Spring roundup: Green finishes Spring Training with win

Major League Baseball

Sean Green; Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Stats and highlights from Kentucky players on the final full day of Spring Training:

  • Louisville native and former UofL right-handed pitcher Sean Green earned the win after striking out two batters in one scoreless inning for the Milwaukee Brewers and finished the spring at 3-0 with a 0.77 ERA.
  • PLD alum A. J. Ellis walked in his only plate appearance for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Coastal Carolina senior first baseman Rich Witten, a Danville High School alum, was 0-3 with one walk in an exhibition game versus the Texas Rangers.
  • Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard, who was born in Lexington, struck out two batters in a scoreless inning versus the Mets.
  • Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, was 1-3 versus the Minnesota Twins.
  • In that same game Braves left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters, who was born in Pikeville, struck out one batter in a scoreless inning.
  • Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was born in Pikeville, was 1-3 with one walk versus the Blue Jays.
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BluGrass Baseball Hitting Leaderboard: March 8

College Baseball

The college statistical leaderboard is pretty useless this early in the season, but it at least offers a glimpse at what players are off to a hot start to the 2011 season. With that in mind check out the third in-season edition of the 2011 leaderboard. We’ll look at batting statistics today, remembering that players must have 2.5 at-bats per team game to be eligible. Stats are current through Sunday’s games.

Batting Average

  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — .514 (19-37)
  • Matt Rice — WKU — .408 (20-49)
  • Elliot Frey — Murray St. — .393 (11-28)
  • Zach Osborne — Tennessee (PRP) — .393 (11-28)
  • Ryan Huck — WKU — .379 (11-29)

Home Runs

  • Michael Williams — UK — 2
  • Braden Kapteyn — UK — 2
  • Jacob Daniel — EKU — 2
  • Andrew Deeds — Morehead St. — 2
  • Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — 2
  • Zach Noonan — Murray St. — 2

RBI

  • Matt Rice — WKU — 14
  • Taylor Davis — Morehead St. — 12
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 12
  • Jacob Daniel — EKU — 11
  • Zach Noonan — Murray St. — 11

Runs

  • Braden Kapteyn — UK — 12
  • Travis Redmon — Morehead St. — 12
  • Kes Carter — WKU — 12
  • Taylor Black — UK — 11
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 11
  • Rich Witten — Coastal Carolina (Danville HS) — 11

Stolen Bases

  • Chad Wright — UK — 5/5
  • Logan Robbins — WKU — 5/6
  • Jared Andreoli — WKU — 3/3
  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — 3/3
  • Kes Carter — WKU — 3/3

On-Base Percentage

  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — .581
  • Elliot Frey — Murray St. — .538
  • Braden Kapteyn — UK — .520
  • Paul Ritzheimer — Murray St. — .500
  • Zach Osborne — Tennessee (PRP) — .485

Slugging Percentage

  • Richie Rodriguez — EKU — .676
  • Zach Noonan — Murray St. — .650
  • Braden Kapteyn — UK — .622
  • Andrew Deeds — Morehead St. — .600
  • Ryan Huck — WKU — .586

BluGrass Baseball Week Two Weekend Preview

College Baseball

It’s time for the weekend preview for Kentucky week two college baseball action. Check out some storylines to watch out for below:

Matchup of the weekendWestern Kentucky University vs. Coastal Carolina

The Hilltoppers head to South Carolina for the “Baseball at the Beach Tournament” hosted by Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are ranked in sever of the college baseball polls, including at No. 17 in the NCBWA top 30, and will present the toughest test for the Hilltoppers so far in the young season. The two teams matchup on Saturday with WKU freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman getting the start. Hageman earned the win in his collegiate debut on Sunday after surrendering two earned runs in five innings. Coastal Carolina is 3-1 on the season.

Player to watchStewart Ijames (UofL)

After being suspended for the University of Louisville‘s opening weekend series for a violation of team rules, redshirt junior outfielder Stewart Ijames will presumably make his season debut this weekend versus Toledo. Ijames, who returned to UofL after turning down the New York Yankees as the team’s 29th round pick in the 2010 draft, batted .324 with 14 home runs, 63 RBI and 47 runs scored last season. Ijames was selected to the 2011 preseason All-Big East Conference team. The Cards did not miss Ijames during the opening weekend, but he may try to make a statement after failing to show up for his absence in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge.

Ky. teams open home schedules

After all but one Kentucky school opened the season on the road the second weekend’s slate of games is full of home action. The University of Kentucky and Morehead State University made their home debuts during the week and play at home this weekend. The University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University and Murray State University each make their home debuts this weekend in series versus Toledo, Penn State and Bowling Green St. respectively. Kentucky teams are 4-1 at home on the young season.

Tournament Watch — WKU (Baseball at the Beach Tournament)

We already outlined WKU’s matchup with host Coastal Carolina in the “Baseball at the Beach Tournament,” but the Hilltoppers also face Kansas St. and Pacific this weekend. The Hilltoppers turn to sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins in game one versus Kansas St. Friday. Kansas St. is 3-0 on the season. WKU hasn’t announced a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game versus Pacific, which is 0-3 on the season. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel started for the Hilltoppers during the opening weekend but also pitched in relief in WKU’s midweek game.

Out-of-state Ky. collegians playing Ky. collegesRich Witten (Coastal Carolina), Patrick Maronde (Coastal Carolina), John Fidanza (Coastal Carolina)

WKU will face a trio of Kentucky high school alumni in its Saturday matchup versus Coastal Carolina. Danville High School alum Rich Witten is the everyday first baseman for Coastal Carolina and is 2-16 with three RBI and two runs scored in four games this season.  Lexington Catholic alum Patrick Maronde is a freshman right-handed reliever for the Chanticleers but hasn’t appeared in a game yet this season. Patrick is the younger brother of University of Florida junior right-handed pitcher Nick Maronde. Freshman catcher John Fidanza has started two of Coastal Carolina’s four games during the team’s opening series.

This post originally neglected to include John Fidanza among the Kentucky out-of-state collegians playing Kentucky schools this weekend.

BluGrass Baseball Preseason All-State Team

College Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

With just two days remaining until the start of the 2011 college baseball season it’s time to unveil the 2011 preseason BluGrass Baseball All-State team. Eligible players either play for a Kentucky college or attended a Kentucky high school. Check out the team below, with short bios on the first-team players. Remember, we’ll update this team at midseason and after the regular season is over.

C — Matt Rice — Western Kentucky University

  • .369/.446/.585, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 51 R
  • Rice was the first-team catcher on the 2010 BluGrass Baseball postseason All-State Team and returns to WKU after declining to sign with the New York Yankees as the team’s 50th round draft pick this summer. Rice may have been Mr. Irrelevant in the draft after being selected with the last pick, but he’s far from irrelevant in Kentucky college baseball as he should be in the running all season for the player of the year award. Rice was named All-Sun Belt Conference following the 2010 season, and recently was named the preseason Sun Belt player of the year by Baseball America.
  • Second Team: J. J. Ethel (UofL) — .303/.384/.459, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 15 R

1B — Rich Witten — Coastal Carolina (Danville High School)

  • 2010: .312/.393/.584, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 22 R
  • After spending most of 2010 as a key reserve for the Chanticleers before moving into the starting lineup as the everyday first baseman in time for postseason play. Witten is expected to begin 2011 as the NCAA-regional hopeful’s first baseman and hopes to build on his strong postseason play. Witten was named to the Myrtle Beach All-Regional team after batting .278 with a double, home run and 6 RBI in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. As a junior at Danville High School Witten slugged 25 home runs, the second most in a single season in KHSAA history.
  • Second Team: Zak Wasserman (UofL) — .324/.405/.419, 11 RBI, 9 R

2B — Ryan Wright — University of Louisville

  • 2010: .366/.413/.638, 16 HR, 80 RBI, 61 R
  • Junior infielder Ryan Wright has already been named a preseason all-American by three different outlets, including a second-team selection by Baseball America. Wright leads returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 RBI, runs scored and home runs and ranks second in 2010 batting average and slugging percentage. The second baseman spent the summer with Team USA, where he led everyday players with a .361 batting average and 18 runs scored. UofL head coach Dan McDonnell recently called Wright a “RBI mongrel,” noting the junior has 146 RBI in two seasons at UofL.
  • Second Team: Travis Redmon (Morehead St.) — .333/.411/.497, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 42 R

3B — Andrew Deeds — Morehead State University

  • 2010: .305/.356/.603, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 43 R
  • Junior infielder Andrew Deeds leads a weak crop of Kentucky third baseman returning from the 2010 season. Deeds ranks third among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 home runs and slugging percentage. The Trinity High School alum finished the 2010 season on a 12-game hitting streak and tallied 12 multi-hit games on the year. In the Eagles’ series against in-state rival EKU, Deeds was 7-15 with four home runs and six RBI.
  • Second Team: Colton Moore (Murray St.) — .328/.383/.429, 1 HR, 39 RBI, 23 R

SS — Richie Rodriguez — Eastern Kentucky University

  • 2010: .357/.405/.496, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 55 R, 21 SB
  • Junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez led the Colonels in batting average, stolen bases and hits in 2010. He ranks second in 2010 stolen bases and third in 2010 batting average and runs scored among returning Kentucky collegians. The Miami, Fla., native was named a Louisville Slugger freshman all-American following the 2009 season. Rodriguez started every game in 2010 at shortstop and the leadoff slot in the lineup for EKU. He tallied 24 multi-hit games in 2010 including five four-hit games.
  • Second team: Taylor Black (UK) — .270/.386/.489, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 44 R, 12 SB

OF — Stewart Ijames — University of Louisville

  • 2010: .324/.406/.570, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 47 R
  • Redshirt junior outfielder Stewart Ijames returns to Louisville after declining to sign with the New York Yankees as the team’s 29th round pick in the 2010 draft. Ijames was named second-team All-Big East and selected to the all-Big East Tournament Team following the 2010 season. He ranks third among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 batting average and RBI and fifth in 2010 slugging percentage. Ijames was named a Ping! Baseball and Louisville Slugger freshman all-American in 2008 and missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury.
  • Second Team: Ryan Faidley (EKU) — .324/.420/.605, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 44 R

OF — Kes Carter — Western Kentucky University

  • 2010: .341/.418/.484, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 40 R, 14 SB
  • Junior outfielder Kes Carter was named first-team all-Sun Belt following the 2010 season and returns to WKU hoping to improve his draft status. Carter ranks fourth among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 on-base percentage and fifth in 2010 RBI and stolen bases. The outfielder recorded a 15-game hitting streak last season between April 6 and 25 and committed just one error in 2010. Carter was selected in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft by the Florida Marlins following his senior season in high school.
  • Second Team: Chad Wright (UK) — .316/.388/.413, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 36 R, 12 SB

OF — Jared Andreoli — Western Kentucky University

  • 2010: .341/.415/.484, 5 HR, 49 RBI, 61 R, 14 SB
  • Junior outfielder Jared Andreoli led the Hilltoppers with 32 multi-hit games in 2010 and tallied a 15-game hitting streak from March 12 to April 3. Among returning Kentucky collegians Andreoli ranks first in 2010 runs scored, fifth in stolen bases and fifth in on-base percentage. Andreoli ranked eight in runs scored in the Sun Belt Conference last season and fifth in triples. The outfielder leads returning Hilltoppers in total bases and tallied six sacrifice bunts last season.
  • Second Team: Daniel Pugh — .335/.438/.447, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 45 R

DH — Taylor Davis — Morehead State University

  • 2010: .350/.412/..596, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 40 R
  • Junior catcher Taylor Davis was named preseason all-Ohio Valley Conference after his strong 2010 season. Davis ranks fourth among returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 batting average and RBI and fifth in 2010 home runs. The junior started 36 games at catcher, six at designated hitter and three at third base for the Eagles in 2010. Davis tallied a 13-game hitting streak, 19 multi-hit games and 13-multi-RBI games last season. The catcher has been selected to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League during the summer of 2011.
  • Second team — Braden Kapteyn (UK) — .297/.403/.484, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 31 R

SP — Matt Koch — University of Louisville

  • 2010: 3-0, 3.27 ERA, 31 SO/9BB, 44 IP
  • Sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch did not qualify for the ERA title in 2010, but was outstanding after moving into the Cards’ weekend rotation during conference play. Koch appeared in 11 games for UofL in 2010, including six starts. He surrendered just one run in six innings in UofL’s win over Vanderbilt in the NCAA Regional, earning a spot on the all-regional team. Koch moved into the weekend rotation on April 30 against Rutgers and remained there for the rest of the season. He was the 37th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 draft out of high school.
  • Second Team: Anthony Bazzani (EKU) — 5-3, 5.47 ERA, 41 SO/30 BB, 77.1 IP

SP — Justin Amlung — University of Louisville

  • 2010: 5-2, 4.27 ERA, 55 SO/14 BB, 65.1 IP
  • Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was named the 2010 freshman of the year and boasts the lowest qualifying 2010 ERA of any returning Kentucky pitcher. Amlung started 10 games for the Cards last season, beginning the year as a midweek starter before moving into the weekend rotation. He surrendered just three home runs in 65.1 innings pitched that season and begins the season as UofL’s Saturday starting pitcher.
  • Second team: Jordan Cooper (UK) — 4-5, 5.71 ERA, 35 SO/27 BB, 58.1 IP

SP — Alex Meyer — University of Kentucky

  • 2010: 5-3, 7.06 ERA, 63 SO/36 BB, 51 IP
  • Junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer has struggled in two season on campus, but he begins 2011 in the same place he has the last two years as arguably the state’s most talented player. Baseball America recently ranked Meyer the No. 34 prospect in the 2011 draft and selected him to its preseason All-Southeastern Conference team. Meyer is 6-7 with a 6.34 ERA and 143 strikeouts in his UK career but should be a first-round pick in 2011 with a strong season.
  • Second Team: Jake Donze (Murray St.) 6-6, 6.02 ERA, 71 SO/56 BB, 83.2 IP

RP — Rye Davis — Western Kentucky University

  • 2010: 3-4, 2.72 ERA, 9 saves, 63 SO/20 BB, 49.2 IP
  • Relief pitcher might be the most hotly contested spot on the All-State team with redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis and UofL top draft prospect Tony Zych. Davis was the 36th round pick of the Cleveland Indians during the summer of 2010 but returned to WKU in hopes of improving his draft status, that may have been hurt when he missed all of 2009 after being struck in the face by a line drive. Davis leads returning Kentucky collegians in 2010 appearances and ranks second in strikeouts and saves.
  • Second Team: Tony Zych — 5-2, 5.13 ERA, 1 save, 50 SO/11 BB, 61.2 IP

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

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 20 Rich Witten

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. 20, a player who posted one of the most memorable Kentucky high school seasons in recent years.

No. 20 — 1B Rich Witten — Coastal Carolina (Danville HS)

Rich Witten

Rich Witten; Coastal Carolina picture

First baseman Rich Witten slugged 25 home runs as a senior at Danville High School, the second most in one season in Kentucky High School history. During his first three seasons at Coastal Carolina, Witten has experience moderate success. Witten earned a medical redshirt as a freshman even after appearing in 11 games. As a redshirt sophomore in 2010 Witten batted .312 with four home runs, 22 RBI and 22 runs scored in 39 games, including 15 starts. The Danville slugger spent the last month of 2010 as the Coastal Carolina primary first baseman and enters 2011 in that role.

During the summer 2010 Witten batted .288 with six home runs, 25 RBI and 25 runs scored in 32 games for the Outer Banks Daredevils of the Coastal Plains League. Witten was named to the all-tournament team of the Myrtle Beach Regional during the 2010 NCAA tournament, batting .278 with a home run, double and six RBI. In the regional championship game versus College of Charleston, Witten slugged a grand slam and scored the eventual winning run.

Yahoo! Sports picks UofL 2nd in Big East; Coastal Carolina to count on Witten; Philly writers differ on Blanton’s future

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Kendall Rogers of Yahoo Sports! and Rivals.com picks the University of Louisville to finish second in the Big East in his conference preview. Rogers named UofL second baseman Ryan Wright, outfielder Stewart Ijames and right-handed reliever Tony Zych to his preseason all-Big East team. Rogers reports right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold will fill one of the weekend starter slots.
  • Rogers also breaks down his No. 19 college team in his preseason poll: Coastal Carolina. Among the key contributors for the Chaticleers in 2011 will be Danville native Rich Witten, Rogers reports.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America runs down the prospect scouting reports that were pushed out of the magazine’s “Prospect Handbook” due to new acquisitions including former Morehead St. infielder Drew Lee. BA calls Lee a “smart hitter with surprising pop for his size,” and notes the White Sox could have found a bargain in Lee if he continues to hit at higher levels.
  • Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer lays out the case for the Phillies trading former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton.
  • Todd Zolecki of MLB.com thinks it makes sense for the Phillies to keep Blanton according to his latest mailbag and reports it’s unlikely the team would ask Blanton to defer some of his 2011 salary to later years.
  • Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports the Oriole have shown little interest in Blanton despite their need for a starting pitcher.