Story Courtesy of WMU Media Relations
AKRON, Ohio - Western Michigan out-dueled Kent State in the first round of the 2011 Mid-American Conference Tournament, defeating the Golden Flashes, 1-0, to advance to the second round where fourth-seeded Ball State awaits. It was the sixth time since 1997 that a MAC Tournament game between these two teams was decided by one run.
Meredith Whitney was on her game throughout the seven innings, allowing just one hit en route to her 13th win of the season. The junior First Team All-MAC selection threw 144 pitches, 91 for strikes and did not give up that hit until the top of the sixth inning when Shannon Laughlin laced a double to left center field.
The Broncos, who scattered four hits throughout the game scratched their lone run across the plate in the bottom of the fifth on Lexi Jager's sacrifice fly to score Michelle Bendewald who led off the frame with a base hit through the left sided and advanced to third on a fielding error by left fielder Holly Finchum.
2011 MAC Player of the Year Gracie Barstad was the lone Bronco to collect multiple hits against the Golden Flashes with a pair of base hits up the middle, one in the first and another in the sixth. Bendewald and Jager accounted for WMU's other two hits.
Kent State's biggest threat came in the third and fourth innings when the Flashes stranded a pair of base runners each time. In the fourth, KSU had a pair of base runners reach without a hit or base on balls as Beth Cinadr struck out but reached base on a passed ball and Abbey Ledford reached on a fielding error by Christina Pigozzi at shortstop.
The Broncos will face fourth-seeded Ball State on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Firestone Stadium after the Cardinals outlasted Eastern Michigan, 2-1, in eight innings prior to the start of Western Michigan's game against Kent State. WMU and BSU split their season series this past weekend with the Broncos taking the opener, 11-10.