BluGrass Baseball Week Eight Weekend Preview

College Baseball

Justin Riddell; BluGrass Baseball photo

It’s time for the week eight college baseball weekend preview. Check out the storylines to watch in week eight Kentucky college baseball games below:

Series of the week: Western Kentucky University vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Western Kentucky University (18-11, 6-3) welcomes Sun Belt Conference foe Louisiana-Lafayette (17-11, 6-3) to Bowling Green this weekend. The two teams are essentially tied for second place in conference play, so the series should play a major role in the conference title race. WKU head coach Chris Finwood has made a minor change in the weekend starting rotation, sending freshman Justin Hageman to the mound on Friday and sophomore Tanner Perkins to the mound on Saturday. WKU ranked No. 79 in the first RPI standings released by the NCAA and Louisiana-Lafayette ranked No. 68, so a series win would help WKU’s NCAA at-large chances as well.

Player to watch: RHP Alex Meyer (UK)

The University of Kentucky needs a series win in the worst way versus Auburn this weekend. The Cats have lost their last six Southeastern Conference games and are in danger of falling out of the Southeastern Conference tournament race before it even reaches the halfway point. Junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer will take the mound on Friday in his usual starting spot and needs to post a strong performance to get UK off on the right foot. Meyer has excellent secondary numbers this season with a 3.10 ERA, 62 strikeouts and a .214 batting average against but has just a 3-4 record. He needs offensive support, but UK has no shot at the postseason if its ace has a sub-.500 record.

Stat of the week: Cards’ pitchers grow stronger late in games.

The University of Louisville pitching staff has been among the best in college baseball this season, but it has been particularly strong as games progress. The team has surrendered over half of its runs, 54 of 94, in the first three innings. After the third innings UofL is outscoring its opponents 99-43 on the season. The UofL bullpen has been particularly strong, led by junior closer Tony Zych, who has a 2.92 ERA and seven saves in 12 appearances, and junior right-handed pitcher Derek Self, who has a 0.68 ERA in 26 and two-third relief innings. Freshman right-handed pitcher Chad Green boasts a 1.62 ERA in nine games, including eight relief appearances.

Out of state Kentucky collegians playing Kentucky colleges: OF Justin Riddell (Cincinnati, Lexington Catholic), RHP Zach Isler (Cincinnati, Covington Catholic), INF Kiley Jones (Cincinnati, Eastern), OF Ronald Cotton (Cincinnati, Boone Co.), LHP Joe Sullivan (Cincinnati, Villa Hills), LHP Jeremy Dobbs (Austin Peay, Daviess Co.), LHP Jack Snodgrass (Austin Peay, Bowling Green)

A host of Kentucky high school alumni will return to the Bluegrass State this weekend, led by Cincinnati’s five Kentucky natives. Senior outfielder Justin Riddell is among the Bearcats best hitters and had two home runs against Morehead St. in a midweek game this week, and freshman right-handed pitcher Zach Isler is a valuable bullpen arm. Austin Peay will send Daviess Co. alum Jeremy Dobbs and Bowling Green alum Jack Snodgrass to the mound for starts against Eastern Kentucky University this weekend.

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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

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.

Pitchers

  • 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

Catchers

  • 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)

Infielders

  • 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)

Outfield

  • 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.

Black, Ijames, Davis, Rice among Kentucky draftees who turned down professional contracts

College Baseball, High School Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

While Louisville native Zack Cox and Danville native Blake Perry signed professional contracts before Monday’s midnight draft signing deadline, 16 other Kentucky draftees did not and will head to college in the coming weeks. UK shortstop Taylor Black, UofL outfielder Stewart Ijames, WKU  right-handed pitcher Rye Davis, NKU left-handed pitcher David Middendorf and WKU catcher Matt Rice were the Kentucky collegians who elected to return to school rather than sign deals with their professional clubs. Lexington native Casey Lucchese, the Cubs’ 39th round pick, will return to the College of Charleston for his senior season in 2011.

Ohio high school right-handed pitcher Dace Kime, the Pirates’ eight-round pick, was the highest drafted Kentucky player to choose college and will attend the University of Louisville this fall. UofL signee Chad Green, an Illinois right-handed pitcher and Blue Jays 37th round pick, also will play for the Cards in 2011. (Update 8/23: This item has been updated to correct previous error about UofL signee Joel Bender, who did sign with Reds)

Mr. Kentucky Baseball and Western Hills High School infielder/right-handed pitcher J. T. Riddle, the Red Sox’ 35th round pick; Lexington Christian Academy outfielder Lucas Witt, the Dodgers’ 38th round pick; and Trinity High School left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell, the Nationals’ 42nd round pick, will each play for the University of Kentucky in 2011 rather than sign pro deals. UK out-of-state commitments Jonathan Bobea, a New York right-handed pitcher and Angles’ 19th round pick, and Matt Reida, an Indiana infielder and White Sox 47th round pick, will also suit up for the Cats in 2011.

Hopkinsville High School right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman, the first Kentucky high schooler selected in the 2010 draft as the Royals 32nd round pick, will follow through on his commitment to Western Kentucky University. Former Boone County High School outfielder Ronald Cotton, the White Sox’ 45th round pick, will play for the University of Cincinnati next season. In all 31 of 48 players with Kentucky ties selected in the 2010 draft have signed professional contracts as well as six non-drafted free agents. Former UK left-handed pitcher James Paxton, the Mariners’ fourth-round pick, has yet to sign a pro deal but wasn’t restricted by the Monday deadline as he pitched in independent ball in 2010.

Several high school draftees look likely to attend college

College Baseball, High School Baseball

With the weekend deadline for MLB draft picks to sign looming, several of the Kentucky high school prospects selected in the 2010 appear ready to head to college. Ohio prep left-handed pitcher and University of Louisville signee Dace Kime, the eighth round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, told Tim McDonough of The Crescent-News in Defiance, Ohio, that he would follow through on his committment to UofL instead of signing with the Pirates. “The more I waited around (for the Pirates) and the more I was around Louisville, the more persuaded I became to go to school,” Kime told McDonough. “My mom didn’t know about my decision, my dad (Jay Kime) didn’t know about my decision, I just made it and let Louisville know I was coming. Then I told my parents.”

Similarly Mr. Kentucky Baseball, J. T. Riddle, the Western Hills High School shortstop/pitcher and Boston Red Sox 35th round selection, told Linda Younkin of The State Journal in Frankfort he would follow through on his commitment to the University of Kentucky. “After being drafted there was some thought about not going [to UK], but the Red Sox had come back and said that where my shoulder was injured they couldn’t offer what I was asking and so that really put that down the drain, and I just decided to go on to UK,” Riddle told Younkin. In July the Courier-Journal also reported Trinity High School right-handed pitcher Corey Littrell, the Nationals’ 42nd round pick and Louisville Slugger player of the year, would attend UK.

Indiana prep infielder Matt Reida, the White Sox 47th round pick, told the Kokomo Tribune in Indiana after the draft he was likely following through on his commitment to UK and has given no indication to the contrary since. Boone County High School outfielder Ronald Cotton, the White Sox 45th round pick, committed to play collegiate ball at the University of Cincinnati in July, one month after the draft. I’ve found no media reports about the status of Hopkinsville High School right-handed pitcher and WKU signee Justin Hageman, Lexington Christian Academy outfielder and UK signee Lucas Witt or UofL signees Joel Bender and Chad Green. Since each of those players was drafted after the 25th round the chances of them attending school are good.

The Kentucky high school player who appears most likely to sign a professional contract is Danville native Blake Perry, a right-handed pitcher who signed with UK but was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth round. Perry told The Advocate-Messenger in late July he still had no idea whether he would sign or not, but he figures to garner a six-figure signing bonus if he choses to go to Arizona. Earlier this week Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported the Diamondbacks were still working to sign Perry.

Draft Update: 18 Kentucky draftees have yet to sign

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Zack Cox; University of Arkansas photo

We’re just over three weeks from the Aug. 16 deadline for Major League teams to sign their non-college senior draft picks, so I thought we’d look at the remaining Kentucky draftees who have yet to sign. Remember over-slot deals aren’t announced until the deadline so some of these players may have agreed to deals that haven’t been announced yet:

  • 3B — Zack Cox — Louisville (University of Arkansas) — 1st Round — St. Louis Cardinals
  • LHP — James Paxton — University of Kentucky (Ind. League) — 4th Round — Seattle Mariners
  • RHP — Blake Perry — Danville (Pendleton Academy, Fla.) — 6th Round — Arizona Diamondbacks
  • RHP — Dace Kime — Ohio HS (University of Louisville Signee) — 8th Round — Pittsburgh Pirates
  • LHP — Joel Bender — Ohio HS (UofL Signee) — 27th Round — Cincinnati Reds
  • SS — Taylor Black — University of Kentucky — 28th Round — St. Louis Cardinals
  • OF — Stewart Ijames — UofL — 29th Round — New York Yankees
  • RHP — Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville High School — 32nd Round — Kansas City Royals
  • SS — J. T. Riddle — Western Hills High School — 35th Round — Boston Red Sox
  • RHP — Rye Davis — Western Kentucky University — 36th Round — Cleveland Indians
  • RHP — Chad Green — Illinois HS (UofL Signee) — 37th Round — Toronto Blue Jays
  • OF — Lucas Witt — Lexington Christian Academy — 38th Round — Los Angeles Dodgers
  • RHP — Casey Lucchese — Lexington (College of Charleston) — 39th Round — Chicago Cubs
  • LHP — Corey Littrell — Louisville Trinity — 42nd Round — Washington Nationals
  • LHP — David Middendorf — Northern Kentucky University — 44th Round — New York Yankees
  • OF — Ronald Cotton — Boone County High School — 45th Round — Chicago White Sox
  • INF — Matt Reida — Indiana HS (UK Signee) — 47th Round — Chicago White Sox
  • C — Matt Rice — WKU — 50th Round — New York Yankees

Rice has already gone on record with his intentions to return to WKU for his senior season, but the final destinations for the other players are at least relatively uncertain. It’s probably safe to assume most of the high schoolers drafted in the later rounds will follow through on their college commitments, barring a team paying way over the slot recommendation to sign them.

Day One State Tournament Roundup

High School Baseball

The first four games of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tournament are in the books. Check out brief recaps and awards from those games below and remember Lone Oak, LCA, Male, Warren Central, Hopkinsville, Daviess County, Harrison County and Clay County play their first-round games today.

  • Region 15 champion Pikeville High School came back from an early deficit and held off a late rally to defeat Region 14 champion Perry County Central High School in game one of the KHSAA state tournament. Pikeville junior second baseman Stephen Layne was 3-5 with one run scored and one RBI, and sophomore shortstop Gavin Miller was 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored. Junior starting pitcher Layne Cecil earned the win after surrendering six runs in five innings. Perry County senior left fielder Tyler Mullins was 2-4 with a run scored. (Box Score)
  • Region 16 champion Greenup County High School rode an outstanding pitching performance from senior starting pitcher Ethan Hardin en route to a 5-2 victory over Region Five champion Central Hardin High School. Hardin surrendered two runs on five hits in seven innings and struck out five while walking none. Greenup County senior left fielder Juan Staten was 3-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Five different Central Hardin batters recorded one hit in the game, and junior starting pitcher Dylan Schoffner took the loss despite allowing just two runs in four innings. (Box Score)
  • Region 12 champion West Jessamine High School, the highest ranked team in the tournament at No. 4 in the KHSBCA top 25, overcame an early 6-1 deficit to defeat Region Eight champion Shelby County High School 8-6 in its first-round game. West Jessamine reliever Alex Lester was almost unhittable as he allowed no runs on three hits in five and one-third innings for the win. Lester struck out 11 and walked none. Designated hitter Gus Sherrow was 3-4 with three runs scored, and third baseman Tyler West was 3-3 with two RBI and one run scored. Shelby County scored six runs in the first two innings with the help of five West Jessamine errors. Senior catcher John Hunter was 2-4 with a run scored. (Box Score)
  • Region Six champion Butler High School senior starting pitcher Kyle McGrath turned in the best pitching performance of the young tournament to lead Butler to a 7-2 win over Region Nine champion Boone County High School. McGrath struck out 16 batters in seven innings and allowed just two unearned runs on three hits. Butler junior left fielder Dwight Bigbee was 3-4 with a run scored, and senior shortstop Zach Lucas was 2-2 with two RBI and one run scored. Boone County sophomore starting pitcher Doug Teegarden took the loss after surrendering four runs in four and two-third innings but did strike out six batters. Chicago White Sox draft pick Ronald Cotton was 0-3 with a strikeout for Boone County. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: SS Gavin Miller (Pikeville)

  • Stats: 2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R
  • Honorable Mention: Stephen Layne (Pikeville), Tyler Mullins (Perry Co.), Juan Staten (Greenup Co.), Gus Sherrow (West Jessamine), Tyler West (West Jessamine), John Hunter (Shelby Co.), Zach Lucas (Butler), Dwight Bigbee (Butler)

Pitcher of the day: Kyle McGrath (Butler)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 16 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Ethan Hardin (Greenup Co.), Dylan Shoffner (Central Hardin), Alex Lester (West Jessamine)

MLB Draft Day Three Breakdown

College Baseball, High School Baseball, Major League Baseball

Matt Rice bats for WKU: BluGrass Baseball photo

Kentucky selections from the third and final day of the MLB amateur player’s draft:

  • 31st Round (943) — RHP Matt Little — UK — Tigers
  • 32nd Round (959) — RHP Justin Hageman — Hopkinsville High School — Royals
  • 32nd Round (968) — LHP Jarrett Casey — NKU — White Sox
  • 35th Round (1046) — 1B Tyler Oliver — Wabash Valley JC (LCA, UK verbal) — Nationals
  • 35th Round (1068) — RHP Stephen Shackleford — Savannah College of Art & Design (Trinity HS) — Giants
  • 35th Round (1073) — SS J.T. Riddle — Western Hills High School (UK signee) — Red Sox
  • 36th Round (1080) — RHP Rye Davis — WKU — Indians
  • 36th Round (1099) — LHP Dean Kiekhefer — UofL — Cardinals
  • 37th Round (1116) — RHP Chad Green — Effingham, Ill. (UofL signee) — Blue Jays
  • 38th Round (1138) — CF Jeremy Shelby — Grambling St. (Lexington) — Orioles
  • 38th Round (1162) — OF Lucas Witt — Lexington Christian Academy (UK signee) — Dodgers
  • 39th Round (1180) — RHP Casey Lucchese — College of Charleston (Paul Laurence Dubar) — Cubs
  • 39th Round (1185) — LHP Bart Carter — WKU — Twins
  • 41st Round (1229) — RHP Matt Ridings — WKU — Royals
  • 42nd Round (1286) — LHP Corey Littrell — Trinity High School (UK signee) — Nationals
  • 44th Round (1345) — LHP David Middendorf — NKU — Yankees
  • 45th Round (1358) — OF Ronald Cotton — Boone County HS — White Sox
  • 47th Round (1418) — 2B Matt Reida — Indiana (UK signee) — White Sox
  • 48th Round (1452) — INF Patrick Brady — Bellarmine — Mariners
  • 49th Round (1489) — LHP Bob Revesz — UofL — Cardinals
  • 50th Round (1525) — C Matt Rice — WKU — Yankees