Kansas dominates Croatia

The Kansas baseball squad opened fall practice with an exhibition victory over Croatia by an 8-0 scoreline. The Jayhawks used nine pitchers who each pitched one inning while allowing only two hits. KU got five runs over the first three innings to take control of the game. The Croatian team was playing their last game before heading to the European championships in the coming weeks. The full recap from KU Athletics is available by clicking here. The Daily Kansan also wrote an article on the game which is available here.

Brown’s Dietz signs with D-Backs

Brown University pitcher Jeff Dietz has signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2008 season. He won the Ivy League pitcher of the year award in 2007 while leading the Bears to the Ivy League title and their first ever NCAA tournament berth. Dietz went 9-3 including a complete game victory over Penn in the Ivy League championship series in which The College Baseball Blog was in attendance for. The CBB recap of the Ivy Championship is available by clicking here.

Perfect Game names Top 20 Prospects in VL

FROM VALLEY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Baseball website PGcrosschecker.com recently compiled its list of the top 20 players in the Valley Baseball League. The list was compiled by Allan Simpson with input from the league’s managers and scouts.

Similar to the recently released Baseball America list, PG Crosschecker identified Winchester’s Luke Greinke as the league’s top prospect. He was also the league MVP. He was followed by Covington outfielder Jason Kipnis, but then six of the next seven players listed were pitchers.

Simpson noted that league officials felt that the 2007 season saw a jump in overall talent around the league, in particular in the pitching department. The numbers appear to support that assertion. In 2007, league pitchers as a whole had a 3.70 earned run average while hitters had a .247 batting average as a league. In 2006, hitters posted a .258 average while pitchers compiled a 3.88 ERA, and the year before saw a .257 batting average and 3.97 ERA as a league.

While Waynesboro finished first in the regular season and won the Jim Lineweaver Cup as league champions, the Generals placed just three players in the top 20 and none higher than #11. In fact, many of the top prospects come from the lower half of the standings. Simpson noted that was a sign of the league’s improved depth.

PGCrosschecker.com Valley League Top 20 Prospects

1. Luke Greinke, UT, Winchester (Auburn)

2. Jason Kipnis, OF, Covington (Arizona State)

3. Zac Blakney, RHP, Fauquier (Montevallo)

4. Shayne Moody, SS, Woodstock (Charlotte)

5. Ashur Tolliver, LHP, Harrisonburg (Arkansas-Little Rock)

6. Donald Jordat, RHP, Luray (Miami-Dade C.C.)

7. Rob Gilliam, RHP, Luray (UNC Greensboro)

8. Tim Sexton, RHP, Staunton (Miami-Dade C.C.)

9. Josh Judy, RHP, Haymarket (Indiana Tech)

10. Tyler Kuhn, SS/2B, Luray (West Virginia)

11. Pat Irvine, C/OF, Waynesboro (Elon)

12. Garrett Parker, RHP, Harrisonburg (Oklahoma City)

13. Bobby Hernandez, RHP, Staunton (Barry)

14. Josh Eidell, RHP, Woodstock (Villanova)

15. Elih Villanueva, RHP, Luray (Florida State)

16. Jeremy Cruz, 1B, Luray (Stetson)

17. Chris Masters, LHP, New Market (Western Carolina)

18. Brandon Sizemore, 2B, Waynesboro (Charleston)

19. Kurt Davidson, C/1B, Waynesboro (Akron)

20. Dustin Umberger, RHP, Luray (Liberty)

Full scouting reports from the summer on each player are available here. A subscription is required to view the insider-level reports.

U of British Columbia visits France

From Guest Bob Broughton of Tbirdbaseball.net

The U. of British Columbia Thunderbirds, wearing jerseys that say “Team Canada” on them, won four of six games against the French Senior National Team in the last week of August in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

This was a good result against a French team that has some hope of qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in a tournament in Barcelona next month. However, the most pleasant surprise for the Thunderbirds was the performance of RHP Taylor King, a transfer from Pierce College in the Los Angeles area. In his very first start for the Thunderbirds against the French, he pitched six shutout innings. (His second start, in the final game of the series, was less successful; he was chased after giving up four runs in three innings.)

King potentially fills a major hole in the UBC pitching staff, and there’s a history behind it. The Thunderbirds made their first and only appearance in the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Lewiston, ID in 2006, and finished fourth with a 2-2 record. Although most of that team graduated, UBC had plenty of reasons to expect continued future success. Their two best starters were returning, and they had a very good recruiting year.

Problem was, one of those starters, Shawn Schaefer, became an unexpected academic casualty at the end of the fall semester. Brendan Rolfe, a senior who had been used mostly as a reliever, did an admirable job of taking Schaefer’s place. The Thunderbirds won two of four against Lewis-Clark State, who eventually won the NAIA championship and had eight players drafted, and one more signed as a free agent. However, an embarassing late-season fade and an two-and-barbecue result in the Region I tournament left the Birds with a record of 21-20 for 2007, and they didn’t have a player drafted for the first time since 2000.

UBC had what appeared to be an excellent recruiting year, but it turned out to be too good. One of the signees, RHP Mitch Hodge, was drafted in the fourth round. He had been projected to go in the twelth round, and he wasted no time in signing with the Royals. Another signee, outfielder Cody Phipps, was drafted by the Astros, and he turned pro, too.

So, UBC Head Coach Terry McKaig got on the phone, and landed Taylor King, who was playing for the BC Ballers of the Pacific International League. (One of his teammates with the Ballers was the aforementioned Shawn Schaefer.) King had already been approached by Lewis-Clark State and Cumberland, another NAIA power, but he had been hoping to hear from McKaig.

King’s collegiate career started at Cal State-Northridge, but arm trouble and surgery landed him at Pierce College, where he did well. During the summer, he also pitched for the Nanaimo Coal Miners. They won the Western Canada championship, and one of his teammates was UBC sophomore Mark Hardy, who was the starter for both of those wins against Lewis-Clark State, and also did very well in France. Hardy allowed only one run in 10 1/3 innings of work.

The Thunderbirds will start the 2008 season on February 14, at NAIA Fresno Pacific. They have been doing a February California tour for several years. In the past, they have been able to schedule several Division I teams. They couldn’t do this in 2008 because of the new rule that prohibits D-I teams from playing prior to February 22. Instead, the Thunderbirds will play a mixture of NAIA and Division III teams.

A complete video of the fifth game, in Windows Media Player format, is available here.

Steve Bray named head coach of Concordia-Irvine

Steve Bray has been named the new head coach of the Concordia-Irvine baseball program for the 2007-2008 season. Bray has spent the last three seasons as the pitching coach for the Eagles. He brings a strong background including pitching with San Mateo for two seasons before transferring to South Carolina for his junior season. His appointment should give the Eagles a presence in California since he is from the area originally. Thanks to the members of The UBC Thunderbird Baseball Fan Page for the information.

2008 Indiana Baseball Schedule Released

The Indiana Hoosiers have released their 2008 schedule which is highlighted with the opening series at LSU, taking part in the Austin Peay tournament, and heading to Fresno State over spring break to play six games. They will play a full Big Ten schedule this year missing out on a series with Ohio State which should bode well since Ohio State made the NCAA tournament in 2007. The full schedule is available here.

Oregon strikes gold

Ducks George HortonThe University of Oregon introduced George Horton as its new baseball coach on Saturday, having reached agreement with the two-time national coach of the year who led Cal State-Fullerton to six trips to the College World Series in 11 seasons, including the national championship in 2004.

“The gold standard,” director of athletics Pat Kilkenny said of Horton, who has a career record of 490-212-1.

“The bottom line is that the University of Oregon has immediate credibility as a baseball program. President (Dave) Frohnmayer said if you do it, be the best you can be and get the best you can get, and there’s no doubt we did get the No. 1 coach in America.”

The details of the agreement: A five-year contract that runs through June 30, 2012, subject to state approval, at $400,000 per year – a base salary of $150,000 per year and an additional $250,000 per year in guaranteed income derived in part from Oregon’s contracts with the Oregon Sports Network and Nike.

RegisterGuard.com

Oregon.Scout.com

Update on the Coaching changes

UC Irvine head baseball coach Dave Serrano has been quick to dispel any speculation that he would be interested in the Cal State Fullerton head position with the Titans’ George Horton accepting the Oregon job. Serrano was Fullerton’s pitching coach for eight years prior to accepting the UCI head-coaching position in 2004.

“I have no interest in leaving UC Irvine for Cal State Fullerton,” Serrano said. “I feel that we have something special building at UCI with the program moving in the right direction. Fullerton is a great program and I have many enjoyable memories from there but my family and I are very happy in Irvine.”

Watch for Ted Silva pitching coach for Fresno State and Bryant Ward hitting coach from South Florida. This two guys could very well end up on a new staff here in the next week or so.

Ted Silva Played for CSF in the early 90’s and the was drafted by the Rangers and was in their organization for 5 years. Prior to being the pitching coach at Fresno State Ted over saw the pitching staff at CSF ’04-’05 as a volunteer assistant. Bryant Ward played and graduated from East Carolina before going to CSF to be an volunteer assistant.

CSTV Story

UC-IRVINE Release

Texas adds two more Transfers

The University of Texas Baseball squad had two transfers from the West Coast enroll in classes for the fall semester. The pair, both infielders, includes David Hernandez from Fresno State University and Michael Torres from the University of Southern California.

Hernandez will be a sophomore in 2008. He played in 35 games for Fresno State as a freshman, including 21 starts. Hernandez hit .251 (18-of-72) with two doubles and six RBI. The smooth fielder committed just two errors in a 107 chances at shortstop for a .981 fielding percentage.

Torres will be a junior in 2008. He played in 46 games over two seasons at USC, including 27 starts. In 2007, Torres, a left-handed batter, hit .253 (20-of-79) with four doubles, one triple, one home run and 10 RBI as a second baseman and third baseman. He batted .231 (6-of-26) with three runs scored and four RBI in 15 games in 2005.

Both players are California natives. Hailing from Danville, Calif., Hernandez was a three-year letterwinner at Monte Vista HS, playing shortstop and third base. A product of Santa Ana, Calif., Torres was named the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register Player of the Year as a senior at Mater Dei High School, batting .459 with 23 RBI and 19 stolen bases.

TexasSports.com

These two kids are a great addition to the roster for the ’08 season. They will come in and immediately compete for starting time. Look for Hernandez to be the Starting short Stop and Torres the 2nd baseman on opening day. This will allow Travis Tucker to slide over to 3rd base. This will shore up the infield. This will also allow Texas to really put the pressure on opposing team defense as these two guys will put the ball down and Run.