Saturday's MAC Softball Results

Updated 5/8/2011

Saturday's MAC Softball Results
Western Michigan 5, Miami 2
Central Michigan 2, Buffalo 0
Northern Illinois 13, Ball State 5
Kent State 4, Eastern Michigan 2
Ohio 8, Toledo 0
Bowling Green 3, Akron 2

Western Michigan 5, Miami 2
OXFORD, Ohio - The Western Michigan softball team, sparked by Kayla Houston's three-RBI double in the top of the third, claimed a 5-2 win at Miami and in the process captured its fourth regular season Mid-American Conference championship and first since the 2006 season.

"These kids made a major statement early in the season to make a mental change to our game. I really believe the Missouri Tournament was our turning point. Everyone got on board as a unit and you don't win championships unless you play as a unit," said head coach Kathy Leitke via telephone after the win. The Broncos have claimed three of their four regular season titles under Leitke.

"We play well when we focus on our game and that was our approach this weekend. The driving force the past few weeks as been to stay with fundamentals You have to play the game right. You can't give second chances on defense."

WMU scored the first five runs of the game against Miami's Jessica Simpson, one day removed from throwing the first no-hitter of her career. Courtney Rousseau, who was the only Bronco to register two hits on the day (2-for-3), registered a one-out base hit to right field. She scored when Houston reached on a fielding error by the shortstop.

The Broncos' big inning came in the third. Meredith Whitney, who evened her record in the circle (12-12) with the victory, led off the third with an infield single. Lexi Jager followed with a base hit to the pitcher. Tara Buchanan reached on a fielder's choice when the Red Hawk defense opted to throw out the lead runner, Whitney, at third base. Gracie Barstad registered a hit to advance Jager and Buchanan to second and third, respectively.

Courtney Burnett pinch ran for Buchanan and scored on Rousseau's base hit through the left side. Houston did her homework on Simpson, knowing she threw first pitch fast balls. She saw what she liked and doubled to left field, clearing the bases.

"It felt good to hit the way we did today," commented Houston. We couldn't spark anything against her in the 2009 title game and getting hits off her today gave us confidence throughout the game."

Miami's only runs came off the bat of Daniella Torres who hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third. Whitney was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, allowing a triple in the third and then not another hit until the bottom of the seventh, while striking out eight Red Hawks.

We will enjoy this for about an hour. This is our first goal but not our last goal. Get right back tomorrow. We know Miami is in the tournament and to keep that in mind. Any team can win this tournament. We want to continue this climb, this is not the top of the mountain for us.

The Broncos have now registered at least 20 wins in a season for the ninth time under Leitke and the 27th time in program history. They will close out the regular season against Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Central Michigan 2, Buffalo 0
MOUNT PLEASANT - Senior Kari Seddon allowed just two hits on Saturday and drove in a run to propel Central Michigan to a 2-0 win over Buffalo in Mid-American Conference play.

Seddon gave up a single on a ball lost in the sun in the top of the first and a double in the top of the seventh, but held the Bulls (11-35, 6-13 MAC) hitless through five innings in between.

The Chippewas (29-18, 13-8 MAC) got on the board in the bottom of the third thanks to the Merchant sisters and a little help from the sun. Macy Merchant hit a high fly ball that the UB centerfielder was unable to locate, resulting in a double. Two batter later, Brittini Merchant singled to left field, scoring her younger sister for a 1-0 CMU lead.

UB nearly tied the game back up in the bottom half, as back-to-back errors by Brittini Merchant allowed runners to reach base and later advance to second and third, but Seddon was able to induce back-to-back groundouts to end the threat.

Seddon helped herself in earning her 44th career win at the plate in the bottom of the sixth, driving in pinch-runner Jamey Braxton from second.

After a strikeout to start the top of the seventh, Buffalo's Alex Berjarno doubled to left field, but once again Seddon was able to induce two groundouts to end the game.

The senior gave up just the two hits, while striking out three to earn her 12th win of the season in the circle. She also finished 1-for-2 with a RBI.

The Chippewas conclude the regular season on Sunday with the series finale against the Bulls, as they look to improve on their seeding for the upcoming MAC Tournament in Akron, Ohio next week. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.

Northern Illinois 13, Ball State 5
MUNCIE, Ind. - The Northern University softball team scored a 13-5 victory over Mid-American Conference foe Ball State Saturday afternoon at the BSU Softball Complex.

After falling behind, 4-1, after three innings, NIU (25-25, 12-7) tied the game with one swing in the top of the fourth. Junior Krista Matsui (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) blasted the second home run of her career, a three-run shot, over the left field fence, to tie the game and key the Huskie comeback.

Northern Illinois went on to score nine runs in the top of the fifth to take a 13-4 lead. Andrea Colosimo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) and Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) had two RBI hits in the inning, while Matsui, Adriana Sanchez (San Fernando, Calif./Alemany), Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln), Jennifer Barnett and Zoe Sinner (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) all drove in a run a piece during the nine run inning.

"It all started with Krista's three-run homer to tie the game," said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard. "The offense kept it going from there."

The Huskie offense out-hit the Cardinals (33-21, 13-7) 12-4 on the afternoon. Matsui went 1-for-1 on the day with four runs batted in. Including her three run homer in the fourth, she also tallied a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Tofft finished with a game-high three hits with two RBIs and two runs scored. Colosimo racked up two RBI's on her pinch-hit single in the fifth.

Gremillion and Tofft combined to shutdown the Ball State offense. Gremillion improved to 8-4 on the year after allowing five runs on four hits in four-and-two-thirds innings. Tofft contributed a third of an inning in the victory.

"Steph and Nicole combined to shut them [Ball State] down for the most part and the defense played big behind them," Chouinard said.

The Huskies conclude their seven-game road trip and series with Ball State tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. Central Time.

Kent State 4, Eastern Michigan 2
YPSILANTI, Mich. - With its back to the wall to start the day, Kent State used three home runs and strong pitching in a 4-2 victory over Eastern Michigan Saturday. Paired with an Akron loss on Saturday, the Golden Flashes (19-28, 9-9 MAC) clinched a spot in next week's Mid-American Conference Championships for the eighth consecutive season.
"I was really proud of the way we played today," Head Coach Karen Linder said "After the way things played out yesterday, today became a pressure situation and we responded to the challenge."
A pair of two-out hits and a walk gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the first. Two swings of the bat turned the tide in the top of the second. Beth Cinadr led off the inning with a home run to center field and Abbey Ledford followed with full count blast to left field. Ledford's homer came with a bit of luck as it ricocheted off the outfielder's glove and over the fence.
'Beth's homer really kickstarted everything," Linder said. "And when Abbey made it back-to-back it felt like karma was on our side today."
KSU's defense ended EMU threats in the third and fourth innings as catcher Jess Blanton threw out a runner attempting to steal in the fourth and Jess Carmichael turned a 5-3 double play to end the third.
"We came out with a focus today," Linder said. "We took control offensively and defensively and maintained it throughout the day."
Carmichael then extended the lead to 4-1 with a two-out, two-run homer to right field. Holly Finchum led off the fifth with a walk.
"Jess was just trying to make contact on a hit and run," Linder said of the home run. "It was a high outside pitch and she just drove it the other way
Eastern Michigan loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but relief pitcher Lauren McNeil held the Eagles to just one run, forcing a ground out and a pop out to end the inning.
EMU refused to go away quietly as Lauren Delapaz singled up the middle to start the bottom of the seventh. Making her MAC debut at shortstop, Alex Marcantonio fielded two consecutive outs and McNeil ended the game with a strikeout.
"Alex made some good plays today," Linder said.
Starting pitcher Danielle Abernathy tossed 5.1 innings for the victory to improve to 11-9. McNeil earned the save, going 1.2 innings without allowing a run. Cinadr and Ledford each went 2-for-3.
"Danielle pitched really well and Lauren did a great job," Linder said. "We put all four phases of the game together today."
Kent State will close out its regular season with a rematch against Eastern Michigan Sunday at 1 p.m.

Ohio 8, Toledo 0
TOLEDO, Ohio - Behind a two-hit shutout from senior pitcher Emily Wethington (New Palestine, Ind.) the Ohio softball team defeated Toledo 8-0 in five innings on Saturday in a Mid-American Conference (MAC) game at Scott Park. Offensively, sophomore Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.) was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and a home run, while senior Melissa Bonner (Kings Mills, Ohio) had two hits.

Bonner and senior Paige Kemezis (Hackensack, N.J.) each scored two runs in the game, while Wethington went 1-for-2 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. The Bobcats scored all eight of their runs in the last two innings of the game.

After a scoreless game through three innings, Ohio (22-21, 11-8 MAC) got a two-run single from Gellerman that scored Kemezis and Bonner. The third run of the frame came on a bases loaded walk to junior Jillian Van Wagnen (Lorain, Ohio) which plated classmate Brooke Morgart (Wayne, Ohio).

The Bobcats tacked on five runs in the fifth, a trio of extra base hits accounted for the four of the five runs. Bonner tripled with Kemezis on first, Gellerman hit a two-run home run and freshman Alexandria Basquez (Elk Grove, Calif.) doubled to right center.

With the win, Ohio assured itself a winning percentage of greater than .500 in the MAC and a berth in the upcoming conference tournament from May 11-14. The shutout was Ohio's fifth of the season.

Ohio and Toledo (8-42, 3-17 MAC) will conclude a two-game set and each of their regular seasons on Sunday, May 8. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.

Bowling Green 3, Akron 2
Bowling Green, Ohio - Sophomore second baseman Andrea Arney hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Bowling Green softball team won for the fourth time in five games, defeating Akron 3-2 Saturday to spoil the Zips' chances at making the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Since starting conference play at just 1-14, the Falcons have gone 4-1 including a sweep over one of the MAC favorites in Ball State. All four of the team's wins during that stretch have come in walk-off variety, with the Falcons beating Ball State in back-to-back extra inning games before sophomore Paige Berger hit a walk-off three-run homer to beat Ohio Friday. Arney's clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh against Akron capped a comeback as the Falcons trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

For Akron's part, the Zips entered the game with eight MAC wins, tied with Kent State for the eighth-most wins in league play. Only the top eight teams advance to the MAC Tournament. The heart-breaking loss for Akron, combined with a Kent State win, eliminates the Zips from the postseason event.

Zada Lines pitched her second complete game victory in as many days, allowing just one earned run over seven innings. Akron had seven hits off of Lines, but the Zips had no walks and struck out four times. She improved to 7-8 on the year.

Bowling Green jumped on top in the bottom of the first as Hannah Fulk singled up the middle for the first of her game-high three hits. She moved to second on Rachel Proehl's ground out. Berger had an infield single that did not move up Fulk and Arney reached on a fielder's choice when Akron tried to get Fulk out at third but was late on the throw. Katie Yoho followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Akron picked up an unearned run in the top of the second and took the lead on a Sarah Stromack sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth. The game remained 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth.

Yoho reached on a one-out error and moved to second on Missy Bowman's single down the left field line. Yoho then used a perfectly timed delay steal to reach third and Erika Stratton singled up the middle to drive in the tie run.

In the bottom of the seventh, Fulk opened the frame with a base hit to the right centerfield gap. She advanced to second on Proehl's groundout and Berger reached on a fielder's choice in which Akron went for the out at third and was unable to get a sliding Fulk out. With Arney at the plate, Bowling Green dialed up a squeeze play but she was unable to get down the bunt and Fulk was caught in a rundown. She was tagged out but Berger was able to move all the way up to third during the game of pepper. Arney made up for the miscue by ripping a 2-1 pitch through the middle to plate Berger.

Bowling Green outhit Akron 9-7 but Fulk was the only player on either team with more than one hit, going 3-for-4. All nine of the Falcons' hits were singles.

Akron falls to 24-23 overall and 8-12 in MAC play. Bowling Green improves to 11-32 overall and 5-15 in conference action. The Falcons will honor six seniors Sunday as the two teams meet again for Senior Day beginning at 1 p.m. That contest will conclude the 2011 season for Bowling Green.