MAC Announces First Baseball Players and Pitchers of the Week For The 2001 Season

Updated 2/27/2001
CLEVELAND -- The Mid-American Conference today announced the first East and West Division Players and Pitchers of the Week for the 2001 baseball season, with four different schools represented. Each week, the MAC will honor both an East and a West Division Player and Pitcher of the Week.

This week's Player of the Week from the East Division is Akron's Steve Bowers, while Ohio's Denny McGee is the Pitcher of the Week. From the West Division, Toledo's J.D. Foust is the Player of the Week, while Ball State's Bryan Bullington is the Pitcher of the Week.

East Division Player of the Week
Steve Bowers, Akron (Sr., CF, West Middlesex, Pa./West Virginia)

Akrons Bowers batted .625 (5-for-8) with three RBIs, three runs scored and three stolen bases in a pair of Zip games last weekend, helping UA to a split with Xavier. Bowers opened the season going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, then was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and three stolen bases in a 15-6 win.

Other Nominees:
Kent State's John VanBenschoten was 9-for-13 (.692) with a pair of four-hit games as the Golden Flashes opened the season 1-2. The junior plated two runs, scored two runs and also had a triple.

Marshall's Ryan Kobbe batted .333 (3-for-9) with one home run and three RBIs as the Thundering Herd took two of three games from Coastal Carolina to start the year.

Miami's Jason Knoedler was 10-for-19 (.526) in the RedHawks' first five games with two home runs, four RBIs and seven runs scored. Knoedler also stole two bases and had three multi-hit games and a pair of multi-run games.

Ohio's Andrew See was 3-for-9 (.333) with one triple and an RBI as the Bobcats defeated High Point and fell to UNC Greensboro.

East Division Pitcher of the Week
Denny McGee, Ohio (Sr., RHP, Washington, Pa./Trinity HS)

McGee opened the year for Ohio by notching a win over High Point, 2-1, with a nine-inning, 11 strikeout complete game. The senior allowed only four hits, one walk and one run, which was unearned.

Other Nominees:
Akron's Ben Shepherd picked up his first collegiate win in relief as he tossed 4.2 innings of one-hit ball. Shepherd struck out four and walked two while not allowing a run.

Kent State's John VanBenschoten pitched five innings of four-hit ball as the junior notched the Golden Flashes first win of the season over Coastal Carolina. VanBenschoten struck out three and allowed one earned run.

Marshall's Brandon Bartos closed out the Coastal Carolina series on Feb. 18 by going 5.2 innings for the win, allowing only two hits and an earned run, while fanning a pair.

Miami's Chris Leonard recorded a no decision over then-No. 14 Alabama and registered a victory over Ohio Dominican. In 13.0 innings of work, the sophomore struck out 10 -- eight in eight innings versus the Crimson Tide -- and gave up one run and 10 hits.

West Division Player of the Week
J.D. Foust, Toledo (So., SS, Norwood, Ohio/Norwood HS)

Toledo's Foust helped the Rockets take two of three games at Morehead State by hitting .533 (8-for-15) with two home runs, nine RBIs and four runs scored. In the teams second game of the twinbill with MSU, Foust was 4-for-5 with five RBIs, including a three-run home run to put the team ahead and then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. In the series finale, Foust was 3-for-5 with four RBIs, a three-run home run and an RBI double.

Other Nominees:
Ball State's Scott French hit .417 (5-for-12) with seven runs scored, three home runs and four RBIs as the Cardinals captured Austin Peay's Governors Baseball Classic. French had a pair of multi-hit and multi-RBI games, plus three multi-run contests.

Central Michigan's Tim Bullinger batted .500 (6-for-12) with three RBIs and three runs scored as the Chippewas opened the season 1-2 at Minnesota. In CMU's season-opening win, Bullinger was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Northern Illinois' Pat Kerrigan was 8-for-12 (.667) as the Huskies swept three games from Tennessee-Martin, the team's first sweep of a season series since 1996. Kerrigan also scored eight runs, drove in five runs and hit a pair of home runs.

West Division Pitcher of the Week
Bryan Bullington, Ball State (So., RHP, Madison, Ind./Madison HS)

Bullington notched his first career shutout and also tossed a career-high nine innings as the Cardinals shutout No. 25 Purdue, 7-0. The sophomore fanned eight batters in the contest, while allowing only three hits and giving up no walks. Bullington has struck out eight-plus batters in eight of his 15 collegiate starts.

Other Nominees:
Northern Illinois' Dan Badgley struck out nine batters -- one off his career high -- in seven innings of work to lead NIU to a 13-3 win over Tennessee-Martin. Badgley, a senior, allowed eight hits and three earned runs.