The South Florida Bulls head up to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Bulls have a 14-13 overall record while 4-5 in the Big East conference. West Virginia enters with a 22-6 record with a 4-2 record in the conference. West Virginia is coming off two victories over Maryland Eastern Shore this week where head coach Greg Van Zant picked up his 399th and 400th career victories. Continue reading
FROM PRESS RELEASE
St. John’s, which won 41 games and claimed a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title last year, has been chosen as the favorite to win the 2008 conference championship by the 12 BIG EAST head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams. Continue reading
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.
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 North Carolina Tar Heels rolled over East Carolina 10-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Adam Warren who went seven shutout innings to up his record to 8-0. Tim Fedroff picked up four RBI to lead the UNC offense. UNC will be back in action on Wednesday when they host High Point before going to NC State for a key ACC showdown. East Carolina will be back in action this weekend when they host Southern Mississippi.
East Carolina Recap
Elon 13 Clemson 12
The Phoenix were able to edge the Clemson Tigers 13-12 in a classic slugfest in Clemson SC. Pat Irvine went 2-2 with 3 RBI including a homer and teammate Mike Melillo picked up a homer to lead the Phoenix offense to the victory. Doug Hogan went 2-3 with 5 RBI including a homer to lead the Clemson offense in the loss. Elon will host UNC-Greensboro for a weekend series while Clemson plays South Carolina on Wednesday.
Wake Forest 3 Charlotte 2 (11 innings)
Brett Linnenkohl hit a homer in the top of the 11th inning to give the Wake Forest Demon Deacons a 3-2 lead and Josh Ellis pitched a scoreless bottom of the 11th to break a three game losing streak for the Deacons. Aaron Bray led the 49ers with three hits while Evan Ocheltree went 2-4. Wake Forest will head to Appalchin State on Wednesday while Charlotte will head to George Washington for a conference series on Friday.
Duke 12 Campbell 0
Nate Freiman hit two homers and Jimmy Gallagher went 5-6 only a triple shy of the cycle to lead the Blue Devils to the 12-0 victory over Campbell. Jonathan Anderson got the victory on the mound by pitching five scoreless innings. Duke will be off until Friday when they head to Wake Forest while Campbell hosts Gardner-Webb in a conference series.
Georgia 10 Georgia Tech 7
The Bulldogs picked up a 10-7 victory over Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs were led by Matt Olson who went 4-5 with six RBI. The Bulldogs jumped on GA Tech starter John Goodman who only lasted 1.1 innings while giving up four runs on two hits and three walks to drop his record to 1-2 on the season. Jason Leaver picked up the victory by pitching going his scheduled three innings while giving up three runs. His record goes to 1-1 on the season. Josh Fields who has struggled throughout the season pitched a scoreless ninth to get his fourth save of the season. Georgia Tech will host Clemson for a weekend series while Georgia plays at Western Carolina on Wednesday.
West Virginia 13 Maryland 2
The West Virginia Mountaineers blew out the Maryland Terrapins 13-2 in a battle between the Big East and ACC. West Virginia used a 16 hit attack led by Tyler Kuhn who went 3-6 with four RBI in the win. Maryland starter Mike Sufczynski picked up the loss to drop his record to 0-2 while Josh Whitlock got the win by pitching eight innings while allowing only two runs to up his record to 6-3. West Virginia is back in action on Friday when they host St. John’s while Maryland will head to Virginia on Friday.
The James Madison Dukes scored four runs on wild pitches as they took a non-conference game from Virginia Tech on Tuesday. Matt Browning went 3-4 with two runs scored to lead the Dukes offense. The Hokie offense was led by Nate Parks who also went 3-4 with one run scored. The Hokies will be back in action on Wednesday when they host Radford while JMU visits UVA on Wednesday.
The West Virginia Mountaineers have released their 2007 schedule. They will start the season in Winston Salem to play Cleveland State for a three game set at Ernie Shore Field. They will then return to the Carolinas the next two weekends to take part in the Baseball at the Beach and the Coastal Carolina tournaments. They will then return to Morgantown to start the home schedule with a doubleheader against Niagara. They will continue their homestand for another 16 games before heading on the road to start the road portion of the Big East schedule. The full schedule is available here and The College Baseball Blog likely will see these guys when they visit the Huskies late in the season.