Kent State Claims MAC Baseball Regular Season Title

Updated 5/18/2013

MAC Baseball Tournament Central

MAC Baseball Tournament Bracket

 

Saturday's MAC Baseball Results
Kent State 4, Akron 1
Bowling Green 5, Buffalo 4
Central Michigan 9, Western Michigan 2
Northern Illinois 6, Ball State 4 (10 inn.)
Ohio 7, Miami 3
Toledo 6, Eastern Michigan 5
 
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
 
Kent State 4, Akron 1
AKRON, Ohio – The baseball gods still seem to be smiling down on Kent State baseball.
 
A sweep of Akron on Saturday would not have given the Flashes the regular season title as they needed Buffalo, who sat a half game ahead going into the finale, to lose on the road at Bowling Green.
 
The Bulls had a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. The Falcons tied things at four each and, just as Kent State closer Brian Clark got his second out in the bottom of the ninth in Akron, Bowling Green hit a walk-off triple to beat the Bulls, handing the regular season crown to Kent State.
 
"It's an incredible turn of events," said head coach Scott Stricklin.  "We were routing for Bowling Green, we needed them to win one game.  My hat's off to Buffalo, they fought like crazy."
 
Baseball has now won either the Mid-American Conference regular season or Tournament Championship in 13 of the last 14 years.  This regular season title is the third consecutive for Kent State and marks the seventh East Division title in the last eight years.
 
"I'm excited for our kids and excited for our seniors," Stricklin said.  "It's their third straight championship and I just couldn't be more proud of what we accomplished."
 
The Golden Flashes did their job, winning 4-1 behind a great starting pitching performance by Casey Wilson to complete the sweep of the Zips.
 
Wilson threw a no-hitter through 4.1 innings.  He totaled six innings on the day without allowing a run and just three hits for the win.  Clark pitched a perfect ninth with a strikeout to earn his tenth save of the season.
 
"He really batted and competed," said Stricklin of his senior starter, "and that's Casey's best attribute, he really competes."
 
Kent State took a 1-0 lead in the second when George Roberts led off the inning with a double and scored on a single by Alex Miklos.  They scored twice more in the next inning after Evan Campbell smacked a two-RBI base hit with bases loaded.  Their final run came on a Miklos solo homerun, his second in as many days, in the sixth.
 
The Golden Flashes now head to Avon looking for their fifth straight MAC Tournament win.  They will play the No. 8 seed Central Michigan in a 7:30pm game on Wednesday night.
 
Kent State finished the regular season winning seven straight games, including two conference series sweeps on the road and a road win over a No. 16-ranked Pittsburgh.  They head to post-season play with a 34-21 overall record and a 20-7 conference record.  The program has now posted a conference winning percentage above .500 in 23 of the last 24 seasons, putting them in a class of their own.
 
And Stricklin believes there is still room to improve, as the team continues to strive for perfection on the diamond.
 
 "We still haven't played our best baseball."
 
If that's the case, it looks like this post-season could be another wild ride.
 
Bowling Green 5, Buffalo 4
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio—Bowling Green State University’s chances looked bleak on Saturday, as it trailed 4-2 entering the eighth inning. With a loss, the Falcons would need to rely on other teams, neither of which was winning. But, the Orange and Brown would get one run in the eighth, and two runs in the ninth to pull out the come-from-behind, Senior Day, walk-off win over the University at Buffalo, 5-4.
 
After honoring the four seniors—Drew Kuns, Fred Sharp, Matt Pitzulo, and Nick Bruns—the Falcons quickly found themselves behind 4-0 after two innings of play. Buffalo, who could clinch the Mid-American Conference regular-season crown with a win or Kent State loss, had their best starter, Mike Burke, on the mound.
 
Although the Falcons did not produce any runs in the first two innings, they were able to force Burke to throw almost forty pitches. After a slow start on the mound for Jason Link, he would settle in and allow just the three earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched.
 
In the bottom of the third, the Falcons were able to break through for two runs, cutting the Bulls’ lead in half. In that third inning, Jeremy Shay delivered an RBI hit, and Jesse Rait produced an RBI sacrifice fly.
 
The Falcons’ pitchers would shut the Bulls offense down from there, as Ben Singer and Nick Bruns combined to hold the Bulls scoreless over the final 5.2 innings.
 
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth, Buffalo would turn to the bullpen and their top reliever, Ben Hartz. After a one-out single to start the inning for T.J. Losby, Patrick Lancaster would deliver a single. On Lancaster’s single, Losby would make it to third thanks to a fielding error by the UB right fielder. The next batter, Shay would hit a ball to the third baseman. The throw would come home, but Losby’s hard slide would knock the ball away from the catcher, making the game 4-3. Buffalo would walk Rait to load the bases with one out, but the Falcons would strand the bases loaded with a strikeout and a pop up.
 
In the ninth, seniors would take over. It would start with Bruns on the mound, as he did not allow the potent Buffalo offense to increase their lead.
 
Freshman Nick Glanzman would lead off the bottom of the ninth with a hit-by-pitch. Buffalo, who had turned to fifth-year closer River McWilliams for the third straight day, would retire Brandon Howard on a sacrifice bunt.
 
After the bunt, with Glanzman on second, Pitzulo, a senior, would deliver with an RBI single into the right-center field gap. Glanzman would score on the play, tying the game at four. After a strikeout, Lancaster would come up and deliver. Lancaster would hit the first good pitch he saw down the left field line. With the ball tailing away from the fielder, it would hit just inside the line and kick towards the Buffalo bullpen. Pitzulo, on his motor, would come all the way around from first to score the game-winning run. As the Falcons mobbed PItzulo and Lancaster out by third-base, the University of Toledo was in the process of defeating Eastern Michigan.
 
With those two results, the Falcons have clinched the sixth-seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, which begins Wednesday. The Falcons will play 3-seed Northern Illinois at 12:30 pm, at All Pro Freight Stadium.
 
Stay tuned to BGSUFalcons.com all week for updated MAC Tournament information, and follow @WEAREBGBaseball on Twitter for the latest information.
 
Central Michigan 9, Western Michigan 2
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Central Michigan took care of business and with a little help from around the league secured its 10th consecutive trip to the Mid-American Conference Tournament by defeating rival Western Michigan at Robert J. Bobb Stadium Saturday afternoon, 9-2. 
 
The Chippewas finished the regular season 25-30 overall and 12-15 in the MAC to earn the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament May 22-25 at All Pro-Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. CMU will take on defending champion and No. 1 seed Kent State in a rematch of last season's championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22. 
 
Toledo defeated Easter Michigan in Ypsilanti Saturday, 6-5, giving the Eagles and Chippewas identical 12-15 record in conference play. EMU was eliminated from postseason competition as the Maroon and Gold held the tiebreaker over their rival after taking two of three games earlier this season at Theunissen Stadium.
 
The tanden of brothers sophomore Nick Regnier and freshman Logan Regnier combined to go 4-for-10 with four RBI and senior Jordan Adams hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season in a contest that saw the Chippewas take control from the start. 
 
Logan Regnier led the game off by sending the second pitch he saw to the wall in right center for a lead off double and after moving to third on a sacrifie bunt by senior Tom Lally came around to score on a RBI infield single by his brother for a 1-0 CMU lead.
 
After CMU extended the lead to 2-0 on yet another RBI single by Nick Regnier that plated his younger brother in the top of the third, the Broncos (16-38, 8-19 MAC) plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to even the game, 2-2. 
 
The Chippewas quickly responded and never looked back however, as sophomore Cody Leichman and redshirt freshman Neal Jacobs hit back-to-back doubles to start for the fourth and sophomore Pat Mackenzie drove in Jacobs with a single to center field for a 4-2 lead. 
 
CMU continued its momentum in the top of the fifth by batting around for a big five-run frame that extended the lead to its final score, 9-2. 
 
Adams hit a deep solo home run over the wall in left field to start the scoring and a RBI single by freshman Dylan Goodwin, his third of the weekend, plated Leichman later in the inning. An error on the Broncos allowed MacKenzie to reach and Jacobs to score and Logan Regnier drove in MacKenzie and Goodwin in the next at bat with a single to right field to cap the inning. 
 
Senior Rick Dodridge started the contest and gave up just two runs over five innings to even his record at 4-4 on the season. Freshman Jason Gamble came on in relief to throw the final four innings, limiting Western to just one hit while striking out two to earn his first career save. 
 
Leichman went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and MacKenzie also finished with a multi-hit game with a 2-for-5 performance. 
 
Northern Illinois 6, Ball State 4 (10 inn.)
MUNCIE, Ind. – MAC West Champions! The Northern Illinois baseball team (22-32, 16-11 MAC) clinched its first ever Mid-American Conference West division championship Saturday afternoon in 10 innings at Ball Diamond as the Huskies defeated Ball State (28-23, 15-12 MAC) on Connor Schomig’s (Darien/Hinsdale South) three-run double, 6-4. NIU will begin the MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio May 22-25 at All Pro Freight Stadium. It is the Huskies highest-ever seeding in the MAC Tournament.
 
“Coming back from the season we had last year, we kind of reset things and battled all year,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey, “our seniors did a great job of leading this team and I could not be happier with them because this is something they’ll have for the rest of their lives.”
 
NIU set the tone in the first inning when Tommy Hook (Lockport/Lockport Township) earned a walk with one man down.  A single by Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo./Kearney) and a walk by Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park/Andrew) would load the bases for Micah McCulloch (Rochelle/Rochelle Township), who singled to left field to put the Huskies on top in the frame.
 
The Huskies separated themselves from the Cardinals in the fourth as Connor Duckhorn (Darien/Cowley County CC) hit a leadoff single up the middle and Nate Ruzich (Joliet/South Suburban College) doubled to score the senior from first. Brian Sisler (DeKalb/DeKalb) followed up with a single to advance the runner and a groundout by Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview/St. Laurence) plated Ruzich to put NIU up, 3-0.
 
However, Ball State responded in the bottom half of the frame as Sean Godfrey secured an infield single to lead the inning. Cody Campbell would follow up in the next at-bat with a homerun over the left field fence to put the Cardinals within one run, 3-2.
 
Danger continued to loom in the inning as BSU had only one out with runners on first and third but superior Huskie defense came through in the clutch to end the threat. Cardinal Sam Tidabeck attempted a sacrifice bunt down the first base line, but Zimmerman quickly scooped the ball into his glove and flipped the ball from his mitt to get Billy Wellman out at the plate. In poor judgment, Tidabeck did not finish running to first base and was thrown out by Klonowski as Zimmerman laid the tag on the runner to end the inning on a 3-2-1-3 double play.
Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) also prevented a run from scoring, as he threw out a runner going home from second on a single, throwing a rope to Ruzich, who blocked the plate and quickly made the tag to save another run.
 
Ball State tied it up in the bottom of the seventh inning as Elbert DeVarie led the stanza with a double, and after a series of great defensive plays by Northern Illinois to put it one out away from ending the threat, Godfrey doubled down the right field line to tie the game, 3-3.
 
 NIU stranded one runner on base in the ninth inning and stellar defense carried it through the bottom of the ninth to send it to extra innings.
 
The Huskies did not hesitate in extra innings as Zimmerman started things off with a single through the middle for his third hit of the day. McCulloch followed with another single for NIU and Duckhorn pushed the runners forward with a sacrifice bunt. Ruzich was intentionally walked to load the bases and force a play at home with Sisler at the plate. Ball State took Sisler’s fielder’s choice to get the force out at home but leave the sacks juiced with two outs.
 
Schomig, in his first at-bat of the game after entering as a substitute in the bottom of the ninth, ripped a double down the left field to put Northern Illinois up by three at the middle of the 10th, 6-3. Though the Cardinals put together two hits, including an RBI single by Campbell, Ball State was unable to overcome the deficit and could not solve Anthony Andres (Western Springs/St. Rita), who pitched 2.2 innings to win earn his fourth win of the season for the division championship.
 
Relief pitcher Kevin Sweeney (Chicago/Fenwick) stepped onto the mound for Klonowski in the sixth inning, tossing 2.0 innings with three hits surrendered, one earned run with a strike out and no walks. Klonowski pitched 5.1 innings in the start, giving up six hits, two runs, two walks and one strikeout.
 
Zimmerman had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two walks, while Schomig led all batters in the game in runs batted in at three.
 
NIU was picked to finish last in the division this year after finishing 2012 with a 15-40 overall record and a 7-20 clip in Mid-American Conference games.
 
The Huskies will begin the MAC Tournament Wednesday May 22 in Avon, Ohio when it plays No. 6 seed Bowling Green. Times are to be announced. NIU did not play the Falcons during the regular season.
 
Ohio 7, Miami 3
OXFORD, Ohio - Freshman John Adryan collected a game-high four hits to lead the Ohio University baseball team (14-39, 9-18 MAC) to a 7-3 victory over Miami University (25-28, 14-13 MAC) Saturday afternoon at McKie Field in the regular season finale.
 
Adryan's (Delran, N.J.) four hits were a season-high. He also drove in a pair RBI and scored a run. Freshman Nick Squires (Plain City, Ohio) and sophomore Jake Madsen also chipped in offensively as they tallied three and two hits, respectively.
 
As a team, Ohio outhit the Miami 12-8 as six Bobcat players collected hits.
 
Junior Sean Kennedy (Columbus, Ohio) picked up the win for the Bobcats as he went 5.0 innings, allowing just one earned run. The Ohio left-hander scattered four hits and walked just one batter. With the win, Kennedy picked up his team-best fifth victory on the year. His five wins on the year are a single-season best.
 
The Redhawks took the early lead as it scored one run in the bottom half of the first inning as they collected a pair of hits. Ohio fought right back as it took the lead in the second, plating a pair of runs on just one hit.
 
Adryan drove in the Bobcats first run of the afternoon as he singled into left centerfield which scored sophomore Tyler Wells (Lexington, Ky.) to second. Wells got on base after he was hit-by-a-pitch. Ohio then picked up its second run of the frame after junior Kyle Dean (Athens, Ohio) second on a throwing error by Miami catcher Nate Bowles.
 
Ohio struck again in the fifth thanks to an RBI double by senior Ben Otto (Menomonie, Wis.), which plated Madsen from second base. Madsen led off the inning with a single to left centerfield and would later advance to second after junior Scott White (Jacksonville, Fla.) grounded out to third.
 
The Bobcats broke the game open in the sixth as it plated three runs on three hits.
 
Adryan got things started as he singled through the left side. He then advanced to third after junior Chandler Geller (Austin, Texas) reached on a throwing error by Miami starter Charles Zubrod. Two batters later, Nate Squires singled into left field to give Ohio a 4-1 advantage. The Bobcats increased their lead to 5-1 thanks to a sacrifice fly RBI by Madsen, which plated Geller from third. Ohio's sixth run came off the bat of White as he laced an RBI double down the left field line, which scored Nate Squires from the third base.
 
Miami threatened in the bottom half of the inning as it loaded the bases, but could not come away with any runs.
 
Ohio would go on to add one more run in the ninth thanks to an RBI single by Adryan. Miami added two more runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the Bobcats' lead to 7-3, but it would get no closer as Ohio secured the win.
 
Miami starter Nathan Williams suffered the loss after he worked 4.1 innings, allowing just two earned runs.
 
Toledo 6, Eastern Michigan 5
YPSILANTI, MI – Toledo closed out its regular season with a 6-5 victory against Eastern Michigan on Saturday in Mid-American Conference action at Oestrike Stadium. With the win, the Rockets improve to 22-31 overall, 13-14 in the league.
 
UT will now be the No. 7 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and play No. 2 seed Buffalo in the opening round on Wednesday, May 22 in Avon. The first pitch between the Rockets and the Bulls will be at approximately 4:00 p.m. at All Pro Freight Stadium.
 
Freshman RHP Caleb Schillace (1-1), the fourth of five Toledo hurlers to toe the rubber in today’s regular-season finale, was credited with his first collegiate triumph. Schillace did not allow a single base runner in 2.2 innings of work.
 
Sophomore RHP Andrew Marra came on in relief of Schillace and recorded the final six outs to preserve the one-run win and pick up his team-tying best second save of the spring.
 
Offensively, freshman RF Ryan Callahan (3-for-5, 2 RBI) paced the 2012 MAC West Division champions with a team-high three hits, while junior CF Tyler Grogg (2-for-4, RS, RBI) and freshman 2B Deion Tansel (2-for-4, 3 RS) tallied two hits each. In total, eight of UT’s nine starters collected at least one hit against a trio of EMU (26-28, 12-15 MAC) pitchers.
 
The Rockets never trailed in today’s finale to win two of the three contests against their division rival. UT has now captured the weekend series versus EMU in three of the last four years.
 
Toledo opened the scoring with RBI from senior 1B Matt Delewski (1-for-5, RS, RBI) and Callahan in the first inning. The first two Rockets reached base against EMU starter Paul Schaak and both came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Delewski and a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Callahan.
 
After Eastern Michigan cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first, the Rockets pushed across a tally on a RBI groundout by senior DH Ben Hammer (1-for-4, 2 RBI) in the third to make the score 3-1.
 
The Eagles knotted the difference at 3-3 on the strength of a sacrifice fly by SS John Rubino (2-for-3, RS, RBI) and the aid of two UT errors in the fifth frame.  The home team did not collect a single hit in the at-bat, but rather benefited from the two miscues, one walk and one passed ball.
 
The score remained the same until the seventh from Toledo plated a pair of runs to capture the advantage for good. The visitors received a pair of RBI singles by Callahan and Hammer to assume a lead they would not surrender.
 
Toledo tacked on an insurance tally in the eighth inning on a two-out, run-scoring hit off the bat of Grogg.  
 
Grogg’s RBI proved to be huge as EMU countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the final score 6-5. The Eagles’ DH Lee Longo (1-for-4, RBI) and 3B Jamie Simpson (0-for-3, RBI) was each credited with RBI in the frame.
 
EMU then threatened in the ninth and had runners on second and third base with two outs, but UT’s Marra recorded a clutch punchout to close out the road triumph.  
 
Eastern Michigan’s Neil Butara (4-6) was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs (all earned) on five hits with one strikeout in 4.0 innings of relief duty.