Let The Season Begin: MAC Baseball Weekend Preview

Updated 2/15/2013

Akron Zips (@ZipsBB)
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The University of Akron baseball team will head to Atlanta to open the 2013 regular season against No. 21 Georgia Tech with a three game series set to begin at 4 p.m., on Friday. The Akron baseball program has never faced Georgia Tech prior to this season. However, head coach Rick Rembielak is quite familiar with the Georgia Tech baseball program, as he was volunteer assistant coach with Georgia Tech in 2011. Head coach Rembielak comes into this season with a career collegiate coaching record of 530-431-1 (.551) over 17 years a Division I head coach.

UA baseball was voted to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference East Division earlier this week.  The 2013 Zips' roster returns 17 players from last year's squad, and welcomes 12 incoming freshman and two junior college transfers. 
 
The 2012 Georgia Tech squad went 38-26, which was good enough to participate in the NCAA Regional. Georgia Tech is led by head coach Danny Hall, his 20th season at the helm of Georgia Tech baseball.
 

Ball State Cardinals (@BallStBaseball)
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The Cardinals will open the 2013 season with a three game series at Middle Tennessee Friday through Sunday.  The Cardinals managed a 14-36 overall record in 2012.

Sean Godfrey, a junior outfield, led Ball State with a .328 batting average as he posted 43 hits in 131 at-bats in 2012. He was second on the team with 24 runs scored while driving in 18 runs, Godfrey led the team with 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts. He posted a team-high 10 doubles while also hitting a home run and a triple. Godfrey was second on the team with a .443 slugging percentage. He tallied eight multiple-hit games and three multiple-RBI games last season.

The Blue Raiders are under the direction of first year head coach Jim McGuire (Cumberland '85). Middle Tennessee posted a 31-28 overall record in 2012 and a 14-16 mark in the Sun Belt Conference. Middle Tennessee returns 30 letterwinners, including six returning starters and 14 returning pitchers.

Bowling Green Falcons (@WeAreBGBaseball)
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The Bowling Green State University baseball team takes to the road to begin the 2013 season at Western Kentucky University on Friday afternoon. The three-game set with the Hilltoppers will mark the beginning of a season-long 14 game road trip for the Falcons. The Falcons finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 20-33. The Falcons return 21 letter winners from the 2012 roster, including 10 returning starters.

The Falcons return a starter at all nine positions from the 2012 squad, putting them amongst the most experienced teams in the country. The Falcons also return six of their top eight pitchers.

Western Kentucky comes off a season in which they went 25-33, finishing eighth in the Sun Belt. The Hilltoppers return 17 letterwinners from last season, including 10 starters. 

Buffalo Bulls (@UBBaseball)
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The 2013 UB baseball season will see its first pitch Friday afternoon, as the Bulls head south for three games at North Carolina A&T. The two teams will play a Friday doubleheader at 2 pm, followed by a single game on either Saturday or Sunday.After losing just two starters from a team that reached the MAC tournament for the first time in program history and making the semifinals, the Buffalo Bulls baseball team is motivated to take the next step. 

The Bulls return a large group as well, including All-Mid-American Conference honorees Matt Pollock (first team) and Jason Kanzler (second team). This season is all about the senior class, which consists of Pollock, Kanzler, Alex Baldock, and Ryan Tulloch. Though they come into their final season without former teammate and friend Tom Murphy - who is now in the Colorado Rockies organization - the seasoned group will spearhead one of the most anticipated seasons in the program's modern era.
 
The Aggies are led by second-year head coach Joel Sanchez, who led the Aggies to a 20-36 overall finish and a 12-12 mark for third place in the MEAC Southern Division in 2012.  A well-balanced team, A&T return 20 players from a squad that finished second in the conference in team batting average and fourth in team ERA, and also had four players named to the All-MEAC teams last season.

Central Michigan Chippewas (@CMUBaseball)
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Despite returning 15 letter winners, the Chippewas will have to replace a large chunk of its’ offensive production from a season ago. CMU returns just 33 percent of its run scored (129 of 386), 34 percent of its hits (206 of 605), 27 percent of its home runs (11 of 40) and 27 percent of its RBI (91 of 341). CMU’s roster features 22 players who will be looking to make their Maroon and Gold debut. The roster features 13 true freshman, four redshirt freshman and five junior college transfers.
 

The MAC preseason coaches’ poll was released Tuesday with the Maroon and Gold earning 65 votes as the preseason favorite in the West Division. The Chippewas finished second in the MAC West last season with a 17-10 record, but advanced to the MAC Tournament Championship game where they fell to Kent State, 3-1. 

Eastern Michigan Eagles (@EMU_Baseball)
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The Eastern Michigan University baseball team kicks off its 64th season of competition with a three-game set against the Fighting Camels of Campbell University Friday-Saturday, Feb. 15-16, in Buies Creek, N.C. Friday's game is slated for 3 p.m. while the two games Saturday begin at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Twenty letterwinners return from a year ago including six position players and 11 pitchers. The Green and White lost nine players from a season ago including four position players and a pair of pitchers.

The departure of Brent Ohrman in centerfield leaves a substantial void in terms of athletic ability and leadership prowess in the EMU locker room. Besides serving as team captain last year, Ohrman turned in his second-consecutive 20 stolen base season, led the team with a .344 batting average and Brent Ohrman finished his stellar collegiate career third all-time in at-bats (772), fourth in hits (234), eight in runs scored (149) and 12th in stolen bases (53).

Kent State Golden Flashes (@FlashesBaseball)
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Fourth consecutive Mid-American Conference title. First NCAA Super Regional. First College World Series. Defeated the number one team in the nation. Ranked sixth in the nation. Two All-Americans. One Freshman All-American. Coach of the Year. Assistant Coach of the Year. Most wins in program history. What a year 2012 was for Kent State baseball. The season leads off with four games in Wilmington, N.C., Feb. 15-17, with two games against UNC-Wilmington and two against Virginia Tech.

Kent State loses two big starting pitchers in All-American David Starn, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and fellow draftee Ryan Bores.  However, righty ace Tyler Skulina returns to lead the rotation after a dominant sophomore season.  Skulina has been labeled a pre-season All-American by numerous publications for 2013 and was even ranked as the No. 78 player in the country by College Baseball Daily.

Pre-Season All-American and reigning MAC Player of the Year George Roberts will remain at first base and continue to produce from the middle of the lineup. 
 
Miami RedHawks
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Miami Baseball opens its 2013 season this weekend with the first of two straight trips to Greenville, S.C. for the First Pitch Invitational. The RedHawks face Northwestern, Michigan State and Furman in single games Friday to Sunday.
 
The RedHawks posted a 30-29 overall record in 2012, earning a No. 7 seed for the MAC Tournament. They won their opening two contests before falling short of a second straight championship game appearance.

Miami returns 15 letterwinners, including 2012 Freshman All-America selection Matt Honchel. The Harrodsburg, Ky., native batted .395 in his initial collegiate campaign, earning All-Midwest Region, first-team All-MAC and MAC Freshman of the Year honors.
 
Northern Illinois Huskies (@NIU_Baseball)
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The Huskies are opening their 103rd season this weekend in Lubbock, Texas to take on host Texas Tech, BYU and Northern Colorado in the annual Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic. This is the third-consecutive season NIU has played down at TTU.

Head Coach Ed Mathey begins his 11th season as skipper of Northern Illinois and 20th overall. Mathey enters with a 255-301-1 mark at NIU and a 460-472-3 career mark.

Senior Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) enters the season with 64 stolen bases in his career, only seven shy of tying Alvin Maynard’s mark of 71 set in 1979-1980. Wells has stolen at least 25 bases in the last two seasons, robbing 27 in 2011. He was named CollegeBaseballInsider.com’s Top-Baserunner in the MAC in the 2013 preview. Wells finished 2012 ranked 43rd in the country and first in the MAC with 25 steals.

Ohio Bobcats (@Ohio_Baseball)
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Ohio opens its 2013 schedule on Saturday against Valparaiso and Belmont, returns six starters from last year's squad that finished 2012 with a 28-29 overall record and placed second in the MAC East.
 
Among the returnees, Ohio welcomes back Jake Madsen, Tyler Wells and Cody Gaertner, all of whom batted over .300 a year ago. Wells and Gaertner, along with teammate Brett Barber, each received Preseason All-Conference honors by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
 
The Bobcats are coached by first-year bench boss Rob Smith, who spent the previous six years at Creighton. During his six years in Omaha, Smith helped direct the Bluejays to three NCAA appearances.

Toledo Rockets (@ToledoBaseball)
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Toledo will lace up the spikes for the first time in 2013 with four games at the Ron Fraser Classic on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 15-17 in Cary, NC. UT will play LaSalle on Friday at 12:30 p.m., Albany and Villanova on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Temple on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.The Rockets have won their season opener in two of the last three seasons and are 5-4 (.556) overall in openers under 10th-year head coach Cory Mee.

UT returns 20 letterwinners from last year's squad that captured the program's first division crown in 88 years and advanced to the MAC Tournament for a school-record fourth consecutive season.Toledo also registered its ninth 30-win season in school history in 2012, tied for sixth most in school history and its second under coach Mee. UT's 19-8 (.704) MAC record equaled its best mark since the conference went to a three-game series prior to the 2004 campaign.
 
The Midnight Blue & Gold has been picked to finish second in the MAC West Division in 2013 in a tally of the league's head coaches for a fourth-consecutive season, trailing only Central Michigan in the voting. Toledo also received a single vote to capture the MAC Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, OH.

Western Michigan Broncos (@WMUBaseball)
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The Western Michigan baseball team kicks off its 2013 campaign this weekend, traveling to sunny Malibu, Calif., for a four-game series against Pepperdine, Feb. 15-17. Friday's game one begins at 5 p.m. ET, followed by a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and game four Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Broncos return 14 lettermen, six position players, 10 pitchers (including two of three from weekend conference rotation) and welcome 10 newcomers. WMU posted a 26-29 record last year, going 14-12 in the Mid-American Conference. WMU finished third in the MAC West and was the No. 5 seed overall in the conference tournament.

The Waves are ranked No. 40 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and are receiving votes in the USA Today and NCBWA polls.Pepperdine had a 36-23 record last year, going 23-11 at home and 16-8 in the West Coast Conference, winning the WCC regular season title. The Waves defeated Michigan State, 6-2, in the NCAA Regional and also posted a regional win over Fresno State before bowing out with losses to Stanford.