1/28 Baseball Practice Notes

Nothing could slow down Michael Taylor during Sunday's intrasquad game at Sunken Diamond. The slugging outfielder led his team to a victory with a perfect 5-for-5 effort at the plate which included another home run. However, he wasn't the only offensive standout during the practice game. Here is a complete report with notes and statistics.

The Cardinal Team won their second straight game at Sunken Diamond with a 6-4 victory over the White Squad on Sunday afternoon.  A day after knocking out 19 hits, the Cardinal Team rapped out 14 base hits with Michael Taylor's perfect 5-for-5 performance leading the way.  Taylor finished the afternoon with four singles and a home run - his team-leading third of the preseason.  Cord Phelps also contributed four hits and a pair of RBI for the winning club.

It was a come-from-behind effort for the Cardinal Team as trailing 4-1, they mustered three runs in the seventh inning and then two more in the eighth to take the lead.  In the seventh, while facing David Stringer, Sean Ratliff started the rally with a double and eventually scored on Taylor's RBI single.  Taylor came across two batters later when Phelps ripped a double to center.  Then it was J.J. Jelmini tying the game with a single to score Phelps.

In the eighth, this time facing Tom Stilson, Taylor delivered the knockout blow with a tie-breaking two-run homer to deep right center field.

Austin Yount was the top pitcher of the afternoon scattering seven hits and allowing just one run over five innings.  The sophomore two-way player, who also singled twice for the White Team, did not walk a batter while striking out two.

The final three innings of the game were played in the rain at Sunken Diamond with a brief minute of hail during the seventh inning.  The contest, which ended after nine innings, was probably scheduled for another inning or two, but a wet mound prompted Mark Marquess to call everything off.


Cardinal   0 0 0  0 1 0  3 2 0   -   6  14   0
White      1 0 0  0 0 3  0 0 0   -   4   8   1

Cardinal         POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Sean Ratliff      CF   5   2   2   0    1   1  .439
Joey August       LF   5   0   1   0    0   1  .178
Michael Taylor    RF   5   3   5   3    0   0  .450
Grant Escue       1B   5   0   1   0    0   1  .286
Cord Phelps     3B/SS  5   1   4   2    0   0  .326
J.J. Jelmini    SS/2B  5   0   1   1    0   0  .268
Ryan Seawell      DH   5   0   0   0    0   3  .250
Steven Swinford   DH   5   0   0   0    0   0  .333

2B: Ratliff 2, Phelps
HR: Taylor (3rd, 8th inning, 1 on, 1 out)
HBP: Jelmini, Seawell
CS: Jelmini

White            POS  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Toby Gerhart      CF   4   1   1   0    1   0  .333
Austin Yount       P   4   1   2   1    1   1  .440
Adam Sorgi        DH   4   1   1   1    0   1  .263
Brian Juhl         C   4   0   1   0    0   1  .293
Brendan Domaracki RF   4   0   1   0    0   0  .257
Adam Gaylord      SS   4   0   1   0    0   1  .341
Randy Molina      1B   3   0   0   0    0   0  .289
Stephen Brown     3B   3   0   0   0    0   0  .118
Jeff Whitlow      LF   3   1   1   0    0   0  .182

E: Brown
2B: Domaracki, Whitlow
HBP: Gerhart

                   IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Austin Yount      5.0   7   1   1   0   2
Max Fearnow       5.2   5   4   4   2   1

David Stringer    3.0   4   3   3   1   4
Brandt Walker     2.1   1   0   0   0   0
Tom Stilson       2.0   5   2   2   0   3

* Not much else to say about Michael Taylor - the super-sized outfielder is ready for the season.  Taylor had four clean singles today going to all fields with his hits.  But his most impressive at-bat of the day was, without a doubt, the home run.  Facing Tom Stilson, Taylor belted a long ball over the fence in right center field.  Taylor has shown that he does not have a problem going to the opposite field to pick up a fair share of his hits - a unique quality for a power hitter.  But on Sunday, he hammered a ball nearly 400 feet the opposite way.  A swing of the bat that should bring smiles to the faces of the Cardinal faithful.  Taylor is even bigger and stronger than last year and has matured tremendously as a hitter over the last 2 1/2 years.  He's destined to become one of the premier player in all of college baseball this season.

* With his five hits today, Taylor jumped to the top of the charts in terms of batting average.  The junior outfielder is now at a sizzling .450 (18-for-40) with team-leading totals of three home runs and 12 RBI through 11 preseason games.

* Right on Taylor's heels for the team-best batting average though are the two-way players: Austin Yount and Sean Ratliff.  Yount singled twice in four at-bats on Sunday and is now hitting .440 (11-for-25).  The ball seems to jump off of Yount's bat and there's no question he'll get a look at the starting position at second base because of his red-hot bat which dates back to the second half of the summer in Alaska.  Meanwhile, it was Ratliff's sixth straight multi-hit game as the sophomore outfielder finished 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles.  Ratliff started slow on Sunday going hitless in his first three AB's,  but he connected for a two-bagger against Stringer in the seventh inning to start the three-run rally.  Then in the eighth, while leading off, he smoked a double into the right field corner off of Stilson and eventually scored on Taylor's blast.  It's going to be awfully hard to keep a bat as hot as Ratliff's out of the lineup if you're Mark Marquess.  Ratliff also looks to have the tools to bat leadoff, if needed.  In addition, he features some of the best raw power on the club.

* It was a huge afternoon at the plate for Cord Phelps as the sophomore infielder rapped out four hits in five at-bats.  The switch-hitter, Phelps is probably the front-runner to start at shortstop if Adam Sorgi isn't ready to play the field by opening night.  Phelps is an above-average defensive player and has made some nice improvements to his offensive game.

* Speaking of Sorgi, the redshirt junior continues to DH during intrasquads.  However, he is remaining fresh when it comes to taking ground balls.  Prior to the game, all of the infielders participated in a fielding drill and Sorgi looked fine with the ground balls.  He did not, however, do any throwing during the drill. 

Of note, Sorgi spent half of his time at third base during the fielding drill which raises the question of a return to the position.  The throw from third base isn't as difficult as the throw from deep shortstop.  In addition, the third baseman has far more throws, compared to shortstop, when it comes to receiving the ball from an outfielder and making a play at a base.  Sorgi obviously isn't yet at 100% with his shoulder and thus the hot corner may turn into an option.

* Randy Molina's bat has cooled off as the junior finished 0-for-3 during Sunday's contest.  Molina may get a look at first base with Jason Castro out indefinitely, but both Sorgi and Phelps could now find their names on the lineup card at third base.  A lot of questions right now on the infield in terms of who plays where.

* I'm continued to be impressed with Toby Gerhart both offensively and defensively.  Today, Gerhart reached base safely three more times from the leadoff spot in the lineup.  The freshman has tremendous plate discipline and always makes the pitcher work.  Plus, he's got outstanding speed which makes Gerhart an attractive option to bat near the top of the lineup.  In center field, Gerhart made a pair of fantastic running catches just in front of the fence during the intrasquad.  Look for Gerhart to see plenty of playing time in the first few series' of the year.

* Brent Milleville continues to just catch during games.  He was seen swinging a bat on the side numerous times during the game and it doesn't look like it'll be long before he's participating fully.

* The final intrasquad game of the preseason is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.

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