This Weekend in MAC Softball

Updated 4/9/2010

Friday, April 9 Saturday, April 10 Sunday, April 11
Northern Illinois at Akron, 1 p.m. (DH)
CMU at Ball State, 1 p.m. (DH)
EMU at Miami, 1 p.m. (DH)
WMU at Ohio, 1 p.m. (DH)
WMU at Akron, 2 p.m.
EMU at Ball State, 2 p.m.
Toledo at Bowling Green, 2 p.m.
Buffalo at Kent State, 2 p.m.
Northern Illinois at Ohio, 2 p.m.
CMU at Miami, 2 p.m.
WMU at Akron, 2 p.m.
EMU at Ball State, 2 p.m.
Toledo at Bowling Green, 2 p.m.
Buffalo at Kent State, 2 p.m.
Northern Illinois at Ohio, 2 p.m.
CMU at Miami, 2 p.m.

Teams Notes

Akron Game Notes
UA returns to MAC play holding a 1-1 record. Akron went 1-3 at Northern Illinois and Western Michigan in 2009 falling in both to the Huskies but rebounding for a 2-0 shutout over the Broncos to conclude the road trip. NIU enters the weekend 2-2 thus far while WMU is 1-3 in MAC competition. Maintaining strength on the mound is Akron's pitching staff which holds the fourth lowest earned run average in the Mid-American Conference at 2.61. Alex Riedeman ranks third in the league with an earned run average of 1.52. Akron leads the league at the plate posting a .297 batting average. Ninth nationally in stolen bases are the Zips who had amassed 57 (2.38 SB/G) bags prior to the week. They rank second in the league behind Ball State with the mark. Despite any home run power prior to March 17, the Zips have since belted seven home runs out of parks. Akron is led by Bauer who has three.
Ball State

Ball State Game Notes
Returning to play after a narrow 4-5 loss to IPFW Tuesday, the Ball State Cardinals (21-8) host the Central Michigan Chippewas (15-10) in a doubleheader at the BSU Softball Complex in Muncie, Ind. The Cardinals own a conference leading 1.73 earned run average. The three-player staff has posted 211 strike outs and walked only 34 batters in 194.2 innings. Ball State's ace, Elizabeth Milian, owns a conference-leading 1.11 ERA, .175 opponent batting average, 15 wins, 15 complete games and seven shutouts. In the field, Ball State leads the conference with only 19 errors and a .973 fielding percentage. A senior transfer from Arizona State, Ware is batting at a team-leading .424 clip. She also leads the team with 42 hits, 32 runs, 9 triples and a .818 slugging percentage. Jessie Ware is batting at a team-leading .424 clip . . . She also leads the team with 42 hits, 32 runs, 9 triples and a .818 slugging percentage.
Bowling Green

Bowling Green Game Notes
The Bowling Green State University softball squad will continue to host Mid-American Conference West division opponents in a pair of weekend contests with I-75 rivals, the Toledo Rockets. BGSU has tabbed an even .500 record in Mid-American Conference competition so far this season, sweeping a doubleheader against Central Michigan on Friday (April 2) and falling to Eastern Michigan in two games on Saturday (April 3) and Sunday (April 4). With a pair of wins and losses in MAC play, the Falcons are currently 6-12 overall. Of the six freshmen on the 2010 Falcon squad, three have started 18-18 games. Those three Falcons, Paige Berger, Hannah Fulk and Andrea Arney are leading the team in batting averages; Berger fronts the team with a .306 batting average, while Fulk is in second (.289) and Arney in third (.250).

Buffalo Game Notes
The University at Buffalo softball team opened the Mid-American Conference portion of their season last weekend, splitting a doubleheader with Western Michigan on Friday and splitting single games with Northern Illinois on Saturday and Sunday to finish the weekend at 10-20 (2-2 MAC). Senior pitcher Sharon Barr earned both Buffalo wins on the mound last weekend, bringing her record to 9-10 on the season. Barr finished the weekend with 10 strikeouts in 16.2 innings pitched, while maintaining a 1.62 ERA. Barr earned her 17th start on the mound, the 65th of her career, which puts her on top of UB's all-time record list for most pitching starts with the previous record being 64, set in 2005.
 Central Michigan

Central Michigan Game Notes
After splitting four games in the first weekend of Mid-American Conference play, the Central Michigan softball team travels to face a pair of preseason conference favorites this weekend. CMU leads the conference with a .292 batting average and 5.44 runs per game. The Chippewas are also second in the league with 22 home runs and 50 steals. Central has also been steady in the circle as its 2.24 staff ERA and 6.38 strikeouts per seven innings. Last Wednesday's doubleheader sweep of Detroit brought legendary head coach Margo Jonker within reach of a career milestone. Jonker is nine wins shy of becoming the 16th coach in Division I history to win 1,000 games. In 31 seasons as CMU's head coach, Jonker sports a career record of 993-590-5, a .627 winning percentage. The running game has been an integral part of the CMU offense this season. Through 25 games, the Chippewas have stolen 50 bases, already surpassing of last season's total (47). Even more impressive about the Maroon and Gold base running is that they have only been thrown out eight times, an 86 percent success rate.
 Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan Game Notes
The Eagles are 11-15 overall and 3-1 in the MAC. After a slow start to the season, they have won four of their past five games. Last weekend, they split a doubleheader with Toledo on Apr. 2, dropping the first game 6-5 before coming back with a 12-7 win in the nightcap. EMU followed with two single game wins over Bowling Green, defeating the Falcons 9-2 on Apr. 3 and 5-2 on Apr. 4. The top hitter for the Eagles is Stacie Skodinski. The junior infielder is one of the top players in the MAC and currently hits .432 with one home run and 15 RBI. Eastern Michigan has had five different pitchers make starts for it during the 2010 season, with the top one being junior Jamie Melchert. She is 4-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 14 appearances (seven starts).
Kent State

Kent State Game Notes
Kent State won 3-of-4 road games this past weekend. The Golden Flashes have gone 15-6 since March 5. During that span senior pitcher Kylie Reynolds is 10-3 with four saves and a 1.49 ERA, while averaging 1.54 strikeouts per inning. At the plate, KSU has already matched its home run total of 30 from last season. Freshman outfielder Lauren Grimes leads all MAC players with a .438 batting average, eight home runs, 42 hits and a .505 on-base percentage. Her 29 runs scored rank second in the conference, while her 18 RBI are sixth and her .729 slugging percentage is third.

Miami Game Notes
Miami has won three of its last four and six of its last nine games overall. The RedHawks are 14-15 with a 1-1 MAC record after splitting their opening series with Ball State. Daniela Torres leads the team with a .361 batting average and 13 extra-base hits including three home runs 13 RBI. Jessica Simpson is 10-8 in the circle with a 1.33 ERA and five complete game shutouts. The latest NCAA rankings were released on Apr. 4. Miami ranks ninth in the nation in triples per game at 0.38. It is also 49th in fielding percentage at .967 and 35th in earned run average at 2.04 Individually, Meghan Mawn is the 24th toughest player to strikeout in the country, fanning an average of once every 23 at-bats. Daniela Torres is tied for15th in the nation with four triples, while Sarah Billstrom and Mawn are tied for 29th with three apiece. Sophomore pitcher Jessica Simpson is 27th in the nation with a 1.33 ERA and 28th with five shutouts. Senior pitcher Meredith Linch is 26th in the country with two saves.
 Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois Game Notes
Northern Illinois (12-21, 2-2) head into this weekend looking to improve off its performance against DePaul Tuesday afternoon. While the Huskies fell, 4-2, in nine innings, they played solid defense and received solid pitching performances. Each time DePaul took the lead, NIU answered, forcing the game in extra innings. The Huskies will look to carry that performance into their games this weekend. Pitchers Monica Segura and Morgan Bittner combined to allow four runs on seven hits in nine innings. The two were aided by some outstanding plays in the field by the NIU defense to keep the Huskies in the game. NIU currently sits fourth in the MAC West, but is one of three teams with a .500 record in conference play. Akron and Ohio have identical 1-1 conference marks, however the Zips sit third in the MAC East by virtue of their 11-13 overall record, while the Bobcats are sixth in the division with 6-21 mark this season.

Ohio Game Notes
Ohio is coming off its MAC opener last weekend, in which it split with Akron. After the middle innings cost Ohio in a 6-2 setback Saturday, the Green and White returned the favor with a solid 6-2 win Sunday afternoon. Senior Shalene Petrich (Chehalis, Wash.) caused the Zips some headaches, finishing the series a combined 5-of-7 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Melissa Bonner (Kings Mills, Ohio) was strong in the circle against Akron, allowing one earned run with no walks and five strikeouts in nine innings of work. The `Cats hit an impressive .321 as a team last week while raising their season average 11 points overall. Three players are hitting .300 or better on the season, led by Petrich's .352 average. The senior has hit safely in seven of her last eight at bats. Junior Emily Wethington (New Palestine, Ind.) hit an impressive .636 (7-of-11) with three extra-base hits and 1.091 slugging percentage last week to raise her season average to .310. She is currently tied with classmate Sara Clark (Ontario, Calif.) for the team lead in homers with four. Jillian Van Wagnen rounds out the three at a .308 clip to go with a team-leading 10 stolen bases, tied for eighth in the conference.

Toledo Game Notes
Toledo is also seeking to snap its three-game losing streak and record its first victory over Bowling Green since March 27, 2005, a nine-game skid. In MAC action last weekend, the Rockets defeated Eastern Michigan 6-5 in the first half of a doubleheader before falling 12-7 in game two. Jillian Spink and Kate Ricchio led the offense in game one, as each drove in three runs and had multi-hit efforts. After the Eagles knotted the score at five in the seventh, Spink delivered a game-winning single into center to score Sam Toy and lift UT to the victory. The Rockets offense has tallied the third-most runs in the MAC (129), and the squad ranks fifth with a .254 batting average. Erinn Wright ranks ninth with her .349 batting average, and Spink is second with her 23 RBI. On the mound, Hannah Rockhold sits fourth in the league with her 116.2 innings pitched. Her 26 appearances are third-most in the MAC, and her 60 strikeouts are good for seventh.
 Western Michigan

Western Michigan Game Notes
WMU enters the weekend with a 6-14 mark and a 1-3 start to league play after splitting with Buffalo and dropping two to Kent State last weekend. Sophomore third baseman Gracie Barstad leads the Broncos with a .333 average and a team-high 14 RBI to go with an on base percentage of .441. Junior Lexi Jager, a First Team All-MAC performer a season ago, is hitting .313 with a team-leading three homers. Meredith Whitney leads the team with three wins in the circle. Head coach Kathy Leitke is in her ninth season at the helm of WMU. The Broncos have hit seven home runs as a team so far in 2010. Leading the way for the Broncos is Lexi Jager with three, followed by Gracie Barstad with two. Michelle Bendewald and Courtney Rousseau have also recorded home runs this season. WMU has been missing the long ball as of late. The Broncos' last home run came on March 18 against Notre Dame.