This Week In MAC Baseball

Updated 5/10/2000

IT'S STILL UP IN THE AIR:
With one week of the regular season remaining, there is still a lot of uncertainty. The only valid fact thus far is that three teams have qualified for the league tournament -- Kent, Central Michigan and Ball State. Four teams are still alive for two spots in the East (Ohio, Bowling Green, Miami, and Akron) while four schools in the West are fighting for the last opening (Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Toledo). The Golden Flashes, who travel to Marshall, are one game ahead of the Chippewas for the No. 1 seed and the right to host the league's tournament May 17-20.

RIDLEY CHASING BATTING RECORD:
Ball State senior Shayne Ridley, who is second in the nation in hitting, increased his average to .473 over the weekend. Ridley, who entered his final year as a Cardinal as a career .301 hitter, is pursuing the Mid-American Conference single season modern era record (since 1970) as well as the school record. A first-year all-MAC player last season, Ridley's current average is second to Randy Bockus' (Kent) mark of .480, which was set in 1981. His average, if the Cardinals' season was complete, would set a school record, bettering Ed Sherry's 1967 batting average of .455.

CHIPPEWAS DIAL THE LONG BALL:
Central Michigan knocked out 15 home runs in the team's four-game series with Toledo, bringing the Chippewas' total to 61, which are third in the league this season and the fifth most in school history. Senior Scott Pieratt accounted for one-third (5) of the CMU output, with four coming in Sunday's doubleheader. Pieratt drove in 11 runs versus the Rockets and also scored eight runs, and was named the league's Player of the Week.

LAST WEEKEND FOR FROSS?:
Akron head coach Dave Fross might be coaching in his final weekend as the Zips skipper. Fross, who has coached at Akron for 27 seasons, will remain on the staff next season as co-head coach and assist acting head coach Tim Berenyi. During his tenure at Akron, Fross has guided the Zips to 743 wins.

HERD ON A LATE-SEASON ROLL:
Since ending the team's 12-game losing streak, Marshall is 8-4 in its last 12 games. The Thundering Herd took three of four games last weekend against Akron and split the prior weekend with Miami. Marshall has doubled its wins in league games from a year ago and have won 20 games overall for the first time since 1994, when the Herd went 23-20. Marshall ends the season by hosting Kent State.

ISON ON FIRE FOR MIAMI:
Miami junior shortstop Jeremy Ison hit three home runs last week for the RedHawks, increasing his total to a team-best 14. In his last eight games Ison has hit seven homers, and needs three long balls in the final five regular season games to break the school's single-season mark. Ison, who has a team-high 19 multi-hit contests, is tied for second on the team with a .392 average in league games, which is tied for ninth in the MAC.

ANOTHER RECORD FOR BECHARD:
Kent State senior Jess Bechard added another record to his portfolio last Sunday as he became the school's all-time RBI leader. Bechard set the mark against Miami by driving home his 176th run with a home run. The senior, who moved into third-place in league history in career RBIs, already own the MAC and school marks for career hits (296), runs (200), doubles (81), total bases (474) and at-bats (797).

DOUBLES PARADE AT BG:
Bowling Green leads the league with 107 doubles, yet doesn't have a player ranking in the top 10. The Falcons, who are one of three teams with 100 or more two-baggers, have six players with 10-plus doubles, led by Aric Christman's 14. Sean Ryan is second with 13 doubles, while three others have 11 and one has 10.

PRESEASON POLL REVISITED:
Below is a comparison of the league's preseason poll, which was released back in February, in relation to where the teams stand with one week left in the regular season. The top three teams from each division qualify for the league tournament.

East Division	Pick	+/-
Kent		3rd	+2
Ohio		4th	+2
Bowling Green	2nd	-1
Miami		1st	-3
Akron		5th	even
Marshall	6th	even

West Division	Pick	+/-
C. Michigan	3rd	+2
Ball State	1st	-1
N. Illinois	6th	+3
W. Michigan	2nd	-2
E. Michigan	5th	even
Toledo		4th	-2

IT'S IN THE NUMBERS FOR NIU:
The records are starting to fall for Northern Illinois. Pat Kerrigan tied the school's single-season record for doubles with 16, while he also moved into a tie for third in career two-baggers with 30. Pitcher Brian Miller tied the single season mark in saves with four, and also slid into a tie for second in career saves (5).

TWO WINS THE HARD WAY:
Ohio swept MAC rival Bowling Green over the weekend, but two of the wins didn't come so easy. In game one on Saturday, Ohio used four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat BG 5-4. Jeff Rook hit a solo home run, Brian Wingfeld scored on a single RBI by Andrew See, and Cory Keylor hit a game-winning double to plate See and Kevin Sullivan. On Sunday, the Bobcats needed another strong last at-bat and three runs in the first game to top BG 11-10. Jeremy Johnson hit a game-winning, three-run home run to center field with See and Rook on base to register the win.

QUICK MAC BASEBALL BITES:
Marshall's Eric Pinkerton became the school's all-time hitter with 181 hits and also moved into first on the all-time doubles list with 45. Ball State's Jeremy Ridley set the career mark for runs scored (187) and needs 14 hits (has 246) to be the school's all-time leader. The Cardinals are one win shy of the program's fifth straight 30-win season. Joe Seestadt of Western Michigan had his 12-game hitting streak end in game one on Sunday against Ball State. For the first time in school history, Miami has three players for the first time hit at least 10 home runs in one season -- Jeremy Ison (14), Clark Mace (11) and John Lackaff (12). Toledo's Jason Stuecher and Mario Wallace each have 15 doubles this season and are two shy of tying the school's single-season record. Sean Harrington will go down in Eastern Michigan history as the first pitcher to pick up a win under the lights at Oestrike Stadium, defeating Michigan 9-8.