony Zych have been named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list by USA Baseball. The award goes to the nation’s top college player each season.
  • Richard Skinner of the Cincinnati Enquirer previews Northern Kentucky University‘s season, noting the school is still waiting for word on star slugger Jason Crisper‘s eligibility.
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson, who the Oakland Athletics acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in November.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports the Texas Rangers are taking it easy with former UK right-handed pitcher and Ashland native Brandon Webb, having him throw off a mound every three days instead of every two.
  • Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA has UofL as a No. 2 seed in the Charlottesville regional in his preseason NCAA tournament projection and the University of Kentucky just missing the field.
  • Aaron Fitt of Baseball America has UofL as a No. 3 seed in the Nashville regional in his preseason NCAA tournament projections and also has UK among the teams just missing the field.

Top 25 Ky. Collegians Recap

College Baseball

Check back later for some breakdown of the omissions from the top 25 list, but for now here is the list in one post:

  1. Ryan Wright
  2. Matt Rice
  3. Tony Zych
  4. Stewart Ijames
  5. Rye Davis
  6. Alex Meyer
  7. Kes Carter
  8. Richie Rodriguez
  9. Taylor Black
  10. Jordan Cooper
  11. Matt Koch
  12. Jared Andreoli
  13. Braden Kapteyn
  14. Justin Amlung
  15. Chad Wright
  16. Derek Self
  17. Taylor Davis
  18. Casey Lucchese
  19. Dave Middendorf
  20. Rich Witten
  21. Justin Riddell
  22. Brian Edelen
  23. Jason Crisper
  24. Brandon Elliott
  25. Tyler Fisher

Nidiffer hopes to play for Legends; Crisper appealing for extra year at NKU; Kearns provides Indians with OF depth

High School Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Austin Kearns; Photo by Scott Ableman via Flickr

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com examines the Cleveland Indians outfield, including Lexington native Austin Kearns. Bastian reports Kearns will “provide an experienced right-handed bat to help offset the fact that the trio of regulars all bat from the left side.”
  • Stephen Wilder of the Northerner, the student newspaper of Northern Kentucky University, previews the 2011 Norse and reports 2010 GLVC player of the year Jason Crisper is appealing to the NCAA for a medical hardship that would grant him an extra year of eligibility.
  • Mark Maloney of the Lexington Herald-Leader profiles former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer, who has transitioned to a first baseman as a professional and may be the first former Cat to play for the Lexington Legends.
  • Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal profiles new Ballard High School coach David Trager, a 25-year-old Ballard alum who played four years at Indiana.

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 19 Dave Middendorf

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with No. 19, a rare example of a returning Division II draftee.

No. 19 — LHP Dave Middendorf — Northern Kentucky University

Dave Middendorf; NKU photo

Senior left-handed pitcher Dave Middendorf returns to NKU after being selected in the 44th round of the 2010 draft by the New York Yankees. Middendorf was 8-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 81 strikeouts to go with 12 walks in 11 starts for NKU in 2010. The Cincinnati native was named first-team all-Great Lakes Valley Conference and all-Midwest Region as a junior. Middendorf returns as NKU’s ace in 2011.

The southpaw held opposing batters to a .246 batting average last season and surrendered just 18 earned runs in 61 and one-third innings.  Middendorf was also named third-team all-GLVC as a sophomore and second-team all-GLVC as a freshman. In his three-season NKU career Middendorf is 16-9 with a 2.97 ERA and 222 strikeouts. Middendorf was was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in four games, including three starts, for the Lexington Hustlers during the summer. He struck out 13 and walked just three in 14 summer innings.

Lexington Hustlers unveil 2011 roster

College Baseball

Earlier this week we posted the list of Kentucky college baseball players who would participate in the 2011 Cape Cod League, but now we have some summer college baseball news from a little closer to home. The Lexington Hustlers of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League have unveiled its 2011 roster will a plethora of Kentucky natives making the cut. You can see the roster on the Hustler’s website here and check out the list with position, college and hometown below.


  • RHP Conner Asay — Fr. — Vicennes — Lexington, Ky. (Lafayette HS)
  • RHP Brandon Boling — S0. — Gardner-Webb — Lexington, Ky. (Bryan Station HS)
  • RHP Wade Bush — So. — Indiana St. — Terre Haute, Ind.
  • RHP Brent Cobb — Fr. — Eastern Kentucky University — Lexington, Ky. (Lafayette HS)
  • RHP Chase Greene — So. — EKU — Nicholasville, Ky. (West Jessamine HS)
  • RHP Matt Harris — Jr. — EKU — Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay HS)
  • RHP Chad Martin — Jr. — Indiana — Lexington, Ky. (Paul Laurence Dunbar HS)
  • RHP Jason McGinnis — Jr. — Georgetown College — Barboursville, W. V.
  • RHP/OF Sam Kidd — So. — University of Kentucky — Hartford, Ky. (Ohio Co. HS)
  • LHP Nolan Fernandez — Fr. — Wabash Valley JC — Lexington, Ky.
  • LHP Tanner Perkins — So. — Western Kentucky University — Brodhead, Ky. (Rockcastle Co. HS)
  • LHP Noah Smallwood — Fr. — Morehead State University — Nicholasville, Ky. (West Jessamine HS)
  • LHP Phil Trowbridge — St. Joe’s (Ind.) — Mokena, Il..
  • LHP Josh Jillson — SO. — St. Catherine’s College — Wales Maine


  • C Shane Crain — So. — Wabash Valley JC (UofL signee) — Lexington, Ky.
  • C Kyle Gibson — Fr. — University of Louisville — Henderson, Ky. (Henderson Co. HS)
  • C/OF Brandon Brian — So. — WKU — Louisville, Ky. (Trinity HS)


  • SS Quintin Alexander — Fr. — St. Joe’s (Ind.) — Chicago, Ill.
  • SS Bud Morton — Fr. — Morehead St. — Nicholasville, Ky. (West Jessamine HS)
  • INF Colt Cattani — Jr. — Northern Kentucky University — West Chester, Ohio
  • INF Jonathan Craycraft — Jr. — Lipscomb — Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay HS)
  • INF Luke Hawkins — So. — Campbellsville University — Lawrenceburg, Ky. (Anderson Co. HS)
  • INF Robert Lawrence — So. — Middle Tenn. — Madison, Tenn.
  • INF/RHP J. T. Riddle — Fr. — UK — Frankfort, Ky. (Western Hills HS)


  • OF Ronald Cotton — Fr. — Cincinnati — Florence, Ky. (Boone Co. HS)
  • OF Dalton Henzman — So. — Middle Tenn. — Lexington, Ky. (LCA)
  • OF/INF Jordan Rorex — So. — Middle Tenn. — Clinton, Tenn.
  • OF Taylor Russell — Jr. — NKU — Loveland, Ohio
  • OF Tanner Smith — Fr. — WKU — London, Ky. (North Laurel HS)

Outfielder Ronald Cotton and infielder/right-handed pitcher J. T. Riddle were both 2010 draft picks.

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 23 Jason Crisper

College Baseball

Jason Crisper; NKU photo

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s countdown of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down its own list of the top 25 Kentucky college baseball players in advance of the 2011 season. To be eligible, players must  attend a Kentucky college, have attended a Kentucky high school or have been born in the state. We move on to No. 23 today with a Division II all-American.

No 23 — OF Jason Crisper — Northern Kentucky University

On Friday Crisper was named a first-team Division II preseason all-American by Baseball America following a strong 2010 campaign that saw him bat .442 with four home runs, 47 RBI, 75 runs scored and 39 stolen bases in 43 attempts. The outfielder was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the year following the 2010 season and was selected as a third-team Division II all-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

The Cincinnati native may be able to play his way into a late-round draft choice or at least a free-agent contract with a strong follow-up to his 2010 season. Crisper led the Norse last season in batting average, runs scored, doubles, triples, total bases and stolen bases. As a sophomore in 2009 Crisper batted .413 for the Norse, earning all-conference and all-region honors.

NKU OF named DII preseason all-Ameircan; Revere, Chapman among top MiLB prospects at their positions

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Ben Revere; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Northern Kentucky University senior outfielder Jason Crisper has been named a preseason NCAA DII all-American by Baseball America.
  • Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranks Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere the No. 9 outfield prospect in MiLB.
  • Mayo ranks 2010 Louisville Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in MiLB. Former Bowling Green Hot Rods left-handed pitcher Matt Moore checked in at No. 7 on the list.
  • May ranks 2009 Lexington Legends right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles the No. 10 right-handed pitching prospect in MiLB.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com answers a few questions about 2010 Louisville Bats in his Reds mailbag, including Travis Wood, Juan Francisco and Chris Valaika.

NKU picked second in GLVC by coaches; Kipnis to compete for Indians’ second base job; UK opens practice

College Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports one-time UK outfielder turned second baseman Jason Kipnis, who transferred to Arizona St. from UK, will participate in the Cleveland Indians Winter Development Program for 14 of the organization’s top prospects. Bastian notes Kipnis will compete for the MLB second base job during Spring Training.
  • Eric Lindsey of the University of Kentucky media relations department notes on the school’s “Cat Scratches” blog that the Bat Cats began practice for the upcoming season on Wednesday.
  • Northern Kentucky University has been picked to finish second in the east division by the Great Lakes Valley Conference coaches in their preseason poll. NKU was recently ranked No. 17 in the country in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper‘s preseason Division II poll.
  • If Western Kentucky University finishes among the top eight teams in the Sun Belt Conference it will face a new format in the conference tournament. The Sun Belt tournament will feature two round-robin, four-team pools in the first round with the top team from each pool moving on to the championship game.