NCAA roundup: Murray St. an Morehead St. both lose

College Baseball

Recaps and highlights from Wednesday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • Murray State University could not get its offense going in a 9-0 shutout loss to Southern Illinois. Junior right-handed pitcher Curran McNeely took the loss after surrendering seven runs on five hits in three innings while striking out four batters and walking one. Just one Murray St. batter tallied multiple hits in the game: sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott, who was 2-4. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Will Handlin was the only Breds pitcher to last multiple innings without giving up a run, and he surrendered two hits in two scoreless innings. (Box Score)
  • Morehead State University rallied to score 10 runs but could not overcome an early deficit in a 14-10 loss to Cincinnati. Bearcats senior outfielder Justin Riddell, a Lexington Catholic alum, was 3-5 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored. Covington Catholic alum Zach Isler earned the win for Cincinnati after surrendering one run on one hit in two and one-third innings while striking out four batters and walking none. Morehead St. sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson took the loss after surrendering nine runs on nine hits in four innings while striking out six batters and walking one. Junior center fielder and third baseman Andrew Deeds was 4-5 with two RBI and two run scored, and junior catcher Taylor Davis was 1-3 with one home run, three RBI, two runs scored and two walks. (Box Score)

Hitter of the day: RF Justin Riddell (Cincinnati, Lexington Catholic)

  • Stats: 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.), Austin Haney (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the day: RHP Zach Isler (Cincinnati, Covington Catholic)

  • Stats: 1-0, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Will Handlin (Murray St.), Josh Schneider (Morehead St.)
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EKU, Murray St. struggle to score runs in Wednesday losses

College Baseball

Recaps and highlights from Wednesday Kentucky college baseball action:

  • Eastern Kentucky University junior right-handed pitcher Matt Fyffe surrendered two runs in four innings in his first start since 2009, but his effort wasn’t enough to prevent a 5-0 loss to Western Carolina. Fyffe surrendered six hits in four innings and struck out four while walking one. At the plate the Colonels tallied just two hits, a double by junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez and a triple by senior center fielder Ryan Faidley. Senior right-handed pitchers Macon Smith and Jim Clancy each pitched two scoreless innings out of the EKU bullpen. (Box Score)
  • In his first start for Murray State University junior left-handed pitcher Bryan Babin surrendered just one unearned run in seven innings, but Arkansas St. scored four runs in the ninth inning to send the Breds to a 5-1 loss. Babin surrendered four hits in seven innings and struck out five batters while walking three. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Will Handlin took the loss after surrendering two runs in one inning of work. Redshirt freshman right fielder Brandon Eggenschwiler and senior center fielder Elliot Frey both tallied two hits in the game. Senior first baseman Drew Pixley scored Murray St.’s only run. (Read more)

Pitcher of the day: LHP Bryan Babin (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 0-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jim Clancy (EKU), Matt Fyffe (EKU)

Hitter of the day: CF Elliot Frey (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 2-2, 1 2B
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Eggenschwiler (Murray St.)

Saturday roundup: UK blows out UIC; EKU, Murray State, Morehead State pick up first wins of 2011; UofL, WKU lose

College Baseball

BluGrass Baseball graphic

Highlights and recaps from Saturday baseball action:

  • Western Kentucky University dropped its first game of the season with a 6-1 loss to Coastal Carolina in the Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Coastal Carolina rallied with four runs in the fourth inning helped by a throwing error from WKU junior shortstop Logan Robbins. Freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman took the loss after surrendering four runs, one of which was earned, on three hits in four innings while striking out five batters and walking three. At the plate senior catcher Matt Rice was the only Hilltoppers’ batter with multiple hits and finished the game 2-4. (Box Score)
  • University of Louisville preseason All-American closer Tony Zych blew his first save of the season as Toledo scored three runs in the ninth inning to send the Cards to a 4-2 loss. The loss wasted a second consecutive strong outing from redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung, who surrendered one run on five hits in six innings while striking out five and walking one. Toledo’s ninth-inning rally began with a throwing error from freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden. Junior second baseman Ryan Wright was 3-3 with a triple, one RBI, one run scored and one walk in the game. Just two other Cards batters tallied hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • The University of Kentucky used a five-run fifth inning to blow open what had been a close game en route to a 13-3 win over Illinois-Chicago in game two of a three-game series. Every UK starter recorded at least one hit in the game, led by senior shortstop Taylor Black, who was 3-5 with a grand slam, four RBI, three runs scored and one walk. Sophomore center fielder Brian Adams and sophomore catcher Luke Maile each tallied three hits in five at-bats. Junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer earned his first win of the season after surrendering three runs on three hits in five innings while striking out seven and walking five. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header Eastern Kentucky University struggled to find any offense in a 7-1 loss to Penn State and fell to 0-4 on the season. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Anthony Bazzani took the loss after surrendering four runs on seven hits in five innings while striking out six and walking two. Freshman third baseman Bryan Soloman was 3-4 with a double and run scored in the game. (Box Score)
  • In game two of its double-header EKU earned its first win of the season with a 7-5 victory in a seven-inning game versus Penn State. Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McGrath earned his first collegiate win after surrendering four runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out five and walking one. Junior shortstop Richie Rodriguez was 3-4 with three RBI, and freshman second baseman Alex Arovits was 2-2 with two runs scored in the game. Senior designated hitter Jacob Daniel drove in three runs. Senior closer Ryne Purcell earned his first save of the season despite surrendering one run in the ninth inning. (Box Score)
  • A strong pitching performance from junior left-handed pitcher Luke Shuemaker led Murray State University to its first win of the season in a 6-3 victory over Bowling Green St. in game one of a double-header. Shuemaker surrendered two unearned runs on eight hits in six innings while striking out five batters and walking six. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Elliott was 2-3 with a double and two RBI in the game. Sophomore outfielder Paul Ritzheimer drove in two runs in the game. (Box Score)
  • Murray St. finished its double-header sweep of BGSU with a walk-off 4-3 win in game two. Elliott doubled with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, moved to third and eventually scored on a fielding error by the BGSU pitcher with two outs. The game was scheduled to last just seven innings but the two teams were tied at three after seven. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Will Handlin earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze surrendered three runs on six hits in seven innings while striking out five batters and walking five. Redshirt freshman outfielder Brandon Eggenschwiler finished the game 2-3 with two RBI and one run scored. (Box Score)
  • In game one of a double-header versus Purdue, Morehead State University turned an early blowout into a close game late but still fell to 0-5 on the season with a 11-8 loss. Junior third baseman Andrew Deeds slugged his first home run of the season for the Eagles, but the early Purdue lead proved to be too much to overcome. Senior right-handed pitcher Trey Smith took the loss after surrendering eight runs in three and two-third innings pitched. (Box Score)
  • In game two of the double-header a RBI-single from junior catcher Eric Bainer in the 11th inning plated redshirt freshman outfielder Ryan Conner to send Morehead St. to its first win of the season, a 10-9 victory. After Purdue scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 7-5 lead, Morehead St. junior catcher Taylor Davis slugged a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extra innings. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider surrendered five runs on eight hits in six innings while striking out seven batters and walking one. Deeds continued his strong play in the double-header with a 3-6, one RBI, one run scored performance in game two. Junior left-handed pitcher Tyler Hieneman earned the win after surrendering four runs in five innings of relief. (Box Score)

Hitter of the Day: SS Taylor Black (UK)

  • Stats: 3-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Wright (UofL), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Richie Rodriguez (EKU), Austin Grisham (EKU), Andrew Deeds (Morehead St.), Taylor Davis (Morehead St.)

Pitcher of the Day: RHP Justin Amlung (UofL)

  • Stats: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Alex Meyer (UK), Jake Donze (Murray St.), Luke Shuemaker (Murray St.), Kyle McGrath (EKU)

Offseason position battle: Murray St. starting pitchers

College Baseball

In the fifth Murray State University post of the “offseason position battle series we will look at the vacant weekend starting pitching slots.

The departed — Right-handed pitcher Chris Craycraft, a 2010 senior, served as the Murray State ace for each of the last two seasons, being named second-team all-Ohio Valley Conference following the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Craycraft was 6-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, for the Breds in 2010. The Lexington native struck out 72 batters and walked 35 in 92 and two-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitcher Alex Love, a 2010 senior, was 8-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 19 games, including eight starts, for the Breds last season. Love struck out 35 batters and walked 23 in 70 and one-third innings pitched…Right-handed pitchers Marc Harmon and Dan Huff, both 2010 seniors, combined to make 13 starts for Murray St. last season but neither finished the year with an ERA below 8.35.

Returning candidates — Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Donze made 16 starts for Murray St. in 2010 and finished the season at 6-6 with a 6.02 ERA. Donze struck out 71 batters and walked 56 in 83.2 innings pitched and enters 2011 as the Breds de facto ace…Sophomore right-handed pitchers Joe Major, Will Handlin, and Ben Lady each made one start for Murray St. in 2010. Major was the only returning Murray St. pitcher to finish 2010 with a sub-4.00 ERA, but he logged just 10 innings pitched on the season.

Newcomers to watch — Junior college transfer Bryan Babin pitched four shutout innings in the decisive game of the Murray St. Fall World Series. Babin, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched as a sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…Junior college transfer Luke Shuemaker, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 4-2 with a 5.15 ERA in 50 and two-third innings pitched for Rend Lake College in 2010…Junior college transfer Mark Roberts, a junior left-handed pitcher, was 5-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 55 innings pitched for Lincoln Trail College in 2010…Freshman left-handed pitchers Kyle Cornett and Brock Downey were both named first-team all-state as a seniors by the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association…Freshman right-handed pitcher Cameron Finch was named first-team all state as a senior in Collierville, Tenn., and pitched eight complete games and two no-hitters in 2010.

Wildcard — The Breds have no shortage of starting pitcher candidates as head coach Rob McDonald brought in nine new pitchers to the 2011 pitching staff. Junior Tyler Beers, a junior college transfer, may be needed to man the vacant first base position for the Breds, but he also logged experience as a right-handed pitcher at Mineral Area college. Beers was 2-7 with a 6.12 ERA as a sophomore, but proved to be an innings eater after striking out 55 in 64 and two-third innings pitched.

BluGrass Baseball Awards: Week 11

College Baseball

Kentucky teams were 9-6 in week 11 with UofL leading the way with a perfect 4-0 record. EKU didn’t play after its midweek game was canceled and weather took the weekend series. Check out these awards from the weather-shortened week 11:

Player of the week: 1B Andrew Clark (UofL)

  • Stats: 9-15 (.600), 3 HR, 12 RBI, 8 R
  • Honorable Mention: Phil Wunderlich (UofL), Stewart Ijames (UofL), Ryan Wright (UofL), Chris Bisson (UK), Gunner Glad (UK), Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)

Pitcher of the week: RHP Thomas Royse (UofL)

  • Stats: 1-0, 8 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Shane Cameron (WKU), Matt Ridings (WKU), Matt Koch (UofL), Gabriel Shaw (UofL), Cody Gibson (Morehead St.)

Freshman of the week: RHP Cody Gibson (Morehead St.)

  • Stats: 1-0, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jordan Cooper (UK), Matt Koch (UofL), Zak Wasserman (UofL), Blake Crabtree (WKU), Will Handlin (Murray St.)

BluGrass Baseball Sunday Review: Week 11

College Baseball

Wes Cunningham: BluGrass Baseball photo

Baseball took a back seat Sunday as serious storms wreaked havoc across the Bluegrass and surrounding states. EKU and Morehead both lost their weekend series to weather, but after reading some headlines from across Kentucky and Tennessee a few rainouts don’t seem like that big of a deal. Check out these recaps and awards from the weather-shortened schedule:

  • Western Kentucky University never overcame a four-run Troy first inning in a 6-3 loss in the rubber match of the series. Sophomore right-handed relief pitcher Phil Wetherell kept the Hilltoppers in the game with three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, but Troy scored twice in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach. Sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins scored twice in the game, and each of the first three hitters in the WKU lineup drove in one run. (Box Score)
  • Freshman right-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper turned in his best start to date, but the University of Kentucky offense could break through against Tennessee in a 3-1 loss in the rubber match of the series. The loss dropped UK to tenth place in the Southeastern Conference standings. Cooper allowed two runs on four hits in five plus innings. Senior first baseman Gunner Glad and junior second baseman Chris Bisson each tallied two hits in the game. (Box Score)
  • Senior first baseman Wes Cunningham tied the Murray State University single-season home run record in game one the Breds’ doubleheader sweep of Southeast Missouri and set the new mark in game two. Murray St. took game one 5-3 and game two 13-9. Cunningham launched two home runs on the day, giving him 17 for the season. The previous single-season record was 16, held by four other players. Senior left-handed reliever Matt McGaha earned the game one victory with four hitless innings out of the Breds’ bullpen. (Box Score GM 1) (Box Score GM 2)

Hitter of the Day: 1B Wes Cunningham (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 4-7, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
  • Honorable Mention: Elliot Frey (Murray St.), Brandon Elliott (Murray St.), Gunner Glad (UK), Blake Crabtree (WKU)

Pitcher of the Day: LHP Matt McGaha (Murray St.)

  • Stats: 1-0, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO
  • Honorable Mention: Jordan Cooper (UK), Will Handlin (Murray St.), Phil Wetherell (WKU)