This Week in MAC Baseball

Updated 5/2/2000

Mid-American Conference Pepsi Player of the Week

Andrew See, Ohio (Jr., OF)
Adrian, Mich. (University of Georgia)

For the second time this season, Ohio's Andrew See is the MAC Pepsi Player of the Week. In five games last week, See hit .450 (9-for-20) with six home runs, 10 runs scored and nine RBIs. The junior, who had a 1.350 slugging percentage, hit half of his home runs in the Bobcats' 19-18 win over Cincinnati, then had three in one day of action against Akron, including two in Sunday's second game, where he also picked up a win on the mound.

Other nominees:
Sean Manfredonia, Akron -- Hit .389 for the week (7-for-18) with two home runs (one was a grand slam), nine RBIs and seven runs scored.

Aric Christman, Bowling Green -- Was 10-for-23 (.435) in six games with three doubles and four RBIs.

Jeremy Ridley, Ball State -- Batted .600 (15-for-25) with nine runs scored and five RBIs. Also had three doubles and three stolen bases.

Matt Crowley, Central Michigan -- Drove in 10 runs and hit .560 (14-for-25) over a seven-game span.

Jess Bechard, Kent -- Hit .476 (10-for-21) with six runs, five RBIs and five doubles, including three two-baggers in one game.

Marty Rini, Marshall -- Was 9-for-18 (.500) with two home runs and 10 runs batted in.

Jeremy Ison, Miami -- Batted .500 (9-for-18) with four home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored in six games.

James Galla, Western Michigan -- Hit .333 (5-for-15), driving in seven runs and scoring three times.

Mid-American Conference Pepsi Pitcher of the Week

Chris Leonard, Miami (Fr., LHP)
Columbus, Ohio (St. Francis De Sales)

Miami freshman Chris Leonard is this week's MAC Pepsi Pitcher of the Week. The left-handed hurler tossed a three-hit shutout against Marshall, the day after the two teams combined to hit 18 home runs. All three of hits that he allowed were singles, and the freshman fanned six while walking five batters.

Other nominees:
Justin Crowell, Ball State -- Was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, picking up wins against IP-Fort Wayne and Toledo. in 12 innings of work, he struck out 17, walked six and gave up seven hits.

Tony Fontana, Bowling Green -- In two appearances, was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Picked up a win on the road against Kent, striking out six and walking four while surrendering three hits.

Dirk Hayhurst, Kent -- Tossed a complete game, five hitter versus Bowling Green. He struck out five and walked two.

Sean Reeder, Marshall -- Was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two appearances. In 14 innings of work, he struck out 14, walked nine and gave up 13 hits.

Steve Hardman, Northern Illinois -- In 13.1 innings of action in two games, was 2-0 with a 4.72 ERA, picking up wins against Northwestern and Western Michigan.

Shawn Morrison, Western Michigan -- Was 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA in two appearances against Northern Illinois. In 9.2 innings, he struck out four and gave up seven hits.

First place in the East Division became a little clearer last weekend as Kent took three of four games from Bowling Green, stretching its lead to three games over the Falcons with eight games left in the regular season. The Golden Flashes (15-3) have four-game series remaining on the road with Miami and Marshall, while the Falcons (12-6) travel to Ohio (13-7) this weekend and host fifth-place Akron (9-10) the following. Fourth-place Miami (11-9) has perhaps the toughest road to qualify for the tournament as it hosts the Golden Flashes and the Bobcats in the final two weekends.

Ball State moved into a tie for first place in the West Division with Central Michigan with 13-5 marks after the Cardinals swept a four-game series with Toledo, while the Chippewas won three of four versus Eastern Michigan. Ball State is one of the league's hottest teams, as the Cardinals have won four straight games overall and eight consecutive league games. BSU ends the regular season by hosting Western Michigan this Saturday and Sunday and traveling to Eastern Michigan next weekend, while Central Michigan hosts Toledo ad Northern Illinois. The two teams currently Kent by two games for the MAC regular season championship and the right to host the league tournament, which runs May 17-20.

On Wednesday, Eastern Michigan will play its first-ever night game at Oestrike Stadium. The Eagles will host cross town rival Michigan at 7 p.m. Former Eagle skipper Ron Oestrike will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Miami and Marshall played its own version of Home Run Derby on Saturday. The two teams combined to smack 18 homers in the two games, 11 from the RedHawks and seven from the Thundering Herd. Juniors Clark Mace and Jeremy Ison each hit three on Saturday, with Ison adding a fourth on Sunday. Marshall hit five in the team's 10-7 series-opening win, which ended a 14-game MAC losing streak. Herd junior Marty Rini hit his league-leading 13th home run in that contest.

Kent senior Alex Marconi is one of 40 players named to the "watch list" for the Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher of the Year award, which will be presented to the nation's top collegiate catcher at the Third Annual Greater Wichita Area Sports Banquet held June 20, in Wichita, Kan. Marconi is batting .329 (56-for-170) with a team-high 12 home runs and a league-leading 51 RBIs this season.

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

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

West Division		Pick	+/-
Central Michigan	3rd	+2
Ball State		1st	even
Northern Illinois	6th	+3
Western Michigan	2nd	-2
Toledo			4th	-1
Eastern Michigan	5th	even

Northern Illinois matched its longest winning streak of the season last week when the Huskies won the second game of a doubleheader against Bradley, then won the first three versus Western Michigan. The Huskies' 21 wins to date are the program's most since 1996 when NIU won 27 games. Junior Don Rodman became the first Huskie in the modern era of NIU baseball to record two victories on the same day as registered both wins in relief against Western Michigan.

Akron junior catcher/designated hitter Sean Manfredonia had a large hand in the Zips splitting four games with Ohio last weekend. In Saturday's win, Manfredonia was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs, then followed that with a game-winning grand slam in Sunday's victory.

Central Michigan's Jake Sanborn should become the Chippewas' all-time hits leader sometime this weekend when CMU hosts Toledo. The senior, who has helped CMU to wins in 12 of its last 14 contests, is one hit shy of tying Doug Fisher's school record 229 hits. Sanborn is also four at-bats shy of establishing a new Chippewa career mark.

Bowling Green pitcher Tony Fontana won his fifth consecutive decision with Saturday's 6-2 triumph at Kent. He leads the team in wins (6), complete games (6), innings pitched (69) and strikeouts (63). Fontana has limited opponents to a .224 batting average. In Mid-American Conference games, Fontana has been even tougher with a 4-0 mark and a 2.31 ERA. The junior has 36 strikeouts in 35 innings, while limiting opponents to a .148 batting average (17-for-115).

Ball State seniors Jeremy and Shayne Ridley are two of the reasons why the Cardinals have won eight straight league games and are tied for first with Central Michigan. Jeremy was 8-for-16 last week in games against Toledo, and batted .600 for the week (15-for-25) with nine runs scored, five RBIs and three stolen bases. Shayne, meanwhile, leads the conference in hitting (.466) and in game one last Sunday recorded his 200th hit as a Cardinal, which was a home run.

Western Michigan's Shawn Morrison helped keep the Broncos' alive for a postseason tournament bid on Sunday as the sophomore tossed eight innings of five-hit ball against Northern Illinois for a 3-0 win. The win prevented the Huskies from sweeping WMU, and keeps the Broncos within 2.5 games of NIU for the third and final spot for a West Division team in the MAC tournament.

The Ohio offense scored 53 runs last weekend in five games, for an average of 10.6 per contest. Twice the Bobcats reached double digits in runs, highlighted by a 19-run output against Cincinnati, which included six home runs. This week's Player of the Week, Andrew See, tallied six homers of his own, three in one game versus the Bearcats and three in one day against Akron. In 43 games this season, Ohio has accumulated 67 round trippers, 14 ahead of its closes competitor, Miami. In contrast, Northern Illinois has totalled the fewest, 20, and half of the MAC has it under 30 home runs.