WMU Advances to MAC Tournament Championship vs. Ohio

Updated 5/15/2011
Story Courtesy of WMU Media Relations

AKRON, Ohio - Western Michigan crushed three home runs to defeat Central Michigan, 9-0, in five innings to advance to the championship game of the 2011 Mid-American Conference Tournament against Ohio, setting up a rematch of the semifinal between the two schools yesterday afternoon.

Michelle Bendewald opened up the scoring with a three-run shot in the top of the second. It was her third of the season and ninth of her career. Kayla Houston kick started the offense with a single down the left field line. Allie Carlson reached on a fielder's choice and Houston beat the throw at second to set the table for Bendewald.

The inning continued with Meredith Whitney ripping a double to the left center field wall on the first pitch she saw. Lexi Jager followed with a walk and Tara Buchanan followed with a base hit through the left side. Courtney Rousseau, who led off the inning with a line out to third base, came to the plate for the second time in the second and left no doubt about her second grand slam of the season, taking the second pitch deep over the left field wall. Rousseau hit her first career grand slam on April 5 against Oakland, giving her six RBIs in that game.

After the grand slam, CMU's Kari Seddon sat down the next eight batters until Houston took a 1-1 pitch over the right center field wall for third home run of the year and fourth of her career, capping the scoring for the Broncos.

Whitney threw 78 pitches, 43 for strikes, against CMU, for the third one-hitter for her in start this season. She improved to 15-13 on the season one day after working just two-third of an inning in WMU's loss to Ohio. The win puts WMU in the championship game for the first time since 2009 and the fourth time under head coach Kathy Leitke.

WMU needs to win both games against Ohio to claim its first MAC Tournament title since 2003. No team has come from the consolation bracket to win the tournament since Bowling Green accomplished the feat in 2004, taking two from Miami.