This Week in Blue Raider Athletics

August 10, 2006 · MT Media Relations
Former Blue Raider Brett Carroll was tabbed the Best Outfield Arm in the Florida State League in the latest edition of Baseball America. The listing of the Best Tools in professional baseball appears in the August 14-27, 2006, edition of BA, with opinions from managers from the Florida State League, area scouts and other professional talent evaluators. Carroll played 59 games for the Jupiter Hammerheads in the FSL to start the season before a promotion to AA and the Carolina Mudcats in early June in the Florida Marlins organization. At Jupiter, the Knoxville, Tenn., native had 12 doubles, eight home runs and 30 RBIs along with nine stolen bases. In 51 games with the Mudcats, Carroll has posted 11 doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs.

FOUR FORMER PLAYERS SET TO GRADUATE: Four former Blue Raider players will participate in Commencement ceremonies Saturday at Murphy Center, including a pair from Murfreesboro. Former Oakland High School standout Jerry Knox (2003) will receive his bachelor's in Geoscience with a minor in Secondary Education. Former Riverdale standout Tim Crunk (2002-03) will receive his master's in Health and Education, while Eric Blevins (2004-05) will receive his bachelor's in Aerospace. Jason Maxwell, a former Major Leaguer and the current head coach at Ensworth School in Nashville, Tenn., will receive his bachelor's in Physical Education as well.

TWENTY-TWO BASEBALL PLAYERS HONORED BY SUN BELT: Twenty-two current and former Middle Tennessee baseball players were honored by the Sun Belt this week for their academic accomplishments during the 2005-06 academic year, including six on the Commissioner's List for a grade-point-average above 3.5. Grant Box, Taylor Dennis, Todd Martin, Michael McKenry, Brett Smalley and Allan Woodward all posted GPA's of 3.5 or higher last year. Sixteen members of the squad were part of the Academic Honor Roll for a GPA between 3.0 and 3.49, including Doug Birkofer, Rawley Bishop, Brandon Brokaw, Matt Campbell, Ben Darlington, Dillon Heath, Justin Humphrey, Justin Jones, Wayne Kendrick, Jimmy Kelly, Tommy Sterritt, Chase Swing, Marcus Taylor, Will Underland, Adam Warren and John Williams.

BRAZELTON UPDATE: Former Blue Raider All-American and first-round draft choice Dewon Brazelton returned to the mound July 19 from an oblique injury that sidelined the righthander for almost a month. In five appearances since his return, the Tullahoma, Tenn., native is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings of work, winning his first three decisions before dropping a 5-1 contest last night. Brazelton tossed four shutout innings in his return on July 19 versus Tucson and won his next three outings with 5.1 shutout frames against Oklahoma (7/25), 7.0 innings allowing just one run versus New Orleans (7/30), and 6.1 innings against Omaha (8/4), giving up just one earned run. Last night versus Iowa, he gave up five runs on nine hits in seven innings of work. Since his return Brazelton has allowed 28 hits, 10 runs, six earned, with eight walks and 13 strikeouts. For the season he is 4-4 with a 3.06 ERA for the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League.

MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE: Minor league seasons are winding down for all 10 former Blue Raider players and coaches, including three from this past year's team - Michael McKenry, Jeff Beachum and Todd Martin. McKenry has 26 games remaining for the Tri-City Dust Devils in Pasco, Wash., while Beachum and Martin both have just 10 games left for the GCL Yankees in Tampa, Fla., and the GCL Indians in Winter Haven, Fla., respectively, in the Florida State League. Dewon Brazelton also has 26 games remaining on his schedule with the Portland Beavers in Portland, Ore., in the Pacific Coast League.

Brett Carroll and Chris Mobley (Carolina Mudcats - Zebulon, N.C.) along with Jeremy Owens (Montgomery Biscuits - Montgomery, Ala.) and Jayhawk Owens (Chattanooga Lookouts - Chattanooga, Tenn.) all have 24 games left on their regular season schedules in the Southern League.

Owens is the only one assured a berth in the playoffs after the Lookouts won the first half title in the North Division. McKenry and the Dust Devils trail Boise by one game heading into tonight's play, while Beachum and the Yankees are four games behind the Tigers.

In the independent leagues, Eric McNamee and the Gary Southshore Railcats (Gary, Ind.) have 25 games remaining on their Northern League schedule. McNamee has been out of the lineup since June 24 with a broken wrist, but reports from the Railcats say he may be activated when Gary opens a homestand on Friday this week.

Josh Renick and the St. Paul Saints (St. Paul, Minn.) have 15 games left in their American Association season. The Saints lost the first half by two games and trail Lincoln (NE) by eight games with just two weeks left in the season.

SUMMER SEASON ENDS FOR 15 PLAYERS: Fifteen current Middle Tennessee players ended their summer seasons over the last two weeks, with a pair of players taking part in postseason action.

Brett Reilley posted the best statistics of the four pitchers who played summer ball for the Blue Raiders after going 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in eight starts, tossing 50.0 innings with 35 strikeouts and a .215 opponent batting average for the Dubois County (IN) Bombers in the Central Illinois Collegiate League.

Jimmy Kelly was 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 appearances for the Southern Ohio Copperheads in the Great Lakes Collegiate League, posting one save in 28.2 innings of work and 12 strikeouts. Catcher Alex Watson played with Kelly this summer, batting .250 in 33 games with six doubles, two home runs and 17 RBIs.

In the Mountain Collegiate League, Taylor Dennis batted. 269 in 78 at-bats with eight runs scored, 12 RBIs 11 walks and four stolen bases for the Greeley (CO) Grays.

In the Central Plains League, Rawley Bishop hit .287 for the Junction City (MO) Generals with 20 runs scored, three home runs and 25 RBIs along with 14 walks and six stolen bases.

In the Nashville Wood Bat League, Dillon Heath ranked fifth in the league with a .420 average, going 21-for-50 with 11 runs scored, eight RBIs, two doubles, two triples, 10 walks and eight stolen bases. Justin Jones batted .306 (11-for-36) with six runs scored, six doubles and six walks. Ben Darlington posted a .278 batting average (10-for-36) with four doubles and six walks, while Will Hulsey had three hits in 11 at-bats, Justin Humphrey went 2-for-10 after being slowed by injuries and Grant Nickell was 0-for-11 with four walks.

In the KIT League, Nick Marrs was 6-3 with a 2.42 ERA in nine starts, tossing 63.1 innings with 64 strikeouts and a .220 opponent batting average for the Union City (TN) Greyhounds. Matt Campbell played 14 games for the Greyhounds, batting .317 with six runs scored, two doubles, seven RBIs and 11 walks.

Wayne Kendrick and Chad Coley both played for Yorkton in the Western Major League in Canada, leading the Cardinals into the playoffs before falling in the best-of-five series.

Kendrick was second on the club with a .355 batting average with 22 runs scored, 11 doubles, 17 RBIs, nine walks and 11 stolen bases. In the playoffs he batted .500 (6-for-12) in three games with a pair of doubles.

Coley posted a 3-2 mark with a 3.25 ERA in 11 appearances, seven starts, collecting one save in 52.2 innings of work and 68 strikeouts. He tossed two shutout innings in his only appearance in the playoffs.

The 15 who participated in summer league action will join 36 other players for a total of 51 in uniform for fall practice, which begins Monday, September 11, and concludes Sunday, October 8, at Reese Smith Field.

Former Middle Tennessee All-American Fred Niemeyer is scheduled to attend the 20th annual Wally Tidwell Pro-Am Classic September 8-9 at the Buck Bouldin Tennis Center. There will be men's and women's divisions with a doubles round robin format for the pro-am. All amateurs will be teamed with a current or former Middle Tennessee tennis team member or an area teaching pro. Plans are to have numerous prizes, including trips and other fine gifts. There will be a dinner party, tennis clinic and exhibition featuring current and former tennis greats on Friday, September 8. The doubles round robins will take place followed by a lunch and awards ceremony on Saturday, September 9. This event is the only fundraiser for the Middle Tennessee tennis program. Anyone interested in participating as a player or sponsor should contact Director of Tennis Dale Short at 615/898-2957. Those who cannot participate may still donate. A minimum donation of $100 to the tennis program receives an official Middle Tennessee Tennis Hat and t-shirt along with BRAA membership credit. Please make checks payable to Middle Tennessee Tennis. Please mail donations to: MTSU, Attn. Coach Short, Box 465, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.

VENTER, SCHLEDORN SET TO GRADUATE: Former Middle Tennessee All-American and assistant coach Carien Venter as well as former Sun Belt MVP Kai Schledorn are both set to graduate Saturday. Venter will receive her master's in Exercise Science. Venter was a 2004 All-American in doubles with Manon Kruse and ended her Blue Raider career tied for second in career singles wins and fourth in career doubles victories. The Pretoria, South Africa, native received her bachelor's in Exercise Science in 2004 from Middle Tennessee. Schledorn was the MVP of the Sun Belt Championships in 2005 and will receive his bachelor's in Business Administration on Saturday.

THIRTEEN TENNIS PLAYERS HONORED BY SUN BELT: Thirteen current and former Middle Tennessee tennis players were honored by the Sun Belt this week for their academic accomplishments during the 2005-06 academic year, including eight on the Commissioner's List for a grade-point-average above 3.5. Joao Paoliello, Kai Schledorn, Andreas Siljestrom and Anant Sitaram represented the men's team, while Ana Maria Cibils, Jennifer Klaschka, Claudia Szabo and Britni Short were members of the women's team on the Commissioner's List. Females Kelly Adams, Pooja Kommireddi, Ann-Kristin Siljestrom and Elvira Yusupova and male Greg Pollack were members of the Academic Honor Roll for a GPA between 3.0 and 3.49.

Twenty-two current and former Middle Tennessee tracksters were honored by the Sun Belt this week for their academic accomplishments during the 2005-06 academic year, including nine on the Commissioner's List for a grade-point-average above 3.5. Willie Parker was the only male on the Commissioner's List, while eight females - Meaghan Byrd, Catherine Chester, Sierra Douglas, TraMayne Gillyard, Marjorie Gombert, Kaitlyn Hammond, Katie Mirgliotta and Tiffany Sawyer - all recorded GPA's of 3.5 or higher. Six men - Julius Defour, Derek Dell, Steve Safstrom, JJ Sturm, James Thomas and Matthew Young - and seven women - Jessica Anderson, Ashley Comstock, Kishara George, Sara Lunning, Tiffany Owens, Candice Robertson and Carlissa Shaw - were all members of the Academic Honor Roll for a GPA between 3.0 and 3.49. Safstrom, a four-year letterwinner in both track and cross country, will receive his bachelor's on Saturday, while Lamunika Eberhart, a track letterwinner this past season, will graduate with her bachelor's in Mass Communication.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.