Friday's MAC Baseball Results
Kent State 3, Miami 0
Central Michigan 6, Ball State 5
Buffalo 18, Eastern Michigan 3
Western Michigan 13, Northern Illinois 9
Ohio 4, Akron 3
Toledo 9, Bowling Green 4
Stories courtesy of MAC Home Sports Information Departments
Kent State 3, Miami 0
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State baseball team clinched a share of the 2012 Mid-American Conference regular season championship as senior southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio), sophomore right-handed reliever Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) and freshman left-handed closer Brian Clark (Munroe Falls, Ohio) combined to shut down East Division rival Miami, 3-0, Friday (May 11) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
With the victory over the RedHawks (26-24, 10-12 MAC), the Golden Flashes (31-17, 19-3 MAC) have won 23 of their last 30 games – including 12 of their last 14 and seven in a row. Kent State can clinch the MAC regular season championship outright and number one seed in the 2012 MAC Tournament, which will be held May 23-26 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio, with one more victory.
Starn, Wilson and Clark combined to limit the RedHawks to six hits and outduel Miami redshirt senior left-handed starting pitcher Shawn Marquardt and senior right-handed reliever Joe Neff.
"We were able to scrape by with a couple runs early in the game," said eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "Both pitching staffs and defenses were great, and we were fortunate enough to get the win."
The Flashes have not allowed Miami to score a run in 19 consecutive innings dating back to the 2011 season. The RedHawks' last run scored against Kent State came in the eighth inning of a 3-2 victory on May 8 in the weekend series finale between the two teams at Schoonover Stadium. Kent State bounced back to post a dominating 11-0 rout of the RedHawks in the MAC Tournament Championship Game on May 28 at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio, clinching the program's 11th NCAA Championship berth and third in a row.
Starn delivered a four-hit shutout gem in seven innings of work in last year's title game and picked up right where he left off against Miami on Friday, scattering six hits and allowing one walk over seven frames of work while striking out nine to improve to 7-3 on the season and 25-7 for his career. The school's all-time strikeouts leader, Starn upped his career total to 316 and is now one mound triumph away from matching Pat Bangston (1984-87) for the most pitching victories in program history. He is currently tied with Mike Nartker (1992-95) for second place. Wilson tossed a perfect eighth inning and recorded the first out in the top of the ninth before giving way to Clark, who sealed the win.
"David's an All-American for a reason," said Stricklin. "He uses his fastball enough to keep hitters off-balance. Casey did his job and was back to midseason form. Brian doesn't act like a freshman. He just goes out there and throws strikes."
Marquardt was tagged with the pitching defeat for Miami and fell to 5-5 on the season despite settling down over his final three innings of work. He struck out six over seven innings but surrendered three runs – two earned – over the first four frames.
After Starn shrugged off a leadoff infield single by Miami senior second baseman Ryan Brenner in the top of the first inning, senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.), the MAC's all-time hits king, put the Golden Flashes on the board in the home half by sending a one-out solo shot over the left field wall – his fourth home run of the 2012 season and 11th round tripper of his career.
"Jimmy hit it into the wind and really got into it, and that got us going," said Stricklin. "He's not the all-time hits leader for nothing."
Starn retired the side in order in the top of the second, and Kent State's offense responded by adding another run in the bottom half. Sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) legged out a one-out infield single to get things started. He advanced to second on a ground out by freshman left fielder Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.), then scored when freshman third baseman Sawyer Polen (Wooster, Ohio) placed a two-out base hit into right center to up Kent State's edge to 2-0.
Sutton helped bail Starn out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the fourth inning by racing back to the wall to rob Miami sophomore third baseman Dan Walsh of an RBI hit.
"T.J. made the play of the game off of Walsh. "I thought the ball was over his head and was going to hit off the wall, but he caught it on a dead sprint to save two runs. That would have tied the game and completely changed everything, but instead, it gave us a lot of momentum. T.J. works really hard and has gotten a lot better defensively."
Kent State tacked on its third run in the home half. Miklos legged out a one-out bunt single and advanced to second on a passed ball, and Polen followed by drawing a walk to put two on for the Flashes. Sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) cashed in for Kent State with a single to center to score Miklos.
It was a pitcher's duel over the final five innings, but Kent State's arms were just a bit better.
Rider led Kent State's bats with two hits, increasing his career total to 323. Polen was the only other Kent State player to post a multi-hit day with a double and a single.
Brenner and freshman left fielder Matt Honchel led Miami's bats with two hits apiece.
Kent State goes for its seventh MAC series win in eight tries and looks to clinch its 11th conference regular season title and second straight Saturday (May 12) as it hosts Miami at 1 p.m. at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Junior righty Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) will start on the hill for the Golden Flashes. Kent State will recognize the 20-year anniversary of its 1992 MAC Championship squad prior to Saturday's game. Known as "The Team That Started It All," the '92 Golden Flashes ended a 28-year postseason drought by winning a school-record 45 games and posting a program-best 24-7 mark in conference play en route to earning a trip to the NCAA Championship Tallahassee Regional. Since the MAC title in 1992, Kent State has advanced to nine more NCAA regionals.
Central Michigan 6, Ball State 5
MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan extended its season-long winning streak to eight games, claiming game one of its series versus Ball State at Theunissen Stadium, 6-5.
Senior Jon Weaver came on in relief of senior Zach Cooper in the top of the ninth with the Chippewas (26-25, 13-9 MAC) clinging to a two run lead, 6-4, but gave up two singles up the middle, hit a batter and walked in a run to allow the Cardinals (11-34, 6-16 MAC) to pull within one, 6-5.
With the bases still loaded and two outs, Weaver was able to get Blake Beemer to ground into a fielder's choice, forcing Billy Wellman out at second, to secure the win and earn his fifth save of the season.
The Chippewas took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth thanks to three runs on three hits and a Cardinals error. Junior Jordan Dean led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a fielder's choice sac bunt by senior William Arnold and scored when senior Sam Russell reached on the error.
Senior Nate Theunissen recorded his second hit of the game, a single up the middle, to drive in Russell from second and freshman Joe Houlihan followed two batters later with a single of his own to score junior Jordan Adams and give CMU the 6-4 advantage.
Cooper retired the Cardinals in order in the seventh and worked around a double in the top of the eighth to keep the Cardinals at bay and help set up his sixth win of the year.
The two teams battled back in forth from the beginning as CMU jumped out in front in the first frame after senior Tyler Hall led off with a double and scored on RBI groundout by Arnold for a 1-0 CMU lead.
Two errors by the Chippewas in the top of the third allowed the Cardinals to take their first lead of the game, 2-1, before Dean led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run over the left field fence to tie things back up, 2-2.
After single runs by each team in the fourth pushed the game to 3-3, Ball State took its final lead of the game in the top of the fifth in strange fashion.
With one out in the top of the inning, Wellman hit a fly ball to center field where Hall appeared to make a running catch for the second out. The ball dropped from Hall's glove on the exchange, prompting the umpires to call Wellman safe and Hall to attempt to throw the runner out at first base. Hall's throw bounced off the bag and into the visitor's dugout however, resulting in his second error of the play and two bases for Wellman.
Beemer flew out to right field one batter later and Wellman tagged from third, allowing the Cardinals to claim a one-run lead, 4-3.
Cooper finished the game with six strikeouts over eight innings of work, allowing four runs - one earned - on six hits and two walks. T.J. Weir (2-9) suffered the loss for BSU, tossing six innings and giving up six runs - four earned - on eight hits and two walks.
Dean led the way at the plate for CMU, finishing the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored and his solo home run, while Hall went 2-for-5. Theunissen's two hits moved him just 10 shy of the CMU career record, while Houlihan also went 2-for-4.
The Chippewas will continue their series versus the Cardinals tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 with junior right-hander Pat Kaminska on the mound.
Buffalo 18, Eastern Michigan 3
BUFFALO, NY - Led by a school-record 6-for-6 performance from junior Jason Kanzler, the University at Buffalo baseball team pounded out 28 hits en route to an 18-3 victory over Eastern Michigan on Friday afternoon at Amherst Audubon Field.
The Bulls scored runs in six of their eight innings on offense including batting around the order in both the third and fifth innings. Both Matt Pollock and Tom Murphy finished with three-hit games, each finishing just one hit away from the cycle. For Murphy, he crushed both a triple and home run in the game. Dan Scahill and River McWilliams also finished with three-hit games as every UB starter had at least one hit in the game.
Cameron Copping picked up the victory as he struck out six batters in 7.0 innings of work. He allowed five hit and three runs. Dan Ginador pitched two scoreless innings to conclude the game.
Western Michigan 13, Northern Illinois 9
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan (21-25, 11-10 MAC) baseball took game one of its three-game Mid-American Conference series against Northern Illinois, 13-9, winning its fourth MAC game in a row.
Former Broncos, Frankie Ballard Jr., a fast-rising country musician, and Tony Scheffler, tight end for the Detroit Lions, threw out ceremonial first pitches before the game. Ballard and Scheffler were teammates under former head baseball coach Fred Decker.
Western Michigan (14) and Northern Illinois (16) combined for 30 hits, with four different Broncos having multi-hit games. WMU also totaled seven extra-base hits.
Zach Thoma went 4-for-5 with three runs scored, while Troy Forton belted three doubles, collecting two RBIs. Patrick Duncan also had three hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. Jared Kujawa smacked a two-run triple and a two-run single.
In his final start on his home field, senior left-handed pitcher Casey Webber earned the win, evening his record to 4-4 on the season. Webber went 6.2 innings, allowing seven runs and 12 hits, walking three and striking out five. Already in the top-five all time at WMU in career strikeouts (204), Webber also moved into the top five for career innings pitched (255.1 IP).
Northern Illinois got to Webber for three runs in the first, off a leadoff walk and three hits. The Broncos evened the score with three runs in the bottom of the inning then made NIU pay for extra at bats in the second, plating seven runs to take a 10-3 lead.
Duncan singled in a run in the first and Kujawa hit a two-out, two-run triple to the wall in right center for his team-leading fourth three-bagger of the season.
The Hukies committed two errors in the second and Broncos pounded out six hits, batting through the lineup. Forton doubled twice in the inning. Thoma and Scanlon also had an extra-base hit, while Kujawa recorded two more RBIs with a single up the middle.
NIU pushed two runs across in the third and another in the fifth, while Western Michigan scored a run in the bottom of the third and plated two in the sixth, putting the game at 13-6.
The Huskies scored the final three runs with a tally in the seventh and a two-run homer by Jeff Zimmerman in the ninth.
Zimmerman and Alex Klonowski each batted 4-for-5 with three RBIs for Northern Illinois (14-35, 7-15 MAC).
RHP Taylor Nawrocki (4-6) took the loss, lasting just an inning and two-thirds in the start. He gave up 10 runs and eight hits, walking one and striking out one.
RHP David Brennan threw the final 2.1 innings for Western Michigan.
Western Michigan will try to match its MAC win mark from last season when it goes for its 12 conference victory tomorrow in game two at 1 p.m. The two teams conclude the series Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The Broncos will honor their five seniors, Forton, Scanlon, Thoma, Webber and Ryan McMillin prior to the game.
Ohio 4, Akron 3
AKRON, Ohio – A ninth-inning comeback by the Akron baseball team fell one base hit short on Friday, allowing visiting Ohio to escape Lee R. Jackson Baseball Field with a 4-3 win.
Akron (17-33, 10-12 Mid-American Conference) trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, but would get within a run thanks to Devan Ahart's sacrifice fly. The Zips then had runners on second and third for Brady Stewart, who sent a rocket right at a drawn in Ethan Newton in center. Newton charged in to make the play and end the game.
UA benefited from an error on OU third baseman Dan Schmidt, who allowed Jared Turocy's grounder to get past and into left field to start the ninth. Turocy cruised into second and then moved to third on Brandon Winter's infield single up the middle. Sam Watkins then hit a one-hopper off of pitcher Brent Choban, who recovered to make the play at first. Stewart then sent his liner to center.
UA starter Andrew Brown (6-7) tossed his sixth complete game of the season in taking the loss. Brown allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out six. Rembielak and Winter each had two hits for the Zips, while Ahart drove in a pair.
Choban (7-6) also went the distance, allowing two earned runs on seven hits. Jake Madsen's two hits led Ohio (24-25, 13-9) at the plate.
Newton led off the first with a triple to the gap in right center and scored one batter later when Tyler Wells grounded out to second. Brown also gave up a double in the inning but escaped by popping up Jensen Painter and striking out Cody Gaertner.
The Bobcats scored three in the fourth to extend their lead, with all three runs coming across with two outs in the frame. Ian Mezlak's single up the middle plated the first run of the inning. Brown then allowed Scott White to score on a wild pitch and Mezlak came home when Rembielak slipped on the outfield grass while fielding Garrett Black's grounder.
UA jumped Choban for two runs with two outs in the fifth. Winter sent a two-out double to left to get into scoring position and came around on Ahart's single to right. Rembielak then sent in Ahart with a double of his own down the left field line. Choban then walked two straight to load the bases, but struck out Tyler Begun to get out of the inning.
Brown was excellent after Ohio's three-run fourth. The righty allowed just two base runners the rest of the way.
The clubs continue this weekend's series tomorrow at Jackson Field at 1 p.m. It will be senior day for Akron, with the team's seven seniors being honored on the field at 12:30 p.m.
Toledo 9, Bowling Green 4
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio—The Bowling Green State University baseball team fell behind early on Friday afternoon, and could not recover, suffering a 9-4 defeat at the hands of the Toledo Rockets. With the win, Toledo improves to 25-24 on the season, and 14-8 in the MAC. The Falcons fall to 19-29 on the year, and 8-14 in MAC play.
Toledo took advantage of a gusty Bowling Green wind early in the game against starter Matt Malewitz. After a leadoff double to left field in the second inning, the next batter would single up the middle, a ball that would ricochet off of Malewitz. With two outs, Dan Zuchowski would turn on an inside pitch, hitting a three-run home run that just cleared the right field wall.
The first two Falcons would reach base in the bottom of the second, with Logan Walker singling, and Matt Pitzulo reaching on an error by the Rocket third baseman. After a Brandon Howard groundout moved both runners up a base, Jake Thomas hit a sacrifice fly to center field for the first Falcon run of the game.
After scoreless third and fourth innings for both teams, Toledo would take advantage of two Falcon errors in the fifth; tallying two more runs for the 6-1 lead.
The Falcons would show no quit, as they would come right back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners on and two outs, the Falcons would get two straight two-out hits for their three runs, the RBI’s coming courtesy of Jeremy Shay and T.J. Losby.
The Rockets would respond with two more runs in the top of the sixth on a two-out home run to left field by catcher James Miglin. They would add their ninth run in the ninth inning for the final margin.
Ryan Wilkinson went five innings, picking up the win for Toledo, improving his season record to 7-3. Matt Malewitz suffered the loss, dropping his season mark to 4-5.
The two teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1 pm at Steller Field. Prior to tomorrow’s game, Jon Treece, Jack Kieffer, and Gary and Debbie Haas will be honored for their donation to the baseball program.