MAC East Division Baseball Player of the Week
David Lyon, Kent State,
Sr., C, Emporium, Pa. (Cameron County)
Lyon helped Kent State to a 3-0 Mid-American Conference opening series sweep of West Division foe Northern Illinois last weekend (March 23-25), batting a team-best .500 with a team-high five hits -- including a double and a home run -- to go along with three RBIs and three runs scored. Lyon belted his second round tripper of the season and 16th of his career with a two-run shot over the right field wall in the third inning to help power the Golden Flashes (11-10, 3-0 MAC) to a 6-1 win Saturday (March 24) to clinch the series win. Kent State finished the weekend holding an early lead in the race for the MAC East Division crown thanks to the sweep of the Huskies. The Flashes completed their first conference sweep since a 2-0 series win at Bowling Green (May 13-14, 2011) last season.
MAC East Division Baseball Pitcher of the Week
Ryan Bores, Kent State
Jr., RHP, Strongsville, Ohio (Strongsville/Cuyahoga Community College)
Bores displayed the command that made him a 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft pick, striking out a career-high nine over a career-long eight innings and retiring 14 of the final 15 batters he faced to help the Kent State baseball team down interdivision foe Northern Illinois, 6-1, and win the Mid-American Conference weekend series last Saturday (March 24) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Making his debut in front of the Blue & Gold faithful after transferring to Kent State by way of Cuyahoga Community College, Bores improved to 4-2 on the season and increased his season strikeout total to 23 against just eight walks. He did not issue a free pass to the Huskies.
MAC West Division Baseball Player of the Week
Sam Russell, Central Michigan
Senior, LF, Grandville, Mich. (Grandville)
Russell helped the Chippewas go 3-1 on the week, including taking their season-opening series over Buffalo, two games to one. Russell hit .417 (7-for-17) with five runs scored, three doubles, eight RBI and a slugging percentage of .588. He came had at least two RBI's in three of the Chippewas' four games, including three in their series-clinching victory over Buffalo Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, Russell hit a career-high three doubles ate the plate, bringing his total to a team leading six on the season.
MAC West Division Baseball Pitcher of the Week
Zach Cooper, Central Michigan
Senior, RHP, Hartland, Mich. (Hartland)
Cooper shut down Buffalo's high-powered offense Friday, striking out 11 Bulls and allowing just two runs – one earned – over 8.0 innings of work. The righty struck out two batters each in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings Friday, moving him into a tie for 10th place all-time in CMU history with 213 career strikeouts. In earning his first win of the season, Cooper held UB to its lowest scoring output of the season with their two runs, nearly seven and a half below their season average.
Andrew Brown, Akron
RHP, Sr., Painesville, Ohio (Riverside)
Brown threw his sixth career complete game and second career solo shutout on Friday, blanking Ball State 4-0. He allowed just four hits and struck out seven, while walking just one. Brown cruised from start to finish, needing just 110 pitches and allowing just two runners past first and none past second. Brown moved past Akron great Mike Birkbeck for eighth on the Akron career strikeouts list in the win. The senior righty has now K'ed 213 batters in his career.
Tyler Begun, Akron
SS, So., Mayfield Village, Ohio (Mayfield)
Begun continued his excellent play, leading Akron to a midweek split at West Virginia and a series win over Ball State. The sophomore shortstop batted .500 for the week, scored five times and drove in five runs. He collected one double, one triple, and one home run for a slugging percentage of .875. He also walked twice and was plunked four times for an on-base percentage of .636. Begun went 4-for-5 with a double and a home run in Tuesday's doubleheader at West Virginia. Begun then batted 4-for-11 in the series with Ball State. Begun has hit safely in seven straight and 17-of-18.
Brian Bien, Bowling Green
Freshman, Infielder, Cincinnati, Ohio (Roger Bacon)
Bien went 5-11 on the week, driving in three runs and scoring one. In a Saturday 4-3 loss to Western Michigan, Bien drove in all three Falcon runs, as he went 2-for-3 in the game. He also went 2-for-3 in the second game of the doubleheader. On Sunday, Bien went 1-2 with a walk.
Andrew Lacinak, Bowling Green
Freshman, LHP, Reading, Ohio (Reading)
In his Sunday start, Lacinak turned in his best performance of the season, going 6.1 innings on the day. Lacinak allowed just one run, which was unearned. He only allowed four hits in his outing, while striking out three.
Mike Burke, Buffalo
Sophomore, SS/RHP, Cleveland, OH (St. Ignatius)
Burke was the team's workhorse in its opening weekend of MAC game, starting all three games while pitching twice in relief. The sophomore batted .615 (8-13) with two doubles and five RBI. In the team's 11-10 win over Central Michigan on Saturday, Burke was a perfect 4-4 with a double and a pair of runs batted in. After the strong weekend against the Chips, Burke now has four straight multi-hit games and is batting .365 this season.
Brent Ohrman, Eastern Michigan
IF/OF - Sr. Adrian, Mich. (Adrian)
Ohrman was as good offensively as he was defensively in this weekend's 2-1 series victory over Miami. Typically the everyday outfielder, Ohrman played third base against the RedHawks and proved to be a stabilizing force in the EMU infield, making several critical defensive plays while not committing an error. On Saturday, he notched the game-winning two-RBI double in a 3-1 victory to earn the Eagles their first MAC win of the year. He recorded a stolen base in the final two games to give him 10 on the year and six in his last seven contests. His career total for swiped bags now stands at 42 to put him 13th all-time on the EMU stolen base list.
Neil Butara, Eastern Michigan
SP - Jr. - Euclid, Ohio (St. Ignatius)
Butara (2-1) was the driving force behind EMU's 3-1 victory over Miami Saturday in game two of the weekend series. The Euclid, Ohio native picked up his second straight win while tossing 7.1 innings of one-run baseball on 110 pitches. He also struck out four batters to earn a share of the team-lead in strikeouts (20). His ERA improved to an impressive 1.52 with four earned runs in 23.2 innings of work this season. Opponents are hitting just .241 against him.
Matt Honchel, Miami
Fr., OF, Harrodsburg, Ky.
Led Miami with a .500 average for the week, gaining nine singles in 18 at-bats... scored three runs... walked twice to increase his on-base percentage to .500... struck out only once... was successful on one of his two stolen base attempts... hit safely in all five games this week... had multiple hits three times, running his team high total in the category to 11 (8 games with two, 3 with three)... was three-for-four in the series opener against Eastern Michigan... had two hits against Xavier on Tuesday and EMU on Saturday... was perfect in 11 fielding chances.
Mac Thoreson, Miami
Jr., RHP, Knoxville, Tenn.
Earned a 9-1 victory in Friday's conference opener at Eastern Michigan, his third straight win after two losses and a no-decision... allowed just one run and seven hits in 7.2 innings pitched... all of the hits allowed were singles... struck out three, while walking four... has lowered his ERA from a high of 15.43 after three starts to 5.86... his ERA for the last three starts is 1.14 (3 ER in 23.2 IP).
Jordan Huffman, Northern Illinois
Junior, 2B, Sergaent Bluff, Iowa (Sergaent Bluff (North Iowa Area CC)
Huffman had a big weekend for the Huskies, batting 5-for-13 (.385) on the weekend that included a 3-for-4 performance Sunday against the defending MAC Champion Kent State. In the Sunday matinee he also added a double, a run and the game-tying RBI in the top of the seventh inning, 3-3. Saturday against the Golden Flashes he was 2-for-4 at the plate with one run. Defensively he record five assists, aiding in five double plays and 13 putouts, including eight on Sunday.
Taylor Nawrocki, Northern Illinois
Junior, P, Fairmont, Minn. (Granada-Huntley-East Chain (North Iowa Area CC)
Nawrocki had another impressive starting pitching performance for the Huskies Saturday against 2011's NCAA Regional finalist Kent State. Nawrocki was credited with the loss but he struck out an NIU career-high of seven and only surrendered five hits. He only walked two batters in the contest.
Jensen Painter, Ohio
Senior , OF, Willshire, Ohio (Parkway)
Senior Jensen Painter batted .333 (5-for-15) hit three home runs and drove in four RBI. His 14 total bases last week were a team-high. He also scored four runs, posted a slugging percentage of .933 and got on base for the 22nd-consecutive game. Painter is the only player on the team, who has gotten on base in every game this season.
Brent Choban, Ohio
Senior , LHP, Rittman, Ohio (Archbishop Hoban)
Senior Brent Choban led the Bobcats to their lone win of the week as worked 9.0 innings and struck out eight. Choban became just the third pitcher on the team this season to pitch a complete game as picked up his third win on the year.
Anthony Smith, Toledo
Freshman, 3B, Hinckley, Ohio (Holy Name)
Smith hit a team-high .462 (6-for-13) with four runs scored, one home run and three RBI in four games last week. Smith also accumulated a .692 slugging percentage and a .squad-best .563 on-base percentage. The first-year Rocket hit safely in three of the contests, including a pair of multi-hit efforts. Smith began the week with a 3-for-4 effort vs. Oakland on Wednesday in UT’s home opener, belting his first collegiate home run. Two days later vs. Ohio in the MAC opener, he finished 1-for-4 with one run scored. The Hinckley, OH native then wrapped up the week with a 2-for-3 performance against the Bobcats in the series finale, including a season-high two runs scored and one RBI. Overall this spring, Smith is batting .271 (16-for-59) and has hit safely in 10 of 17 games played.
Jared Locke, Toledo
Junior, RHP, Dundee, Mich. (Ida)
Toledo took advantage of another quality start from junior RHP Jared Locke and registered a 5-2 victory over Ohio on Sunday in its Mid-American Conference series finale at Scott Park. Locke (3-3) was impressive over the first 6.0 innings to record his third consecutive victory, allowing two runs on six hits with a career-high seven strikeouts. The Dundee, MI native has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last three starts.
Troy Forton, Western Michigan
RSr., 1B, Muskegon, Mich. (North Muskegon)
Forton batted .545 in three games this weekend, helping Western Michigan post a series sweep over Bowling Green ... Forton went 6-for-11 at the plate and recorded a hit in every game, extending his current hitting streak to a career-best 11 games ... he also walked once and did not strikeout ... his team trailing 3-0 in game one, Forton tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, with a three-run homer to left field ... WMU went on to win the game, 4-3 ... it was Forton's first home run of the season and third career ... in game two's 10-3 victory, Forton batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk ... in the series finale, a 1-0 win, Forton had two of his team's five hits, going 2-for-3 ... with the three wins, WMU evened its overall record on the season to 10-10 ... WMU was the only team in the West Division to claim a series sweep, and the only team in the league to accomplish the feat other than Kent State.
Patrick Borlik, Western Michigan
So., RHP, South Bend, Ind. (Washington)
Sophomore RHP Patrick Borlik had two critical relief appearances, allowing WMU to post two one-run victories and complete a series sweep over Bowling Green this weekend ... Borlik earned the win in game one, a 4-3 victory, and the save in game three a 1-0 win ... in game one, Borlik took the mound with two outs and a runner on first and the game tied 3-3 ... he recorded the final out of the inning with a line out to third base ... WMU scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth and Borlik shut the door on the Falcons in the top of the ninth with a pair of ground outs and a fly out for his second win of the season ... in the series finale, Borlik took the mound with two runners on and one out in the top of the ninth and his team clinging to a 1-0 lead ... Borlik battled pinch hitter Logan Walker to a 3-2 count, Walker foul tipping Borlik four times, before Borlik got Walker to miss on the eighth pitch of the at bat for a swinging strikeout and the second out of the inning ... on the miss, both runners stole a base, putting runners at second and third with two outs ... Borlik maintained his cool and got the next batter he faced to ground out to third base for the final out and his second save of the year ... in the two innings of combined scoreless relief, Borlik did not allow a hit ... after the weekend, Borlik had his season ERA drop from 1.90 to 1.75 ... with the three wins, WMU evened its overall record on the season to 10-10 ... WMU was the only team in the West Division to claim a series sweep, and the only team in the league to accomplish the feat other than Kent State.