Weekend MAC Baseball Preview

Updated 3/30/2012
Akron (9-15, 2-1 MAC) at Northern Illinois (6-19, 0-3 MAC)
Friday, March 30, 4:05 PM
Saturday, March 31, 2:05 PM
Sunday, April 1, 2:05 PM

Game Notes: The series between Northern Illinois and Akron is a fairly young one as the first meeting occured in 1992, a 10-9 victory by the Huskies in seven innings.  Junior Taylor Nawrocki earned the Mid-American Conference West Division Pitcher of the Week honors March 20th after shutting out Illinois to earn his first victory at NIU.  Senior Alex Jones just finds a way to get on-base for the Huskies as he has currently reached base safely in the last 17 games he's played in. So far Jones has batted .311 during the season and has a team leading 28 hits and nine doubles.  After taking two out of three from Ball State last weekend, Akron is looking for its best start to a MAC season in program history. The 1994 squad went 4-2 through the first two weekends of MAC play.  After starting the season 1-8, Akron is 8-7 in its last 15 games. UA is hitting .285 and has a team ERA of 3.29 during that span.  Sophomores Tyler Begun and Brady Stewart are both hitting over .400 in the last 15 games. Begun is batting .439 with 12 RBIs, 14 runs, and a .702 slugging percentage. Stewart is hitting .435 with seven RBI.


Central Michigan (11-14, 2-1 MAC) at Bowling Green (8-16, 0-3 MAC)
Friday, March 30, 3:00 PM
Saturday, March 31, 2:00 PM
Sunday, April 1, 1:00 PM

Game Notes: The Falcons come into this weekend’s series with a 3-0 record at Steller Field in 2012. They have defeated Dayton, Malone, and Shawnee State at home so far.  Entering the weekend, ten players—with at least 30 at-bats—have a batting average of at least .300. Last season, two Falcons ended up with batting averages above .300.  The Chippewas batted .345 in their opening weekend of Mid-American Conference play, scoring 31 runs on 40 hits. Three different Chippewas batted .460 or better with junior Jordan Dean leading the way with a .538 average.  After missing the first 20 games of the season with a lower body injury, senior Tyler Hall returned to the lineup last week versus Northwood and Buffalo. Since his return, Hall has batted .318 (7-for-22) with seven RBI and a .455 slugging percentage.


Eastern Michigan (9-15, 2-1 MAC) at Ohio (11-13, 1-2 MAC)
Friday, March 30, 6:00 PM
Saturday, March 31, 3:00 PM
Sunday, April 1, 1:00 PM

Game Notes: Eastern Michigan has enjoyed success over its history with Ohio, leading the all-time series 60-45.  Since the beginning of their series at nationally-ranked Arizona, March 9-11, the Eagles have raised their batting average from .249 to a robust .284. During that 13-game span, Eastern Michigan has recorded 10-or-more hits on six occasions including a pair of games in which they tallied more than 15 knocks.  Outfielder Brent Ohrman has recorded 10 stolen bases this season to run his career total to 42, good for the 13th-most all-time among EMU players. With a swiped bag Saturday, March 17, against Niagara, the senior moved past former Eagle speedster Ryan Arnett's (2003-05) career mark of 37 stolen bases.  In 11 home games this season, Ohio has a 7-4 record.  The Bobcats Earned Run Average of 2.93 is the best in the Mid-American Conference, entering this weekend.  Ohio has five players which are batting .300-or better.


Kent State (11-12, 3-0 MAC) at Ball State (4-16, 1-2 MAC)
Friday, March 30, 3:00 PM
Saturday, March 31, 1:00 PM
Sunday, April 1, 1:00 PM

Game Notes: Ball State and Kent State have met 100 times in program history prior to this weekend's series ... The Cardinals trail the all-time series by a 54-46 margin ... The two teams have not met since 2009 when they split a rain-shortened series in Muncie.  Senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) has been named Player of the Week and junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) has been named Pitcher of the Week, as announced by the conference office Monday (March 26).  Lyon batted 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.  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 Kent State earn the victory Saturday.  Ball State has scored 68 runs this season and is batting .243 as a team while opponents have scored 152 runs and are batting .298 as a team.  Winkle is currently riding a career-best 10-game hitting streak ... He has hit .450 over his past 10 games, going 18-of-40 with six multiple-hit games, including six hits in the past two games ... He leads the team with 21 hits and is tied for the team lead with seven runs scored.


Toledo (11-12, 2-1 MAC) at Miami (13-11, 1-2 MAC)
Friday, March 30, 6:00 PM
Saturday, March 31, 3:00 PM
Sunday, April 1, 1:00 PM

Game Notes: UT has started to find its groove as of late and has won five of its last six games, including taking two of three from Ohio last weekend to begin MAC play. A key factor in Toledo's strong play over the last couple of weeks has been its pitching. UT has yielded three runs or less in four of its recent contests and on 10 occasions this spring.  Miami has used the same rotation every weekend this spring, sending junior right-hander Mac Thoreson (3-2, 5.86) to the mound in the opener. After a rough first three games, he has settled down, winning three straight with a 1.14 ERA over 23.1 innings. back-to-back outings with a 1.12 ERA over 16 innings.  Freshman outfielder Matt Honchel has taken over the team with a .379 batting average. He has 11 multiple-hit games this season, also tied atop the club.


Western Michigan (11-10, 3-0 MAC) at Buffalo (7-12, 1-2 MAC)
Friday, March 30, 1:00 PM
Saturday, March 31, 1:00 PM
Sunday, April 1, 1:00 PM

Game Notes: The weekend series will be the first between the cross-division teams since 2009, when Buffalo won two of the three games in the series.  On Wednesday, UB hit four home runs but could not scrape together enough runs and lost 8-6 to Big Four rival Canisius. Matt Pollock hit two solo home runs on the day, but the team only had eight total hits and one walk. The Broncos needed extra innings, but won its mid-week contest in a 10-inning, 3-2 win over Oakland.  In his first season at the helm, Gernon's Bronco squad shaved over three and a half runs off the team ERA and had a 14-game improvement from the year before. The team's offensive focus has also shifted to the "small-ball" approach, with the team slugging only .374 and scoring just north of 5.5 runs per game. While the WMU pitching staff does not overpower the competition (striking out just 111 batters in 185.1 innings pitched), but instead puts the ball in play and leans on a strong defense behind them.