Tag Archives: Wade Gaynor

BASEBALL: Gaynor not only former Topper succeeding in Class A

Western baseball fans got a special treat when former third baseman Wade Gaynor returned to Bowling Green this week for a series against the Hot Rods as a member of the White Michigan Whitecaps .

The Herald had the chance to talk to Gaynor before the first game of the series. For the story, click here.

But Gaynor isn’t the only former Topper cutting his teeth in Class A ball.

In total, seven players from the 2009 squad had the opportunity to play professional baseball. Senior pitcher Matt Ridings chose to return to school after being drafted in the 25th round, and pitchers Ben Paxton and Evan Teague were cut this spring by the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively.

That leaves Gaynor, first baseman Chad Cregar, infielder Terrence Dayleg and pitcher J.B. Paxson currently playing in Class A from Western’s squad last season.

Oddly enough, Cregar and Dayleg have both ended up on the same team — the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Class A affiliate of the Florida Marlins.

Both have started seven of the Grasshoppers’ (2-6) first eight games, although they have each had their struggles at the plate. Cregar is batting .222, while Dayleg has made the switch from shortstop to third base and is batting .227.

Despite the adversity they’ve faced, Western Head Coach Chris Finwood said both players will benefit from having an old friend close by.

“That’s really neat, because that doesn’t happen often where you’re college teammates and get to be professional teammates on the same team,” he said. “I’m sure they’re really enjoying being able to spend time together.”

And now on to J.B. Paxson — err, I mean Joseph Paxson, as he was referred to on his new team’s Web site for the first two weeks of the season. I was prepared to ask Paxson why he’d dropped the initials when I got the chance to speak with him, but apparently media relations has gotten to know the reliever a little better and changed his name to J.B.

As they should, because Paxson is flawless in his first 2.1 innings of work in two games for the Great Lake Loons, the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Paxson has struck out two without surrendering a hit or a walk for the Loons (5-3).

Ridings said he tries to keep in touch with all of his former teammates via Facebook as often as he can.

“They’re off on the road on their own, and I know they like when old teammates keep in touch with them, so I’m going to try to do that,” he said. “That’s kind of what everybody’s goal is when we’re little kids — to play professional ball. They’re lucky enough to be there right now, and I’m sure they’re having a blast.

“It’s kind of cool to say we played with those guys.”

Bowling Green fans will get two more chances to see Gaynor play here when the Whitecaps return for series in June and August. Cregar and Dayleg play in a different league than the Hot Rods, but Paxson’s Loons will be in town to play Bowling Green from April 27-29.

-Zach Greenwell


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Former Hilltopper Gaynor returns to BG for series against Hot Rods

Former Western third baseman Wade Gaynor may find himself a little rattled when he heads out onto the diamond in Bowling Green Wednesday night.

Gaynor has patrolled the hot corner at Nick Denes Field countless times, but for the next three days, the Hot Rods’ Bowling Green Ballpark will be as close to home as he comes.

Gaynor, who was selected in the third round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Detroit Tigers, will return to face the Hot Rods in a three-game series starting tonight as a member of the Tigers’ Class A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Through the Whitecaps’ first six games, Gaynor is batting .263 with one home run and nine total bases. He has started five games at third base, and his three RBIs are tied for most on the team.

Gaynor batted .371 with 25 home runs, 78 RBIs and 83 runs scored as a junior for the Hilltoppers last season.

None of the current Western coaches and players will be able to see Gaynor play in the series because of conflicting schedules, but the Whitecaps will return to Bowling Green for a series in June.

First pitch between West Michigan (2-4) and the Hot Rods (2-4) is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. tonight. Both teams will also meet at 6:35 p.m. Thursday and 7:05 p.m. Friday.

-Zach Greenwell

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Baseball news and notes

Some notes as the Toppers head into the last five weeks of the baseball season:

– Sophomore catcher Matt Rice went 5-for-13 in last weekend’s sweep of New Orleans, extending his hitting streak to 29 games, a Western record. If the streak continues, he could match the Sun Belt Conference record of 34 games in next Wednesday’s game against Eastern Kentucky and break it at home against Florida Atlantic on April 24.

A few weeks ago, coach Chris Finwood said, “We’ve always known Matt Rice would be a good hitter– he just needs to get his at-bats.” So far, Rice has the most at-bats on the team (141), and he’s made the most of them. He’s got a team-best .418 batting average and 59 hits, with 20 of those being extra-base hits.

– Though Middle Tennessee State is projected to finish eighth in the SBC, the Blue Raiders are sitting at 13-5 in the conference, a game and a half behind Western. MTSU closes the season with series against Louisiana Monroe (fourth), at South Alabama (ninth), and at Troy (third) before hosting a season-ending series against Western.

The Toppers, on the other hand, will travel to Arkansas State (seventh), then face Florida Atlantic (eighth) and Arkansas-Little Rock (10th) at home before going to Murfreesboro.

When senior shortstop Terrence Dayleg and junior third baseman Wade Gaynor were asked about a series that they had circled on their schedules, Dayleg started to answer, but Gaynor grinned and said, “No, I got this one. (Junior pitcher) Matt Ridings and I were just talking about this.”

He mentioned the MTSU series before saying that the team has to take care of business in the three series before they meet the Blue Raiders.

“We have nine games coming up, our next three series, where we feel very confident going in,” he said. “Those are really important.”

Dayleg downplayed the importance of individual games or series, saying no fewer than six times that “every game counts”.

But Finwood mentioned the Blue Raiders as well: “Of course you never know what can happen, but the way it’s shaping up, looks like that last weekend at Middle’s going to be a big one, which is great. They’ve got a heck of a ball club, and good thing, so do we. I like our chances.”

– The Toppers are now 20-1 at Nick Denes Field, with the only loss coming on March 3 to Belmont. They’ve won seven straight SBC series at home, and ten straight home series overall.

“We really do take pride in winning at home, just because it’s our place,” Gaynor said.

Junior first baseman Jake Wells said a few weeks ago that the team is “used to the scenery” at the Nick because they play there throughout the fall, as well as practicing there in January before the season begins.

“When other teams come in, they see how well we’re playing at home,” he said. “There’s maybe sort of an intimidation factor when they come to our place, which helps us a lot.”

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