NCAA roundup: EKU earns walk-off win vs. WKU; UofL loses

College Baseball

Recaps and highlights from Wednesday Kentucky MiLB action:

  • Eastern Kentucky University scored a run in the bottom of the 11th inning on a wild pitch to earn a 5-4 win over Western Kentucky University. EKU freshman infielder Alex Arovits, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, scored the tying and winning runs. EKU sophomore right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani earned his first win of the season after posting a scoreless inning of relief. WKU junior right-handed pitcher Phil Wetherell took the loss after surrendering one run on one hit in two and one-third innings. EKU freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 2-5 with one double, one RBI and one run scored. WKU junior center fielder Kes Carter was 3-4 with one walk, one RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville surrendered six runs in the third inning in a 6-2 loss to Eastern Michigan. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold took the loss after surrendering six unearned runs on eight hits in three innings. Junior shortstop Ryan Wright was 3-4 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored. Senior right-handed pitcher Gabriel Shaw surrendered two hits in four scoreless innings of  relief. (Box Score)
Hitter of the day: OF Kes Carter (WKU)
  • Stats: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 R
  • Honorable Mention: Scott Wilcox (WKU), Matt Rice (WKU), Ryan Wright (UofL), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Alex Arovits (EKU)
Pitcher of the day: RHP Gabriel Shaw (UofL)
  • Stats: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Rye Davis (WKU), Greg Terry (EKU)
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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.)

NCAA roundup: WKU win; Morehead State rained out

College Baseball

Recaps and highlights from Tuesday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • You can read the BluGrass Baseball recap of the University of Kentucky‘s 3-2 win over the University of Louisville here.
  • Western Kentucky University scored eight runs in the fifth inning en route to a 17-6 win over Austin Peay. Junior center fielder Kes Carter was 4-5 with one home run, five RBI and three runs scored, and senior catcher Matt Rice was 4-5 with three RBI and four runs scored. Junior second baseman Ivan Hartle, junior right fielder Ryan Hutchinson and freshman designated hitter Scott Wilcox each had two hits in the game. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel earned the win after surrendering six runs, two of which were earned, on 11 hits in five innings while striking out six batters and walking one. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University‘s game versus Marshall was rained out.

Hitter of the day: CF Kes Carter (WKU)

  • Stats: 4-5, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R
  • Honorable Mention: Stewart Ijames (UofL), Matt Rice (WKU), Scott Wilcox (WKU), Chad Wright (UK), Taylor Black (UK)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Jordan Cooper (UK)

  • Stats: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Travis Tingle (UofL), Ross Hammonds (WKU)

Davis, Amlung, Hageman win midseason NCAA awards

College Baseball

Yesterday we looked at the BluGrass Baseball midseason all-state team. Today it is time to examine the best individual hitting, pitching and freshmen performances through half of the NCAA season. When possible at least one honorable mention nominee is included from each team.

Taylor Davis; Morehead St. photo

Best hitter: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: .381/.487/.732, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 24 R, 2 SBs
  • Morehead State University junior catcher Taylor Davis was behind WKU senior Matt Rice on the Kentucky catching depth chart entering the season, but he has been the state’s best college hitter through 28 games for Morehead St. Through seven weeks of the season, Davis leads Kentucky collegians in home runs and slugging percentage and ranks second in on-base percentage, fourth in batting average and fifth in RBI. Davis was named to the preseason all-Ohio Valley Conference team and will spend the summer of 2011 in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (UofL), Matt Rice (WKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Braden Kapteyn (UK), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.)

Best pitcher: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 6-0, 0.92 ERA, 33 SO/10 BB, 48.2 IP
  • The midseason best pitcher race is a highly contested battle between University of Louisville redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung and WKU sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins. Amlung wins the honor for his undefeated record and lower ERA. The St. X alum has won all but one of his starts and ranks No. 3  in the country in wins and No. 10 in ERA. Amlung leads Kentucky collegians in ERA, wins, winning percentage and batting average against and ranks second in innings pitched.
  • Honorable Mention: Mike Nastold (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL), Tanner Perkins (WKU), Justin Hageman (WKU), Alex Meyer (UK), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

Best freshman: RHP/DH Justin Hageman (WKU)

  • Stats: 4-3, 3.00 ERA, 40 SO/17 BB, 42 IP
  • Each of the state’s top three college teams counted on freshmen in key roles during the first half of the season, but Western Kentucky University freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman stood out above the pack. Hageman, who has pitched in the Hilltoppers’ weekend rotations since the opening series of 2011, has looked like anything but a freshman. Hageman ranks fourth among Kentucky collegians in wins and strikeouts. During a brief run as the WKU designated hitter, Hageman was 6-15 (.400) with four RBI and two runs scored in five games.
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Seiz (UofL), Chad Green (UofL), Jeff Thompson (UofL), Scott Wilcox (WKU), J. T. Riddle (UK), Corey Littrell (UK), Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.), Bryan Soloman (EKU)

NCAA roundup: UofL wins rubber match; EKU avoids sweep; WKU, UK, Murray St., Morehead St. lose finales

College Baseball

Jacob Daniel; BluGrass Baseball photo

Recaps and highlights from Sunday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University suffered its first Sun Belt Conference series loss after dropping its finale 11-6 to UALR Sunday. Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Brian Edelen took the loss after surrendering six runs on six hits in three innings while striking out four batters and walking two. Senior catcher Matt Rice slugged two home runs, drove in four runs and scored twice in the game. Freshman shortstop Scott Wilcox was the only other Hilltopper with multiple hits after finishing the game 2-3 with one walk. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville secured a series victory versus West Virginia with a 6-3 win. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold earned the win after surrendering two unearned runs on three hits in five and one-third innings while striking out five batters and walking two. Freshman designated hitter Jeff Gardner was 3-4 with one double, two RBI and one run scored, and freshman first baseman Ryan Seiz was 2-3 with one double, one triple and two runs scored. Junior right-handed reliever Derek Self struck out five batters in two and two-third scoreless innings. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky dropped its sixth consecutive Southeastern Conference game with a 4-1 loss to No. 3 South Carolina. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers took the loss after surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits in six and one-third innings while striking out five batters and walking three. Junior Michael Williams, making his first career start at third base, was 2-3 with one walk. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University tallied 17 hits and scored 13 runs but could not finish the series sweep of UT Martin after a 14-13 loss. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Ben Lady took the loss after surrendering one unearned run in two-third of an inning, but UT Martin did most of its damage against freshman closer Cameron Finch, who surrendered six runs while recording just two outs. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 4-5 with one RBI and three runs scored. Junior second baseman Travis Isaak and redshirt freshman left fielder Ty Stetson were both 3-6. Junior catcher Jacob Rhodes and junior first baseman Cody Larson both homered in the game. (Box Score)
  • Eastern Kentucky University avoided a series sweep at the hands of Southeast Missouri with an 11-5 win. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler earned the win after surrendering three runs on nine hits in six innings while striking out five batters and walking two. Junior left fielder Jacob Daniel was 3-4 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored, and junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 2-3 with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 3-4 with two runs scored. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University could not avoid a series sweep by SIU Edwardsville with a 15-9 loss. Freshman left-handed pitcher Noah Smallwood took the loss after surrendering seven runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits in four and two-third innings. Junior right fielder Luke Bainer was 3-4 with one home run, one RBI and two runs scored. Junior catcher Taylor Davis and junior catcher Eric Bainer also homered in the game. Eric Bainer added a double, two RBI and two runs. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: LF Jacob Daniel (EKU)

  • Stats: 3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Matt Rice (WKU), Jeff Gardner (UofL), Ryan Seiz (UofL), Michael Williams (UK), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Ty Stetson (Murray St.), Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Luke Bainer (Morehead St.), Eric Bainer (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Mike Nastold (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Derek Self (UofL), Taylor Rogers (UK), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

Zach Noonan, Jordan Cooper and Dace Kime named BluGrass Baseball week three award winners

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Jordan Cooper; UK Athletics photo

It’s time for the BluGrass Baseball Week Three awards. Check out the best hitting, pitching and freshmen performances of the week:

Hitter of the week: OF Zach Noonan (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 9-16 (.563), 1 HR, 5 R, 9 RBI, 3 2Bs, 1 3B
  • Honorable Mention: Braden Kapteyn (UK), Kes Carter (WKU), Jared Andreoli (WKU), Jacob Rhodes (Murray St.), Elliot Frey (Murray St.), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.), Stewart Ijames (UofL)

Pitcher of the week: RHP Jordan Cooper (UK)

  • Stats: 1-0, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Justin Amlung (UofL), Matt Koch (UofL), Mike Nastold (UofL), Dace Kime (UofL), Alex Meyer (UK), Justin Hageman (WKU), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Bryan Babin (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU), Josh Schneider (Morehead St.)

Freshman of the week: RHP Dace Kime (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Ty Young (UofL), Justin Hageman (WKU), Scott Wilcox (WKU), Trevor Gott (UK), Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.), Bud Morton (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.)

Sunday roundup: UofL, UK, EKU pick up wins in finales

College Baseball

Highlights and recaps from Sunday Kentucky collegiate baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University closed out the Baseball at the Beach Tournament with a disappointing 4-1 loss to previously winless Pacific. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel took the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in five and two-third innings while striking out six and walking none. At the plate junior second baseman Ivan Hartle and freshman third baseman Scott Wilcox were the only Hilltoppers with multiple hits, and both finished the game 2-4. Sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins scored the only run of the game for WKU. (Box Score)
  • The University of Louisville salvaged one win in its three-game series versus Toledo with a 4-2 victory following a late rally on Sunday. The Cards scored three runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a home run from junior second baseman Ryan Wright and a RBI double from sophomore first baseman Cade Stallings. Freshman left-handed pitcher Cody Edge earned his first collegiate victory after surrendering one run on one hit in two innings of relief. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold surrendered one run on three hits in four innings while striking out four and walking two. The Cards took the lead in the sixth inning on a RBI-groundout from senior catcher J. J. Ethel. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning and scored two runs without recording a hit to earn a 3-1 win in the rubber match of its three-game series vs. Illinois-Chicago. Freshman right-handed pitcher Trevor Gott earned his first collegiate victory after inducing a double play when he entered the game in the sixth inning with two men on base and one out. Senior left-handed pitcher Mike Kaczmarek recorded the final four outs to earn his first career save. No UK batter recorded multiple hits in the game, but sophomore center fielder Brian Adams was 1-2 with a run scored and a hit-by-pitch. (Box Score)
  • Murray State University couldn’t finish of its series sweep of Bowling Green St. as it dropped a 4-2 decision in a rain-shortened Sunday game. Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Beers took the loss after surrendering four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits in six innings while striking out three and walking none. Redshirt freshman outfielder Ty Stetson and junior second baseman Travis Isaak were each 2-3 in the game. Junior first baseman Jacob Rhodes was the only other Murray St. batter to record a hit, and he drove in two runs. (Box Score)
  • Eastern Kentucky University earned its first series win of the season after holding off a late Purdue rally to preserve a 7-6 win in the rubber match of the series Sunday. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel finished the game 3-5 with one RBI. Freshman catcher Sean Hagen and senior center fielder Ryan Faidley each tallied two hits and scored two runs in the game. Senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Hefler earned the win after surrendering two runs on six hits in five and one-third innings while striking out one batter and walking four. Purdue rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off junior right-handed pitcher Lincoln Wagner, but EKU senior closer Ryne Purcell got the final out for his second save of the season. (Box Score)
  • In its Sunday double-header Morehead State University surrendered 35  runs in two games, dropping game one 18-1 and game two 17-9 to Purdue. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson took the loss in game one after surrendering seven runs, five of which were earned on nine hits in two and two-third innings. In game two junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Robertson took the loss after surrendering 11 runs, seven of which were earned in three and one-third innings. Junior catcher Taylor Davis was 5-8 with three RBI and two runs scored in the two games, and redshirt sophomore designated hitter Kellen Begeman was 3-5 with two RBI and one run scored in game two. (Box Score, GM 1) (Box Score, GM 2)

Hitter of the day: C Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 4-8, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Travis Isaak (Murray St.), Kellen Begeman (Morhead St.), Jacob Daniel (EKU), Ryan Faidley (EKU), Ryan Wright (UofL)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Mike Nastold (UofL)

  • Stats: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Trevor Gott (UK), Jordan Cooper (UK), Tyler Beers (Murray St.), Stephen Hefler (EKU)

Opening Weekend Review: Western Kentucky University

College Baseball

Western Kentucky University was one of two Kentucky schools to earn a series sweep in its opening series of the season. In our second opening weekend review post we’ll look at the Hilltoppers.

  • BGSU no match for Hilltoppers’ offense: Seven different WKU batters hit at least .300 in the opening series of the season, highlighted by senior Matt Rice‘s .538 performance with seven RBI and three runs scored. Outfielders Matt Borgschulte, Jared Andreoli and Ryan Hutchinson each hit over .400 in the series as well. Perhaps influenced by the new NCAA mandated bats, no Hilltopper homered in the series, but the team did tally eight doubles and three triples. Even without the power surge WKU scored 32 runs in the series.
  • Perkins anchors new weekend rotation: WKU had to replace two weekend starting pitchers this season, but sophomore left-handed pitcher Tanner Perkins, who spent parts of 2010 in the weekend rotation, made his case to be the new WKU ace with six shutout innings Friday. Perkins struck out five batters, walked two and surrendered just two hits in the game. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Haydel struggled in his Saturday start, but senior Brian Edelen, the team’s fourth starting pitcher, recorded three scoreless innings of relief Sunday.
  • Freshmen excel in limited action: Sunday starting pitcher Justin Hageman was the only freshman to see extended playing time on the weekend, but WKU head coach Chris Finwood did let six freshmen make their collegiate debuts. Hageman earned a win in his first collegiate start on Sunday after surrendering three runs in five innings. Freshmen relievers G. J. Strauss and Austin Clay recorded three outs without surrendering a run. At the plate freshman infielder Scott Wilcox was 1-1 in two games, and freshman outfielder David Simmons was 0-1 in one game. Freshman outfielder Jordan Cessna also made his debut as a defensive replacement.

Offseason position battle: WKU first baseman

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In the third Western Kentucky University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the Hilltoppers’ vacant first-base position:

The departed — Infielder Jake Wells, a 2010 senior, started all but the first six WKU games of 2010 at first base. Wells was one of just four Hilltoppers to start all 58 games in 2010. He batted .312 with two home runs and 41 RBI on the season. Wells scored 42 runs and boasted an .802 OPS. The first baseman committed six errors on the season and finished 2010 with a .988 fielding percentage.

The returning candidates — Junior infielder Casey Dykes was the only other Hilltopper to record a start at first base in 2010, earning the nod in the first six games of the season. Dykes is listed as a “C/UTL” on the WKU roster and made 45 starts at third base in 2010, so head coach Chris Finwood may look elsewhere for his infield cornerstone. Sophomore Blake Crabtree made the final seven games of the 2010 season at third so Dykes could make a position change…Sophomore catcher/infielder Ryan Huck didn’t appear at first base in 2010, but Finwood suggested during the fall world series most of his playing time would come there this season. Huck batted .287 with seven home runs, 30 RBI and 24 runs scored in 2010 as a freshman, so WKU needs to get his bat in the lineup if at all possible. He is blocked behind the plate by All-Sun Belt Conference catcher Matt Rice.

Newcomers to watch — Incoming freshman infielder Jordan Cessna excelled during WKU’s fall practice according to the school’s media relations department. At 6-1 he could conceivably fill in when Huck catches or serves as the designate hitter…In a news release recapping the fall World Series WKU also highlighted Canadian freshman infielder Scott Wilcox as a standout in fall practice. At 6-0 Wilcox could also fill in at first base…Freshman right-handed pitcher and infielder Brian Doering was listed as a corner infielder when he signed with WKU in 2009. Doering was named first-team all-state by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association after his senior season at Dupont Manual High School.

Wildcard — WKU boasts a plethora of outfielders with 11 players listed on the roster who can play the position. If Huck gets most of the playing time at first base, head coach Chris Finwood could try one of his surplus outfielders at first base when Huck catches. Junior college transfer Ryan Hutchison is 6-4 and could fit at first base. Sophomore outfielders Matt Borgschulte and Monte Ketchum each appeared in at least 41 games for WKU in 2010, so Finwood could be looking for a way to get them into the Hilltoppers’ lineup. If Finwood wanted to give Rice some time off from catching at 6-3 he might profile well as a first baseman as well.