2012 MAC Baseball Tournament Pairings Announced

Updated 5/19/2012
MAC Baseball Tournament Central

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MAC Baseball Tournament Pairings
All Pro Freight Stadium (Avon, Ohio) - May 23-26

Wednesday, May 23

No. 4 Ohio vs. No. 5 Western Michigan, 9 a.m. 
No. 3 Central Mich. vs. No. 6 Eastern Mich., 12:30 p.m. 
No. 2 Toledo vs. No. 7 Miami, 4 p.m.
No. 1 Kent State vs. No. 8 Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. 

Saturday's MAC Baseball Results
Kent State 2, Akron 1
Central Michigan 3, Western Michigan 2
Buffalo 8, Bowling Green 5
Toledo 12, Eastern Michigan 5
Ball State 6, Northern Illinois 2
Miami 6, Ohio 3

Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments

Kent State 2, Akron 1
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State baseball team edged Akron, 2-1, to run its win streak to 13 games, close the 2012 regular season with its fourth straight Mid-American Conference series sweep and seventh of the season and tie the program’s record for most conference wins in a single season on Senior Day Saturday (May 19) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.

The 2012 MAC champion Golden Flashes (37-17, 24-3) matched Kent State’s 1992 championship team for the most MAC victories in a single season. Kent State will be the No. 1 seed in MAC Tournament and will face No. 8 seed Buffalo (18-34, 10-16 MAC) next Wednesday (May 23) at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Time of Wednesday’s first pitch will be announced Monday (May 21). The Flashes enter the postseason having won 28 of their last 35 games – including 17 of their last 19. Kent State pulled out a 5-4 walk-off thriller over the Bulls on April 6 at Schoonover Stadium and followed it up with a 6-3 come-from-behind win the next day and another 6-3 win in the Sunday series finale.

Saturday’s game was a classic pitcher’s duel in which Kent State produced just enough offense in the bottom of the fourth inning after Akron took a 1-0 lead in the top half by way of a leadoff home run over the left field wall by sophomore second baseman Tyler Begun. Kent State answered back in the home half, though, as junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) hit a leadoff single down the left field line to break up Akron senior right-handed Alex Loftin’s perfect game bid. Senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) – arguably the most clutch hitter in Kent State – sent a triple into deep left center to tie the game. Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) broke the tie by serving up a sacrifice fly to center to allow Lyon to tag up and score.

“David came up big for us,” said eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. “He hit a triple into the gap to get that big RBI and got us going. George followed with a great at-bat to help give us the win.”

Akron threatened in the top of the eighth when senior catcher Ivory Alexander was hit by a pitch with one out and then stole second, but Kent State senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) made yet another of his patented spectacular defensive plays by keeping freshman shortstop Matt Rembielak’s hit back up the middle on the infield to prevent Alexander from scoring the tying run.

“It’s fitting that Jimmy Rider made the play that saved the game for us,” said Stricklin. “Great players find a way, and that’s what Jimmy did. It was a back-breaking play for Akron. It’s been fun to watch Jimmy do that for four years.”

Loftin retired 14 of Kent State’s final 15 batters, but the 2-1 lead was enough for the Flashes as Kent State sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Tyler Skulina (Strongsville, Ohio), freshman southpaw reliever Brian Clark (Munroe Falls, Ohio), redshirt freshman righty Josh Pierce (Avon, Ohio) and junior right-handed closer Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) combined to keep the Zips off of the scoreboard the rest of the way.

Skulina worked six innings and struck out five to earn his team-leading ninth pitching victory of the season and improve to 9-2 on the season. Wilson pitched a perfect ninth inning to nail down his sixth save of the season.

Loftin was saddled with the loss for Akron, falling to 3-4 on the season despite limiting Kent State to only two hits. He struck out four.

Central Michigan 3, Western Michigan 2
MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday to clinch its series over rival Western Michigan, 3-2.

With the win, the Chippewas (30-27, 17-10 MAC) clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio May 23-26. The Chippewas and No. 6 seed Eastern Michigan will square off in the first round of the of the tournament with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m Wednesday afternoon.

Senior Tyler Hall led off the eighth with a single and moved to third on a hit and run in which junior Jordan Dean slapped a single through the right side. Senior William Arnold then grounded into a double play with the middle infielders back, allowing Hall to plate the game-winning run for the final 3-2 tally.

Senior Jon Weaver came on and worked a perfect ninth, inducing three ground outs to earn his sixth save of the season and give the Chippewas their 7th 30-plus win season under head coach Steve Jaksa.

The Broncos were able to take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning off junior Dietrich Enns after Vinnie Booker led off the game with a walk and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly. The run ended Enns' scoreless innings pitched streak at 18.

The Chippewas weren't able to get on the board until the bottom of the fifth, mustering just one hit through the first four innings. Junior Jordan Adams drilled a double to the wall in right center and scored on back-to-back successful sacrifice bunts by redshirt freshman Nick Regnier and senior Eric Wrozek, tying the game at 1-1.

Western came right back to reclaim the lead in the top of the sixth, as another lead off walk led to a run for the visiting team. Ryan McMillin drew the lead off walk and later came around to score on a RBI ground out by Troy Forton to take the lead, 2-1. 

The Maroon and Gold were aided in the bottom of the frame however, as Dean reached on an error and moved to third on a single by senior Nate Theunissen before scoring on a failed picked off attempt by Will Nimke, tying the game 2-2.

Freshman Sean Renzi came on the mound in the top of the eight and promptly got a ground out, fly out and struck out Jared Kujawa to earn his first collegiate win.

Theunissen led the way at the plate for the Chippewas, going 2-for-4 to move just one hit shy of the CMU all-time record of 252 set by Jim Geldhof.

Patrick Borlick suffered the loss for the Broncos, giving up two hits and the game-winning run in one inning pitched.
Buffalo 8, Bowling Green 5
BUFFALO, NY - At long last, the Buffalo baseball team has made it. For the first time since joining the Mid-American Conference for baseball in 2000, the Bulls earned a trip to the conference tournament Saturday afternoon thanks to an 8-5 win over Bowling Green. The win, coupled with an Akron loss at Kent State, helped Buffalo clinch the eighth and final spot in the tournament, which starts May 23.

Despite being outhit 16-9 in the game, the Bulls used five errors by the Falcons. Mike Burke made the start and threw 3.1 innings, but it was the relief efforts of River McWilliams who saved the day for UB. After being honored as one of nine players who were playing for the last time at Amherst Audubon Field, McWilliams went out in style with 5.2 innings of relief and allowed just one run and six hits while striking out five.

"It's a great thing for the kids. It's a great thing for the program. We've come close a couple years and never got there," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "I couldn't be happier for the nine seniors. These guys have stuck with it all year. We've had some close ones and blown some games during the season. To hang with it this last weekend and keep battling, I couldn't be prouder of them. They stepped up and made the plays and got the hits when they needed to today and took care of business."

After BG opened the game with a run in the top of the inning, Matt Pollock hit a triple over the head of the center fielder and would come in on an error off a hit by Jason Kanzler. Senior Dan Scahill would score Kanzler on a single back up the middle to give UB the lead after one.

The Bulls matched Bowling Green run-for-run, never allowing the opposition to rest. In every inning the Falcons posted a run, Buffalo would match or best it in the bottom of the very same inning.

In the third inning, Tom Murphy hit a one-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Scahill would come through again with an RBI hit, splitting the right side of the defense and bringing in Murphy.

Bowling Green would take the lead briefly in the fourth inning and chase Burke from the game with a pair of runs, but the Bulls would charge back with a trio of runs in the home half. Mike Scarcello made it all the way to third to lead off thanks to another defensive error, and senior Andy Smietana would score him on a groundout. Jon Mestas reached on another error, and Pollock's second triple of the day would bring him around to tie the game back up. Murphy would help the team reclaim the lead with a sacrifice fly and score Pollock.

The Bulls would keep playing the hot hand of Kanzler to add some insurance runs in the seventh inning, as he stroked a two-out home run to left field that brought around Smietana, who had led off the inning with a single.

With the season coming all the way down to the final day, it made Buffalo's senior day all the more sweeter. Andy Smietana, Russ Carone, Jordan Camp, Cameron Copping, Jeff Thompson, Dan Scahill, Kevin Crumb, Jon Fragulia and River McWilliams all will be leaving the team at the end of the season, but the group will have at least two more chances to don the blue and white and fight for a conference championship.

Next up for the team will be top-seeded Kent State at the MAC Tournament, held May 23-26 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Be sure to check BuffaloBulls.com for updates as to the exact time for the team's first game on Wednesday.

Toledo 12, Eastern Michigan 5
TOLEDO, OH – Toledo capped off its regular season with a convincing 12-5 triumph over Eastern Michigan (24-29, 14-13 MAC) on Saturday at pleasantly warm Scott Park. With the dominating win, the 2012 Mid-American Conference West Division champion Rockets complete the sweep for a second consecutive weekend and improve to 30-25, 19-8 in the league.

UT will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s MAC Tournament in Avon, OH and meet an undetermined  opponent in the first round on Wednesday, May 23. The opponent and game time for that contest will be announced later this weekend.  
Junior 3B Wes White (3-for-4, 3 RBI) led the Rockets offensively in today’s regular-season finale with three hits and three RBI. Senior 1B Mark Lapikas (2-for-4, 2 RS, 2 RBI) and senior DH Jeff Cola (2-for-5, 2 RS, RBI) also posted two-hit outings as part of UT’s 12-hit attack. In addition, senior 2B Joe Corfman collected his 53rd career double to tie Drew Hoisington (2005-08) for the most two-base hits in school history.

Junior RHP Mike Hamann (3-5) picked up the win for the MAC West Division champs, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts in 5.0 innings.

The Rockets wasted little time in jumping all over EMU starter Collin Taylor, scoring five runs in their opening at-bat. Toled batted around in the frame and took advantage of three hits, one walk, one hit by pitch, one balk and one wild pitch to build an insurmountable cushion.

EMU countered with one run in the second inning on a solo roundtripper off the bat of Lee Longo to make the score 5-1.

The Eagles threatened to further cut into the deficit in each of the next two frames, putting runners on first and second base with only one out. Fortunately for the Rockets, Hamann made the necessary pitches in both innings to keep the visitors off the scoreboard and maintain their four-run lead.

Eastern Michigan stayed aggressive at the dish and benefitted from a pair of hits and two UT errors to close the gap to 5-3 in the top of the fifth inning. The first three EMU batters reached base against Hamann, with Brent Ohrman and Sam Ott collecting RBI. 

With EMU turning the momentum its way over the last couple of innings, Toledo needed to change to flow of the game. The Rockets did just that in the bottom of the fifth and plated six runs on six hits to send EMU’s Taylor to the showers. Each of the first nine UT hitters reached base and the first six touched home plate to blow the game open and make the score 11-3. Senior CF Ben Hammer (1-for-2, RS, RBI), freshman SS Nate Langhals (1-for-4, RBI), senior C A.J. DeMarco (0-for-3, RBI), Lapikas, Cola and White were each credited with RBI in the inning to put the game out of reach.

Eastern Michigan mustered a two-run single off the bat of Ohrman in sixth inning, before UT manufactured a run on a RBI by White in the eighth to make final difference 12-5.

EMU’s Taylor (2-1) was tagged with the loss, yielding eight runs (six earned) on six hits with three punchouts in 4.0 innings. 

Tucker Rubino (3-for-5, 2 RS) paced the visitors with three hits, while Daniel Russell (2-for-3) and Ohrman (2-for-5, 3 RBI) had multi-hit efforts in a losing cause. 

Ball State 6, Northern Illinois 2
DEKALB, Ill. – Ball State senior right-hander Cal Bowling (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) capped off his stellar four-year career by tying a career-high 11 strikeouts in 8.0 innings of work to lead the Cardinals to a Mid-American Conference series sweep at Northern Illinois with a 6-2 victory. The sweep is the first of the season for the Cardinals who finished one game out of the MAC Tournament. 

Bowling allowed one earned run on six hits in just his second start since missing over a month of the season due to an injury. He needed only 107 pitches in 8.0 innings to improve to 4-3 on the year. Bowling finished his career with an 18-12 record, including five complete games, while pitching in 61 games with 45 starts. He worked 279.1 innings for the Cardinals with a 4.83 ERA while striking out 185 batters. 

Ball State (14-36, 9-18 MAC) opened the scoring quickly for the third straight game as it plated three runs in the top of the second inning against NIU starter Tony Manville. Junior Kirby Campbell (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) led off with a single and quickly moved to third on a stolen base and a sacrifice bunt. Senior Tim Issler (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) gave the Cardinals the early lead as he singled up the middle. 

After a walk to senior Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond), sophomore Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) continued his torrid pace on the weekend lining a run-scoring double down the left field line scoring Issler. Redshirt sophomore Billy Wellman (Portland, Ind./Jay County) put the Cardinals in front 3-0 as he reached on an infield single plating Widau. 

Northern Illinois (15-40, 7-20 MAC) made it a one-run game in the fourth inning as it took advantage of a BSU error to score two runs, one of which was unearned. The Huskies posted two hits in the inning and had the tying run in scoring position before Bowling stuck out a batter to end the threat. 

Ball State picked up some breathing room in the top of the sixth inning as junior Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) singled through the left side and Widau doubled to put two in scoring position. Godfrey lifted a sacrifice fly into center field before Wellman singled up the middle to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead. 

The Cardinals tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning thanks in large part to Winkle’s speed. He led off the inning with a single and stole second base to move into scoring position. Wellman posted his third run-scoring hit of the afternoon lining a single up the middle that scored Winkle easily from second base. 

Wellman finished the game with three hits and three RBI as the Cardinals posted 17 hits in the victory. Five different Cardinals posted multiple-hit games with Godfrey and Campbell also reach three hits apiece. Godfrey finished the three-game series with a .667 (10-of-15) batting average while driving in seven runs on the weekend. 

Manville (2-9) picked up the loss for the Huskies who finished the conference season having nine straight games. He allowed five runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings while not striking a batter out on the afternoon. 

Miami 6, Ohio 3
ATHENS, Ohio -- Freshman Matt Honchel drove in two runs with three hits and Max Andresen drove in two with a bases-loaded double in the first, leading Miami to a 6-3 victory over Ohio in the 2012 regular-season finale Saturday afternoon at Bob Wren Stadium.

Charles Zubrod (4-4) pitched five strong innings to get the win, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. He fanned three before giving way to Brooks Fiala, who earned his first save of the year. Fiala gave up three hits and a ninth-inning run, while walking one and striking out another.

Miami (28-27, 12-15) opened a 4-0 lead with a pair of runs in each of the first two innings. The RedHawks' first three batters loaded the bases with two walks and an error, setting up Andresen for a one-out double off the wall in right.

Kendall Johnson, making just his fourth start, singled to start the second. Ryan Brenner walked around a pair of outs, then Honchel extended his hitting streak to a season-long 12 games with a run-scoring single. Miami then attempted a double steal, but a passed ball on the pitch brought Brenner home easily.

A walk to Brenner set up another run in the fourth. With one out, he took four sraight balls, then stole second. After the second out, Honchel singled to center for his 30th multiple-hit game of the season.

Ohio clawed back with two runs in the fifth, aided by a popup that got lost in the bright Athens sunshine. The Bobcats started with two hits, the second of the infield variety, around a walk to load the bases. A short fly to center kept the bases loaded, then Ben Otto lofted another popup to center. But Ryan Curl lost the ball in the sun and it dropped in for an RBI single. A groundout cut the lead to 5-2, but Zubrod ended the threat with a strikeout. 
From there Fiala took over, retiring the first six batters he faced. He put the first two runners on in the eighth, but got three straight outs, then traded outs for hits after the Bobcats started the ninth with two singles.
Miami got an insurance run in the ninth when Scott Slappey scored on a Dan Walsh groundout.

The RedHawks return to action on Wednesday in the first round of the MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio. They will face No. 2 seed Toledo with No. 3 Central Michigan and No. 6 Eastern Michigan also in the bracket.