MAC Announces Baseball Players & Pitchers of the Week

Updated 4/30/2012
MAC East Division Baseball Player of the Week 
Jimmy Rider, Kent State
Sr. INF, Venetia, Pa. (Peters Township)

Rider cracked a two-out, two-RBI double to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Kent State baseball team blank Mid-American Conference West Division foe Western Michigan, 4-0, and establish himself as the school's new all-time hits king Saturday (April 28) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Rider's historic hit highlighted a week in which the senior co-captain batted a team-best .571 with a team-high 12 hits and five RBIs. Rider's two hits broke the previous school standard of 113 held by Andrew Davis (2004-07) and broke the backs of Western Michigan as his base knocks drove in three of Kent State's four runs. His RBI double in the eighth extended his team lead to 21 on the season. Rider added two more hits to his total in Kent State's dominating 7-1 Sunday series finale victory over the Broncos, bringing his career total to 316. Rider is one of five players in Kent State history to collect 300-plus hits, joining Davis, Ben Klafczynski (312; 2008-11), Jess Bechard (304; 1997-00) and Anthony Gallas (302; 2007-10).

MAC East Division Baseball Pitcher of the Week
Tyler Skulina, Kent State
So.,RHP, Strongsville, Ohio (Walsh Jesuit)

Skulina dominated for eight-plus innings to earn his team-leading sixth pitching victory as the Kent State baseball team completed a Mid-American Conference interdivision weekend sweep in dominating fashion with a 7-1 triumph over West Division foe Western Michigan Sunday (April 29) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Skulina baffled the Broncos over 8.1 innings – the deepest outing of his career – and carried a shutout into the ninth. He struck out six while giving up one earned run on six hits and a walk and improved to 6-2 on the season. Skulina did not allow a runner to advance past first base until Western Michigan junior first baseman Patrick Duncan hit a one-out RBI double to left field in the top of the ninth inning.

MAC West Division Baseball Player of the Week
Pat MacKenzie, Central Michigan 
Redshirt Freshman, Second Base, Royal Oak, Mich. (Brother Rice)

MacKenzie provided a spark for the Chippewas last week from the nine spot in the lineup, batting an astounding .667 (8-for-12) with five runs scored, two doubles and five RBI as the Maroon and Gold went 3-1 on the week. MacKenzie drew five walks in the four games to reach base in 13 of his 17 plate appearances for a .765 on-base percentage on the week. In Wednesday's 9-4 win over Notre Dame, MacKenzie went 1-for-2 with two runs and two walks and drove in a career-high four runs. He followed up his midweek performance by recording at least two hits in all three games at Akron over the weekend, finishing with a .700 clip (7-for-10) versus the Zips.

MAC West Division Baseball Pitcher of the Week
Ryan Wilkinson, Toledo
Sophomore, LHP, Munster, Ind. (Munster)

Wilkinson tossed a three-hit gem and led Toledo to a 5-0 shutout victory over Ball State in Friday’s Mid-American Conference series opener at Scott Park. Wilkinson (6-2) went the distance for the first time in his UT career and faced only 29 batters to earn his squad-best sixth victory of the spring. The Munster, IN native kept the Cardinals guessing at the plate all afternoon and finished with a collegiate-best nine strikeouts. He retired the opposition in order on five occasions and the most batters he faced in an inning was four in the third and seventh. It was the Rockets first blanking of the spring and first since senior LHP Kyle Shaw worked a six-hit shutout against Western Michigan on April 29, 2011.

Other Nominees
Andrew Brown, Akron
Sr., RHP, Painesville, Ohio (Riverside)
Brown became Akron's record holder for career innings pitched on Friday when he tossed seven scoreless innings to lead UA to a 7-0 win over Central Michigan. Brown has now tossed 338.0 innings in his career at Akron, breaking the old mark of 334.0 held by Ross Liersemann. He shut down the Central Michigan lineup over seven innings, scattering eight hits. He allowed just one base runner past second all day to earn his sixth win of the year. Brown has not allowed an earned run in 19 straight innings of work and has a 1.10 ERA in conference play this season.

Sam Watkins, Akron
Sr., 3B, Johnstown, Pa. (Allegany [Md.])
Watkins was Akron's leader at the plate last week, hitting .533 with three RBI and scoring five times. He also swiped two bases and did not commit an error on 10 chances in the field. Sam went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks in the midweek loss to Canisius, scoring three times. He then batted 5-for-12 with three RBI in the weekend series against Central Michigan. He drove in a run in UA's 7-0 win over CMU in the opener and plated a pair - on three hits - in the finale.

Matt Malewitz, Bowling Green
LHP, R-Sr., Grand Rapids, Mich. (Grand Rapids CC/E. Grand Rapids)
Malewitz picked up the win on Friday night, as he picked up the win against 2nd-place Ohio. Malewitz, went 6.2 innings for the win, not allowing a run the first six innings of action. He would scatter nine Bobcat hits throughout the afternoon, while only allowing three runs. Malewitz would leave the game with a 4-3 lead, a lead that would hold giving the Falcons the win on Friday night.

Andrew Kubuski, Bowling Green
OF, So., Elyria, Ohio (Elyria Catholic)
Kubuski helped the Falcons to two wins over 2nd-place Ohio on the weekend, going 8-for-16 for the week. In Friday's 4-3 win over Ohio, Kubuski was instrumental in the victory, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. On Sunday, the two teams played a doubleheader, as Kubuski would reach base the first seven times he came up to bat in the doubleheader, going 3-for-3 in the first game with a walk. In the second game, an 8-7 Falcon victory, Kubuski was 3-for-5 with a run scored. He would also gun down a runner at home for his fourth outfield assist on the year. 

Cameron Copping, Buffalo
Sr., RHP, Temple City, CA (Pasadena CC)
Copping earned another quality start in conference play after throwing seven innings and allowing just two earned runs in a 9-3 win over Miami (OH) on Friday. The senior struck out three batters, induced a pair of double play grounders, and allowed five hits on the day, pitching out of jams in the fifth and seventh innings to earn his third win of the season.

Dan Scahill, Buffalo
Sr., OF, Lombard, IL (Elgin CC)
Scahill snapped out of a slump with a productive weekend, driving in five runs in three games as the Bulls won two of three games against MAC East rival Miami (OH). The senior started the series with two hits and three runs batted in to help the team to a 9-3 win on Friday. On Saturday, he had an RBI double in a 4-2 win. Despite a loss Sunday, Scahill went 2-5 with another double and a RBI.

Pat Kaminska, Central Michigan
Junior, RHP, Phoenix, Az. (John A. Logan College/Naperville Central HS (Ill.)
Kaminska earned his third win of the season and second in Mid-American Conference play Sunday by winning game of Sunday's doubleheader at Akron, 7-1. The junior gave up just four hits over 6.1 innings of work, limiting the Zips to one unearned run to help the Maroon and Gold set up the doubleheader sweep and series win.

Steve Weber, Eastern Michigan
Jr., RHP, North Royalton, Ohio (North Royalton)
 Weber (5-3) pitched the Eagles to a 7-5 victory over NIU on Saturday. Following a tough first inning, Weber settled in nicely through the middle portion of the contest and kept NIU hitters off balance until he finally ran out of gas in the eighth inning. Weber tossed 113 pitches in 7.1 innings and gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out five and walking one. The junior righty is now 4-0 in his last five starts and has averaged more than 6.2 innings per start over that span.

Tucker Rubino, Eastern Michigan
Sr., IF, Scottsdale, Ariz., (Horizon [Glendale CC])
Rubino notched the game winning RBI and scored a run in Saturday's 7-5 win against NIU. He made several spectacular plays at shortstop over the weekend including on Sunday to give EMU a chance to rally against the Huskies.

Charles Zubrod, Miami
Sophomore, RHP, Winnetka, Ill. (Georgetown Prep)
Earned one of Miami’s wins this week with a strong outing at Indiana on Tuesday… scattered four hits in 7.0 innings against the Hoosiers… allowed four runs, but only one was earned… walked two and struck out two.

Ryan Curl, Miami
Senior, Outfielder, Gahanna, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales)
Hit safely in all five games this week. Batted .421 with eight hits in 19 at-bats… three of his hits went for extra bases (two doubles and a triple)… walked twice for an on-base percentage of .476… his slugging percentage was .632… tied  a career-high with three hits at Indiana on Tuesday… also drove in a season best three runs with a single, double and triple that day… scored twice… followed that with two hits, including a double, and two runs scored against the Hoosiers the next day.

Taylor Nawrocki, Northern Illinois
Jr., Fairmont, Minn. (Granada-Huntley-East Chain)
Nawrocki won his fourth game of the season and hurled his second combined shutout of the year Friday evening against Eastern Michigan, winning 1-0. The Huskies ace hurled eight scoreless innings for Northern Illinois and gave up only two hits in the game, one in the first and one in the eighth inning. Nawrocki tied his season-high in strikeouts as he fanned seven of the Eagles batters, two looking, and walked two. Nawrocki faced 27 batters in the game and threw 22-first pitch strikes in the outing against EMU. Northern Illinois did not score until the top of the ninth inning, when it scored on a pair of errors. The game only saw five hits combined through both teams.

Joe Battaglia, Northern Illinois
Soph., C, Westchester, Ill. (St. Joseph)
Battaglia made three starts behind the plate for the Huskies last week and provided a solid spark at the bottom of the lineup, batting 5-for-9 at the plate with a double and three runs scored. Against Eastern Michigan over the weekend, he made two starts and was 3-for-6 with two runs, accounting for 50 percent of the Huskies runs in their wins over the Eagles (1-0 Friday, 3-1 Sunday). Battaglia hit an easy single in the sixth inning and stretched it for double, barely avoiding the tag with a head first slide into the bag. On Friday defensively, he threw out one runner attempting to steal second base in the Huskies 1-0 triumph. 

Jason Moulton, Ohio
Senior, Right-handed pitcher, Toledo, Ohio (Roy C. Start)
Moulton authored the finest start of his 2012 campaign as he went a season-best 9.0 innings, helping the Bobcats to lone victory of the week at Bowling Green. During his nine innings of work, Moulton struck out six, scattered eight hits and did not allow a run, while limiting the Falcons to a .258 batting average. Moulton’s nine-inning effort marked the seventh time this season an Ohio starter has gone the distance.

Tyler Wells, Ohio
Freshman, Left Field, Lexington, Ky. (Lexington Catholic)
Wells led the Bobcats with a .500 batting average in four games this past week, going 10-for-20. He also scored four runs, collected a pair of doubles, a home run and drove in three runs, while posting a slugging percentage of .750.

Wes White, Toledo
Junior, INF, Canal Winchester, Ohio (Canal Winchester)
White batted a team-high .467 (7-for-15) with three RBI in four games last week, helping Toledo win three of the contests. White also tallied a squad-best .467 on-base percentage and a .533 slugging percentage. The third-year Rocket hit safely in all four contests, posting a pair of multi-hit efforts. He opened the week with a 3-for-4 performance vs. Northwestern Ohio on Wednesday. The Canal Winchester, OH native then went 1-for-3 with one RBI against Ball State in Friday’s MAC series opener. White finished 1-for-3 with a double in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, before wrapping up the impressive week with a 2-for-5 effort and two RBI in the nightcap. White has now hit safely in his last 10 games played, batting a team-high .514 (19-for-37) during this stretch.