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--DIVISION RACES TAKE SHAPE:
Two weeks of the Mid-American Conference regular season are left, and
there are still plenty of questions though both divisional leaders
remain the same. Bowling Green, at 15-4, leads the East Division by
three games over Kent State (12-7) and five and a half over Miami
(10-10), which sits in third place.
In the West, Ball State (16-2) has won its last 10 league games and has
a five-game lead over second-place Western Michigan (12-8). The
Cardinals also have a six-game lead over Central Michigan (10-6), and
last year's co-divisional champions will meet this weekend in Muncie.
The six-team MAC Tournament will take place May 16-19 at the top seed,
which is the team with the best overall conference winning percentage.
The top two teams from each division automatically qualify for the
tourney, with the final two participants having the fifth and sixth best
records, regardless of division. The two division winners will also
occupy the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the four-day tournament.
--VANBENSCHOTEN ON HOWESER LIST:
Kent State junior John VanBenschoten on Thursday was named one of 20
semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, given annually to the nation's
top college baseball player. The award is presented by the National
Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, in conjunction with the St.
Petersburg (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce. Voting on the award is done by
more than the 200-person membership of the NCBWA.
VanBenschoten leads the MAC with a .458 batting average and also paces
the conference with a school-record 21 home runs.
--MORE HONORS FOR VANBENSCHOTEN:
On Monday, Kent State's John VanBenschoten was named the MAC East
Division Player of the Week for the second time this season, and later
that day was named Co-National Hitter of the Week by Collegiate Baseball
after hitting .577 (15-for-26) with eight home runs and 16 RBIs,
including three homers in one game against Findlay. His teammate Eric
O'Brien matched VanBenschoten later in the week when the sophomore
closed out the series against Marshall on Sunday with three homers.
Tuesday (May 1), he added National Hitter of the Week honors from the
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. It marked the second
time this season that a MAC player has garnered the award from the
NCBWA. Toledo's Phil Pilewski won the award on Apr. 10.
--RECORDS FALLING AT BGSU:
A number of individual and team records have been broken so far this
year for Bowling Green, and there are a number of others that are in
line to be bettered. Individually, senior Aric Christman set the single
season record for runs scored when he crossed the plate for the 51st
time against Siena Heights last Wednesday. Christman, who broke the old
mark of 50, now has 53.
As a team, Bowling Green has smashed 76 home runs, 30 more than its
previous record. In addition, the Falcons have set team marks for total
bases (914) and RBIs (378), while the records for runs scored, total
hits and batting average are well in reach of being broken.
--SCHEURER HAS PERFECT DAY FOR CMU:
Central Michigan's Bryan Scheurer enjoyed a 5-for-5 day with two solo
home runs in the series finale on Sunday against Western Michigan.
Scheurer, who entered the day with one homer on the season, improved his
batting average to .386, which is second on the squad.
--KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE:
This season, 41 players have recorded hitting streaks of 10 games or
better, including eight players who have an active streak. The longest
streak in the MAC this year was Kent State's John VanBenschoten, who hit
safely in 22 consecutive games. Listed below are the players that
through Apr. 30 have current hitting streaks of 10 games or more:
Name, School Streak
Clarke White, UA 16
Lee Morrison, BG 15
Aric Christman, BG 12
Nick Elrod, BG 12
Tony Palazzolo, EMU 12
Tony Miller, UT 12
Matt Crowley, CMU 10
David Barkholz, BG 10
--MARSHALL'S BASH BROTHERS:
Marshall senior first baseman Jason Brooks also continues his assault
on the Thundering Herd's record book. His four home runs last week give
him 19 for the year (2nd all-time) and 35 in his career (also 2nd). He
broke the single-season RBI record (60) over the weekend and his 64 thus
far this year give him 112 for his career, which is fifth all-time.
Shortstop Jason Ricceri is right on Brooks' heels in the power
department. His 17 homers is the fourth best single-season total in
school history and he has now moved into the career top 10 with 23.
--BSU'S PAUL SHOWS CONTROL ON MOUND:
Jason Paul has shown plenty of control on the mound this year for Ball
State. The junior tossed a six-hitter in his last start, striking out
seven and not allowing a walk versus Eastern Michigan. His seven
strikeouts were one shy of the eight he fanned against Miami on Apr. 8.
In his last eight appearances which span 41.2 innings, Paul has struck
out 38 batters while surrendering only three free passes.
--TURNING INTO A DOUBLES MACHINE:
Ohio senior Ryan Kyes has become the doubles man for the Bobcats this
year. Kyes, who only had a combined 19 two-baggers in his first two
years, had 16 as a junior and has exploded for 26 so far in 2001. The
26 doubles are the second-most in league history, one shy of tying the
27 that Kent State's Steve Smetana had in 1995. Kyes, who currently
leads Division I in doubles per game (0.62), is fourth all-time in MAC
history with 61 career doubles.
--MACE, ISON SIT AT TOP OF CHARTS:
Miami's Clark Mace and Jeremy Ison both moved into the top spot of the
RedHawk record books in separate statistical categories, but did it on
the same day. Mace became the school's all-time leader in RBIs on
Friday against Ohio, and is now Miami's all-time leader in seven
different categories. In addition, Mace is also the MAC career leader
in runs scored with 212. Ison, meanwhile, became the school's career
leader in home runs when he hit his 36th.
Junior centerfielder Tony Miller has tied the Toledo record for runs
scored in a season with 57. He also is one hit away from tying the
record for most hits in a season -- Miller currently has 68. Miller
already holds the stolen base record with 27. Senior leftfielder Andy
Stetka broke the Rockets' single-season mark for walks in a season with
35. As a team, the Rockets set a mark for home runs in a season with
47, one more than the previous mark established in 1993.
--THE HITS CONTINUE FOR PALAZZOLO:
Tony Palazzolo's MAC hitting streak is still intact following Eastern
Michigan's action at Ball State. The sophomore has had a hit in every
MAC game that he has started (17) for the Eagles and is batting .391
(27-69) with 17 runs, 16 RBIs, five doubles, a home run, 17 BB and four
stolen bases. He currently has a 12-game hitting streak, batting .463
(19-for-41) over that span.
--PEDERI'S BAT LIFTS ZIPS TO WINS:
The bat of Akron's Lou Pederi helped the Zips to four wins last week.
The junior opened the week for Akron with a 2-for-5 performance against
Ohio State, which included the game-winning RBI on a single. Pederi then
went a combined 7-for-12 in the final three games with Buffalo, hitting
a pair of home runs and driving in eight runs. For the week, Pederi hit
.476 (10-for-21) with 12 RBIs and five runs scored.
--UB'S SANCHEZ EQUALS HOMER MARK:
Buffalo sophomore Bryan Sanchez hit his 10th and 11th home runs of the
season against Akron last weekend. His homer in the series finale tied
UB's single season mark, which he set last season, while his 22 career
home runs is a school mark.
--DANIELSON HAS HITS COMING IN PAIRS:
Noel Danielson had two or more hits in all four of Northern Illinois'
games last weekend against Toledo and paces the team in that category
with 20 this year. The junior hit .526 for the week and .588 versus the
Rockets, improving the yearâs average to .387.
--GRINNELL SAVES THE DAY FOR WMU:
Western Michigan newcomer Tyler Grinnell had a hand in two of the three
Bronco victories against Central Michigan, picking up saves in two
games. The junior college transfer, who appeared in 2.2 innings,
recorded five strikeouts and gave up only two hits.