The Auburn Tigers have released their 2008 schedule which opens on Febraury 22nd when East Tennennsee State visits Auburn for a four game set. The Tigers will then face Florida State in a four game series starting on Feb. 28th and 29th before heading to Tallhassee to play two more games against the Seminoles. They will play a full SEC schedule which is highlighted by visits from South Carolina and Mississippi State. They will also have a two tough three game series at Vanderbilt on April 18th-20th and Alabama on April 25th-27th. The full schedule is available here.
1. Texas OF Kyle Russell
2. Texas A&M Utility Guy Blake Stouffer
3. Vanderbilt OF Dominic De la Osa
4. Rice Closer Cole St. Clair
5. Creighton switch-pitcher Pat Venditte
6. UGA Closer Josh Fields
7. ASU Starter Josh Satow
8. USC Catcher Phil Disher
9. OKState 3B Matt Hague
10. Auburn OF Mike Bianucci
This writer would probably have flipped a couple of these guys around. It’s hard to argue with Russell Stouffer and De la Osa; however, a healthy Cole St. Clair could be the difference between Rice swapping a C-USA ring for a College World Series ring.
And I’m happy to see Venditte return. I’ve not seen him pitch yet, but he’s the guy who will throw lefty to one batter and righty to the next.
Read Kendall’s breakdown here.
Thursday was a banner day for the Auburn baseball team as the Tigers welcomed 13 freshmen and a transfer to the squad for the 2008 season. The freshman class includes three players that were drafted in this past summer’s Major League Baseball Draft while 23rd-round pick junior Mike Bianucci also chose to return to The Plains for the upcoming season.
PGcrosschecker.com had this to say about Auburn’s recruiting class. “Big, Deep and Talented (Brian Fletcher, Wes Gilmer, Hunter Morris, Kevin Patterson). If these hitters show up for class at Auburn, the Tigers might have the best offensive team in college baseball in a couple of years. They all hit and can hit right now without needing much projection. Morris and Patterson are left-handed hitters with middle-of-the-order potential; it’s a scary thought where they might be in three years with metal bats.”
Courtesy of Valley League
Winchester utility player Luke Greinke (Orlando, Fla./Auburn) was named Most Valuable Player and Waynesboro skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt was selected as Coach of the Year as the Valley Baseball League announced its 2007 All-League awards on Wednesday, August 8.
Greinke, a rising senior at Auburn, filled several roles for the Winchester Royals and was a true utility player with solid play in the field, at the plate, and on the mound. Offensively, he battered the baseball while playing first base, outfield, and designated hitter. He led the league with a .417 batting average to claim the league’s batting title. He also led the VBL with a .642 slugging percentage and .517 on-base percentage while collecting 12 doubles, five homers, and 32 RBIs for a potent Winchester offense that led the league hitting .275 as a team. Greinke was equally as impressive on the mound, going 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA in eight appearances covering 50 2/3 innings.
Nesselrodt was named the league’s top coach for the second consecutive season. The Generals finished with the league’s top record in the regular season at 30-13-1 and also have the league’s best mark over the last two years combined at 57-28-1. Waynesboro has held true to its top seed by advancing to the VBL championship series.
Greinke was one of 16 players selected to the 2007 Valley League All-League squad. Waynesboro and its championship opponent Luray, the defending league champion, each placed three players on the All-League squad to lead the way. Front Royal, Harrisonburg, New Market, and Winchester each placed two players on the team with Covington and Staunton adding the last two picks.
Three players were repeat selections to the squad, led by Luray short stop Tyler Kuhn (Louisville, Ky./West Virginia), who was the 2006 VBL MVP. Entering the championship series, Kuhn was hitting .314 with seven doubles, two triples, three homers, 21 RBIs, 20 walks, and seven steals.
The other repeat picks both came from Waynesboro. Kurt Davidson (North Canton, Ohio/Akron) was the selection at first base after being honored at third base in 2006. He leads the league by a wide margin with 51 RBIs and 61 hits. Davidson is also second with 90 total bases while hitting .305 with 12 doubles and five homers. A clutch hitter all season, Davidson had the game-winning RBI in the Generals’ semifinal game three win over Covington and in the championship series opener in the 14th inning against Luray.
The other repeat honoree was Generals ace Jon Dages (Indianapolis, Ind./Butler), who went 7-2 with a 2.62 ERA. Entering the championship, he ranks second in the league with 68 2/3 innings pitched and seven wins.
Waynesboro’s other all-league winner was second baseman Brandon Sizemore (Bryceville, Fla./Tallahassee C.C.). He sits third in the league with 53 hits and leads the Generals with 13 doubles. Sizemore is hitting .277 with a triple, three homers, 27 RBIs, and 13 steals.
Luray’s other selections came from their dynamic duo of starting pitchers, Robert Gilliam (Chapel Hill, N.C./UNC-Greensboro) and Dustin Umberger (Hummelstown, Pa./Liberty). Gilliam won the honor of the league’s ERA leader for the regular season and carries a 1.26 mark and a 7-1 record into the final series. He also has a save and has struck out 81 batters in 57 innings. Umberger ranks second in the league with a 1.45 ERA and led the league with eight wins on a perfect 8-0 record. He ranks third with 76 strikeouts in 56 innings.
Greinke, the all-league pick at the utility spot, was joined by teammate Jose Cueto (Miami, Fla./Virginia Tech). The outfielder ranks fourth in the league with a .328 batting average and fifth with a .537 on-base percentage. He led the Royals with six home runs while adding eight doubles, 24 RBIs, 20 walks, and 11 steals.
Front Royal’s two picks include third baseman Bennett Davis (Katy, Texas/Manatee C.C.) and closer Joel Brookens (Fayetteville, Pa./North Carolina St.). Davis sits second in the league with 14 doubles. He hit .280 with three home runs, 36 runs scored, 30 RBIs, and 14 steals. Brookens leads the league with 13 saves and ranks second with 19 games finished. He had a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings and held opponents to a .129 batting average.
Harrisonburg placed two players on the all-league squad after finishing second in the regular season. Outfielder Robert Taylor (Ingram, Texas/Arkansas-Little Rock) and relief pitcher Garrett Parker (Duncanville, Texas/Howard-Payne) represented the Turks. Taylor ranks third in the league with a .352 batting average. He scored 22 runs, had six doubles, four homers, 14 walks, and a .420 on-base percentage. Parker finished 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA and eight saves in 21 1/3 innings. He did not allow a run until the postseason and ranks fifth in the league in saves.
New Market had two all-league selections with catcher Nick Stanley (Largo, Fla./South Florida C.C.) and designated hitter Nolan Brannon (St. Petersburg, Fla./Tampa). Stanley ranks fifth in the VBL with a .325 batting average and leads the league with 15 doubles. He had 50 hits, 23 runs, two homers, 20 RBIs, and 16 walks. Brannon hit .323 with 41 hits, six doubles, 17 RBIs, and 15 walks.
The final two selections were Covington outfielder Jason Kipnis (Northbrook, Ill./Kentucky) and Staunton closer Bobby Hernandez (Key West, Fla./Barry). Kipnis shares the league lead with nine home runs and won the home run derby during the 2007 all-star game in Front Royal. He ranks second with a .591 slugging percentage, second with a .498 on-base percentage, first with 46 runs scored, second with 41 RBIs, first with 91 total bases, first with 49 walks, and second with 24 stolen bases. Hernandez was second in the league with 12 saves and second with 21 appearances. He had a 1.78 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings while holding opponents to a .143 batting average.
The awards were voted upon by the league’s 11 head coaches, broadcasters, and select media members who covered the league.
2007 Valley League MVP – Luke Grineke, Winchester
2007 Valley League Coach of the Year – Lawrence Nesselrodt, Waynesboro
2007 Valley League Batting Champion – Luke Greinke, Winchester
2007 Valley League Pitching ERA Leader – Robert Gilliam, Luray
2007 Valley League All-League Team
1B – Kurt Davidson, Waynesboro (Akron)
2B – Brandon Sizemore, Waynesboro (Tallahassee C.C.)
3B – Bennett Davis, Front Royal (Manatee C.C.)
SS – Tyler Kuhn, Luray (West Virginia)
OF – Jose Cueto, Winchester (Virginia Tech)
OF – Jason Kipnis, Covington (Kentucky)
OF – Robert Taylor, Harrisonburg (Arkansas-Little Rock)
C – Nick Stanley, New Market (South Florida C.C.)
DH – Nolan Brannon, New Market (Tampa)
UT – Luke Greinke, Winchester (Auburn)
SP – Jon Dages, Waynesboro (Butler)
SP – Robert Gilliam, Luray (UNC-Greensboro)
SP – Dustin Umberger, Luray (Liberty)
RP – Joel Brookens, Front Royal (North Carolina St.)
RP – Bobby Hernandez, Staunton (Barry)
RP – Garrett Parker, Harrisonburg (Howard-Payne)
Note: Due to a tie, three relief pitchers were selected
The Valley League has released players of the week for July 23rd. Ryan Sontag and Luke Greinke each were named Players of the week while Wade Korpi and Zac Blakney were named Pitchers of the Week. Ryan Sontag of Arizona State hit .433 last week in seven games while scoring nine runs, getting 13 hits, and driving in six runners. Luke Greinke of Auburn hit .619 last week while leading the league with 13 hits. Wade Korpi of Notre Dame pitched seven shutout innings last week while only allowing three hits as he led his team to a victory on Saturday night. Zac Blakney of the University of Montevallo threw six shutout innings while giving up only five hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.
Valley League Release
The Valley League has released their players of the week for the week ending on July 16th. They named Bradley Ray and Brett Stewart as the Players of the Week while Daniel Malone and Russ Brewer picked up Pitchers of the Week. Bradley Ray (Auburn) batted .320 with 2 homers last weekend. Brett Stewart (Appalachian State) hit .375 for the week with four runs scored and four driven in. Daniel Malone (Northwest Missouri State) went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 14 innings last week. Russ Brewer (Vanderbilt) threw a complete game shutout last week on Thursday while only allowing three hits.
-Courtesy of Valley Baseball League-
Players of the Week
Matt Payne (Hiddenite, N.C.), a junior outfielder from North Carolina State, hit .385 last week for Staunton. Payne helped to pace the Braves with two home runs, five RBIs and two runs scored. He led all players with an .846 slugging percentage and also posted a .357 on base percentage.
David Dennis (El Cajon, Calif.), from Oklahoma City University led Harrisonburg with a .455 batting average, while also finishing tied for second in the league with two home runs. Overall, Dennis collected 10 hits including a double and the two home runs, three RBIs, five runs scored and 17 total bases.
Pitchers of the Week
Scott Shuman (Valdosta, Ga.), the freshman righthander out of Auburn carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning when the Royals hosted Covington on Friday. Overall, Shuman went 1-0 in two appearances, with a 1.80 ERA. He struck out eight and allowed just four hits over 10 innings.
Joel Brookens (Fayetteville, Pa.), out of North Carolina State, lead the league with three saves and help Front Royal complete a 5-0 week. Brookens appeared in three games, pitching 3.1 innings, struck out 10 and allowed only one hit. He also picked up the save for the North team in Sunday’s All-Star game to complete a solid week of pitching.
Luke Greinke (Orlando, Fla.), a junior utility player out of Auburn for the Winchester Royals hit .474 last week. Greinke added a double, a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored to help lead the way for Winchester. He finished fifth in the league last week with a .684 slugging percentage. This season he is hitting .478 with three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and six runs scored.
Nick Stanley (Largo, Fla.), a junior catcher for New Market out of South Florida C.C., hit .474 last week second best in the Valley League. Stanley also added six runs scored, two doubles, a home run and three RBIs to help lead the Rebels last week. This season he is hitting .345, with eight doubles, 15 runs scored, a home run and 10 RBIs for New Market.
Pitchers of the Week
John Dages (Indianapolis, Ind.), a right-handed junior for Waynesboro out of Butler University, won his only start of the week. Dages threw a complete-game shutout against Covington on Sunday. He allowed just one runner to reach base on a single in the fourth innings, while also striking out nine and holding opponents to a .036 batting average. On the season Dages is 5-0 with a 0.89 ERA. He has struck out 31, while allowing just four extra base hits and four runs in 40.1 innings pitched.
Josh Judy (Morgantown, WV), a senior right handed pitcher for Indiana Tech and Haymarket led the league with 18 strikeouts last week. In his start against Staunton, Judy went all nine innings, striking out 17, allowing just five hits and one earned run. Judy also pitched an inning in relief for Haymarket as he allowed one hit and struck out one for the Senators.
The NCBWA has named Mike Bianucci of Auburn the National Player of the Week and Brian Matusz the National Pitcher of the week for the time period ending on February 25th. Bianucci led Auburn to a 3-0 record at the Coca-Cola Classic Tournament hosted by South Alabama this weekend. He hit .667 (8 for 12) with 2 homers and drove in seven runs. Brian Matusz pitched another stellar game by going seven innings while only letting up one hit and striking out ten hitters against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Friday evening.