Sunday's MAC Baseball Results

Updated 5/13/2012
Sunday's MAC Baseball Results
Western Michigan 13, Northern Illinois 9
Central Michigan 7, Ball State 0
Eastern Michigan 4, Buffalo 3
Kent State 10, Miami 4
Ohio 3, Akron 2
Toledo 2, Bowling Green 1

Stories courtesy of Home MAC Sports Information Departments

Western Michigan 13, Northern Illinois 9
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- With a weekend sweep of Northern Illinois, Western Michigan has punched its ticket to the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament, May 23-26, at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio.

The Broncos downed the Huskies 13-9 Friday, 5-4 Saturday and completed the sweep with a 6-1 win on Senior Day Sunday. WMU's record stands at 23-25 on the year and 13-10 in the MAC with four regular-season games to play, including a series at Central Michigan, May 17-19.

Western Michigan has won its last six-straight conference games, also taking all three last weekend on the road at Ball State. WMU has posted four series sweeps this season, the most since 2006.

The Broncos, under second-year head coach Billy Gernon, are also making back-to-back appearances in the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2005 & 2006.

Senior third baseman Ryan McMillin led Western Michigan's offense Sunday, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and four RBIs. He helped WMU build on a 3-1 lead and put the game away with a one-run double in the seventh and a two-run double in the eighth.

Freshman RHP Will Nimke (4-3) earned the win on the mound, scattering six hits and one run over 5.1 innings. He struck out three and issued just one walk.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Monty Porter came up big out of the bullpen, getting WMU out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth. WMU was clinging to a 2-1 lead and Nimke was pulled after taking a ball up the middle off the ankle. Porter got Joe Battagalia to hit a groundball to McMillin and the Broncos turned a 5-2-3 double play.

Porter would work into the eighth until he gave way to left-handed freshman Matt Nestor who threw the final 1.2 innings, picking up his second career save.

Both Northern Illinois and Western Michigan put a run on the board in the opening frame. McMillin scored Vinnie Booker with his first of three doubles, after Booker had reached on a single.

Dan Shutes drove in WMU's second run with a sac fly in the second. The Broncos added an insurance run to go up 3-1 in the sixth when Andrew Sohn singled down the left field line and Jared Kujawa beat the throw home to score from second.

Western Michigan totaled 10 hits in the game, Booker also having a multi-hit day, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

WMU hosts Big Ten opponent Michigan Tuesday, May 15 at 3 p.m. in the Broncos final home game of the season.

Ohio 3, Akron 2
AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron baseball team dropped its third one-run game of the weekend on Sunday, losing 3-2 to Ohio at Lee R. Jackson Baseball Field.
 
Senior starter Alex Loftin (3-3) took the hard-luck loss, allowing two earned runs on eight hits. Sophomore Darius Washington went 3-for-4 with a double to lead Akron (17-34, 10-14 Mid-American Conference) at the plate.
 
Ethan Newton batted 2-for-4 with an RBI for Ohio (26-25, 15-9). OU starter Seth Streich (4-5) tossed a complete game seven-hitter.
 
Ohio grabbed the lead with two runs in the top of the second. Dan Schmidt singled to put two Bobcats on with one out. Doug Holmes then singled through the right side to drive in Cody Gaertner, with Washington’s throw to the plate skipping to the backstop. Loftin tried to get Schmidt as he advanced to third but his throw sailed into left field, allowing Schmidt to score.
 
Washington led off the second with a double over the head of Newton in center, but was doubled up on Brandon Winter’s line drive to right to end the inning. 
 
Washington would beat out a bunt single to set up Akron’s first run in the fourth. Streich’s throw to first on the play got away from Jake Madsen allowing Brady Stewart to get to third. Jared Turocy then hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring in Stewart.
 
Akron tied the game by forcing Streich into back-to-back errors on sacrifice bunts in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Rembielak led off the frame with a single and moved to second when Streich’s throw to first was off line on Sam Watkins’s sacrifice bunt. Streich then tossed Stewart’s sacrifice bunt into foul territory down the left field line. Rembielak would score on the blunder to tie the game.
 
Ohio manufactured a run in the eighth. Ian Mezlak drew a lead-off walk and moved over on a sacrifice bunt. Newton then blooped a single to left center, driving in Mezlak.
 
Akron had a runner in scoring position in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but failed to find a base hit. The Zips left 10 men on base in the game.
 
Akron is off until Thursday when it opens its final series of the season, a three game set against rival Kent State. Thursday’s game is the sixth annual Diamond Classic for the Kids at Canal Park. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Akron.

Eastern Michigan 4, Buffalo 3
BUFFALO, NY - Despite a career day from sophomore starting pitcher Mike Burke, a two-out rally from Eastern Michigan (24-25, 14-10 MAC) coupled with a critical error allowed the Eagles to score four runs in the top of the ninth to steal the series victory from from the Bulls (15-32, 8-15 MAC), 4-3, on Sunday afternoon.

Burke was solid throughout the game, allowing only three hits through the first eight innings of the game. After the two teams had combined to score nearly 40 runs in the opening pair of games in the series, it was a pitcher's duel for much of the game. The Bulls struck first in the bottom of the fourth, with Tom Murphy drawing a walk and moving to third on a single by Dan Scahill. Alex Baldock then brough him home with a sacrifice fly to right field.

That would be all the scoring the two teams would muster until the bottom of the eighth, when Matt Pollock started things off with a one-out double down the left field line. He would score immediately after, when Jason Kanzler snuck a ground ball up the middle past a diving second baseman that scored Pollock and gave UB a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the ninth, Burke got two quick outs before the Eagles offense got hot. Three straight singles brought in a run and a pitching change, with third baseman River McWilliams moving to the mound to try and close out the game with runners on first and second.

EMU pinch hitting Bo Kinder hit a single to right field to bring in the tying run. The throw home from the outfield was cut off by Baldock to try and nab Kinder, who was trying to reach second. The ball went wide and dribbled into left center, scoring all three runners and claiming a 4-2 lead. 

The Bulls mounted a two-out comeback of its own in the bottom of the ninth, with Baldock getting a single and Mike Scarcello drawing a walk from a 3-2 count. Eagle closer Joe Battistelli then plunked Jon Mestas and Pollock to bring in one run and load the bases, but that would be all for the Bulls.

Buffalo is down but not out of the race for the Mid-American Conference tournament just yet. With Akron and Miami (OH) getting swept this weekend, the Bulls chance at the tournament is still there. Heading into the final MAC series of the season, UB will play Bowling Green (19-31, 8-16 MAC) on Thursday needing to win at least two of the three games to have a chance.

Before that, though, Buffalo will close out the Big Four season with a Tuesday doubleheader against St. Bonaventure. Game one is scheduled for noon.

Central Michigan 7, Ball State 0
MOUNT PLEASANT — Junior Dietrich Enns pitched eight scoreless innings Sunday afternoon to help Central Michigan finish a sweep of Ball State, 7-0.

The win was the Chippewas’ (28-25, 15-9 MAC) 10th-straight, tying their longest win streak since winning 10 games during the 2007 season.

Enns picked up right where he left off in last week’s complete-game shutout of Northern Illinois, extending his scoreless innings pitched streak to 17.1 by limiting the Cardinals (11-36, 6-18 MAC) to just five hits and tying a season high with seven strikeouts.

The Chippewas took the lead in the first inning, 2-0, on a two-RBI single to left field by senior Sam Russell before extending their lead to 4-0 on a misplayed ball in right field by the Cardinals that allowed senior Tyler Hall and redshirt freshman Pat MacKenzie to score.

Redshirt freshman Nick Regnier hit a one-out infield single, stole second and scored on a sacrifice fly by MacKenzie in the bottom of the sixth before Hall singled up the middle to score senior Eric Wrozek and give CMU a 6-0 advantage.

All the while, Enns was cruising through the Cardinals’ lineup by retiring the last nine batters he faced before being replaced by senior Jon Weaver, who pitched a perfect ninth.

Regnier gave the Chippewas their final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth when he led off the inning with his first career home run. The redshirt freshmanfinished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

MacKenzie went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, while Hall went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

The win keeps the Chippewas one game back of MAC West leader Toledo with three conference games remaining before the MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio May 23-26.

CMU returns to action Tuesday evening for the second annual ‘Clash at Comerica’ versus Michigan State. The game will be played in the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

Kent State  10, Miami 4
KENT, Ohio – Senior catcher and 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) posted his second straight two-home run game to help eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin earn his 300th coaching victory as the Kent State baseball team downed Miami, 10-4, Sunday (May 13) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium to complete its straight Mid-American Conference weekend series sweep and sixth of the 2012 season.

The Golden Flashes (33-17, 21-3 MAC) swept the RedHawks (26-26, 10-14 MAC) for the first time since 2006 thanks to the victory in the Sunday finale. Kent State blanked Miami, 3-0, Friday (May 11) in the series opener before ending the RedHawks, 7-6, the following day to capture the 2012 MAC regular season title. The Flashes have won 25 of their last 32 games – including 14 of their last 16 and nine in a row.

“It’s tough to sweep anybody, and Miami is a good team,” said Stricklin. “It’s a good rivalry, and they played well this weekend. We had a big seventh inning to separate ourselves a bit today, but it was a hard-fought series. Our players have worked hard to get to this spot. David did a great job all weekend and came up with some clutch hits. What goes unnoticed is what he does behind the plate. He’s as good of a defensive catcher as there is in the country. Offensively, he’s picking things up and swinging the bat well.”

Stricklin, who has led Kent State four MAC regular season titles, four conference tournament titles and four NCAA berths, becomes the second skipper in school history to reach the 300-win milestone, joining Rick Rembielak (373 wins; 1994-2004). Stricklin lettered three seasons as a catcher at Kent State, earning All-MAC honors in 1992 and '93. He graduated magna cum laude from Kent State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

“What 300 wins means is that we have had great players that have helped us win a lot of games and a coaching staff that’s been here for all of those wins,” said Stricklin. “It’s a big milestone, and now, you move on and try to win the next one. I’m proud to do it and do it at my alma mater.” 

Lyon played a key role in the sweep, feasting on Miami pitching to the tune of six hits – including four round trippers – to go along with five RBIs. He upped his career home run total to 22 and has now tallied three multi-homer days in his career. In addition to Saturday and Sunday’s games, he also achieved the feat on April 4, 2010, against Western Michigan in a 14-4 Kent State win.

“I’ve been hitting the ball well and seeing the ball well the last two weeks,” said Lyon. “The last two days, I felt like I was rolling, just seeing the ball well and swinging, and they seem to be going out.” 

Freshman third baseman Sawyer Polen (Wooster, Ohio) finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle to lead all hitters. He crushed his fourth career home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the contest at three-all and added a two-run triple in the eighth – his third three-bagger of the season. The reigning MAC East Division Player of the Week is hitting .363 in conference play with 29 hits – including three doubles, two triples and four home runs – to go along wit 18 RBIs. Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio), sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) and fifth-year senior left fielder Joe Koch (Austintown, Ohio) each contributed two hits apiece. Campbell posted his team-leading 25th multi-hit game of the season. 

The Golden Flashes put the first dent on the scoreboard, striking for two runs in the home half of the first. Campbell legged out a leadoff infield single, then scored on a double off the wall in left center by senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.). After Rider moved to third via a ground out by Lyon, he scampered home on a wild pitch by Miami sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Charles Zubrod to up Kent State’s lead to 2-0.

Miami grabbed the lead from Kent State by plating three runs in the top of the third. Senior center fielder Ryan Curl and senior second baseman Ryan Brenner drew back-to-back walks to lead off the frame. Curl advanced to third on a wild pitch, and junior first baseman Kevin Bower filled the bases for the RedHawks one out later by drawing a walk. Curl scored when Lyon’s pickoff attempt missed its mark, and freshman shortstop Scott Slappey gave Miami a 3-2 lead by knocking a triple into left center to plate Brenner and Bower.

The RedHawks did not stay in front long, though, as Polen smashed a one-out solo homer over the left field wall in the home half of the fourth to knot the contest at three-all.

Miami threatened again in the top of the fifth when freshman left fielder Matt Honchel hit a one-out single back up the middle and Bower followed by coaxing another walk. Kent State sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Tyler Skulina (Strongsville, Ohio) dug deep, though, forcing sophomore designated hitter John Crummy to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

Kent State carried the momentum into the bottom of the fifth inning to take back the lead. Lyon crushed a one-out, 3-1 pitch from Zubrono over the Schoonover Stadium scoreboard in right for a tape-measure shot. Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) followed by sending a double to deep center field and advancing to third on a wild pitch. Sutton took advantage by sending a base hit back up the middle to score Roberts and increase Kent State’s advantage to 5-3. 
After Skulina was lifted in favor of redshirt freshman right-handed reliever Eric Dorsch (Gibsonia, Pa.), the RedHawks crept to within one in the seventh as Brenner hit a leadoff base hit up the middle and scored one out later on a single to center by Bower to make it a 5-4 game.

That’s as close as Miami got, though, as Kent State put the game out of reach with a four-run home half. Lyon coaxed a leadoff walk, then raced to third on a fielding error by Miami junior right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Adkins. Sutton capitalized on a scoring opportunity again, this time singling through the right side to bring home Lyon. The RedHawks called upon senior righty Joe Neff out of the bullpen to face redshirt junior pinch hitter Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio), but Hamilton won the battle by laying down a sacrifice bunt that forced Miami freshman catcher Max Andresen to rush his throw to first base. The toss missed its mark, allowing Roberts to cross the plate and Hamilton to reach safely. With runners on the corners, Polen produced a two-run triple to center to plate Kent State’s final two runs.

Freshman right hander John Birkbeck (Canton, Ohio) and redshirt freshman righty Dan Kopcak (Streetsboro, Ohio) combined to close the door on the RedHawks in the final two frames. Birkbeck retired the side in the eighth while Kopcak shrugged off a leadoff walk by Curl and a one-out single by Honchel in the top of the ninth to strike out Bower swinging and force sophomore pinch hitter Marcus Makuch to fly out to center and end the game.

Skulina went six innings on the hill for Kent State and earned his team-leading eighth pitching victory of the season to improve to 8-2 in 2012.

Kent State, which locked up the top seed in the 2012 MAC Tournament by winning the 11th regular season title in program history Saturday, will get a sneak peek at the new home of the conference championships as it hosts MAC West Division foe Eastern Michigan Tuesday (May 15) in a non-conference game at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. 

Toledo 2, Bowling Green 1
Bowling Green, Ohio - The Falcons came within a few feet of hitting a walk-off grand slam on Senior Day, but instead Tyler Grogg, Toledo’s left fielder, made a diving catch on the warning track to preserve the 2-1 win for Toledo. With the loss, the Falcons fall to 19-31 on the season, and 8-16 in the MAC.
 
After the Senior Day festivities had taken place on Sunday, Patrick Martin came out and had his best outing of the season. Martin, who along with Tyler Wynn, Matt Malewitz, and Matt Vannett, was honored prior to the game for their stellar Falcon careers.
 
Martin proceeded to throw six innings of scoreless baseball, scattering just five Rocket hits on the day. Martin left with a 1-0 lead after six innings of play.
 
Toledo would tie the game in the top of the seventh against Nick Bruns, who had come on in relief for Martin. Bruns would go 4.2 innings on the afternoon, his second longest outing of the season.
 
With the score tied at one in the bottom of the tenth, senior Tyler Wynn stepped to the plate, and almost ended the game with one swing. His hit would end up against the fence in right centerfield, which turned into a leadoff double for Wynn. After Brandon Howard advanced him to third with a sacrifice bunt, Toledo would call on their closer, Lincoln Rassi. Rassi would get out of the jam with a groundout and fly out, keeping the score tied at one.
 
Toledo would get a run off of Bruns in the top of the eleventh inning, to take the lead. After the leadoff batter was retired to start the bottom of the eleventh for the Falcons, T.J. Losby drove a two-strike pitch through the left side for a one-out base runner. Andrew Kubuski would go the opposite way down the third base line for a single in the next at-bat, giving the Falcons two runners with one out. After a strikeout, Jake Thomas would reach base when catcher’s interference was called on Toledo with two strikes on Thomas.
 
With the bases loaded, Tyler Wynn would step to the plate. Wynn would work the count full against Rassi, before hitting a mammoth fly ball to deep left centerfield. On a normal day in BG, Wynn’s hit would have cleared the fence by plenty of distance, but on Sunday, the wind was blowing straight in.
 
Wynn’s ball got caught up in the wind just enough for Toledo’s leftfielder, Tyler Grogg, to run under it and make a diving catch on the warning track to end the ball game.
 
The Falcons will finish out the regular season next weekend, when they travel to the University at Buffalo for a three-game set with the Bulls, Thursday—Saturday.
 
The Falcons will head into the final weekend of play two games out of a MAC tournament spot. However, the Falcons lose the tiebreaker to both Miami and Akron, so BGSU will need to sweep Buffalo, while either Miami (at Ohio) or Akron (at Kent State) gets swept, to qualify for the MAC tournament.