2010 MAC Baseball Preview – East Division

January 21, 2010
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Top MAC Teams From 2009 Reside In The East

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2009 Division Winners: Bowling Green won the East Division & Ball State won the West.

2009 Champion: Kent State defeated Toledo 5-3 to win their 7th MAC championship in school history.

East Side Rules: The top 4 teams in the East all had conference and overall records above .500, while only Ball State accomplished that in the West.

2010 MAC East Division Preview

CLICK HERE to see our MAC West Division with our picks for top player and pitcher in the division as well as division winner for 2010.

Akron

2009 Season: (19-33, 12-15)

Mascot: Zips

Head Coach: Pat Bangtson

Location: Akron, OH

Vitals: .302 BA, 57 HR, .384 OBP, .957 Fld. %…6.55 ERA, 10 SVs, 355 K, 188 BB, .311 Opp. BA

Big Returns: Akron welcomes back 4 of their top 5 hitter from a year ago.  Sr. OF Jake Plata (.357 BA, 3 HR, .453 OBP), Sr. OF/1B Brian Kordal (.346 BA, 4 triples, 44 RBI), Sr. IF Kevin Haas (.324 BA, 9 HR, 21 RBI), and Jr. C/OF Brandon White (.309, 6 HR, 32 RBI) all return in 2010.

Mound Struggles: The Zips had a team ERA of 6.55 and opponents hit over .300, but two top arms return.  Jr. RHP Ben Danzinger (3-4, 5.81 ERA, career-high 58 K) and closer Chris Bassitt (1-2, 3.52 ERA, 7 SVs, .184 Opp. BA) will look to lead an improved pitching staff.

Goin’ South: Akron begins its season with a three game series against Minnesota in Fort Myers, FL  at the Twins’ spring training facility.

Bowling Green

2009 Season: (28-22, 18-8)

Mascot: Falcons

Head Coach: Danny Schmitz

Location: Bowling Green, OH

Vitals: .345 BA, 63 HR, .416 OBP, .958 Fld. %…7.62 ERA, 12 SVs, 325 K, 195 BB, .316 Opp. BA

Very Offensive: Bowling Green boasted one of the top offenses a year ago hitting .345 as a team with 11 players over

Brennan Smith

the .300 mark individually.  This year’s team returns several top hitters, including 2nd team All-MAC selection Sr. C/IF Tyler Elkins (.406, 16 doubles, 31 RBI), slugger Sr. OF Derek Spencer (.385, 15 HR, 59 RBI), and 1st team All-MAC selection Sr. IF Logan Meisler (.361, 4 HR, 45 RBI).

Pitching Strength: The Falcons bring back several top pitchers including the 2009 MAC Pitcher of the Year Jr. RHP Brennan Smith (8-4, 4.41 ERA, 80K).  Soph. closer Charles Wooten (5 SVs, 39 K) returns, while  Frank Berry (7-1, 4.76 ERA in 2008) and Kevin Leady (3-4, 5.03 ERA in 2008) are back as well after missing 2009 with injuries.

Three-peat: Bowling Green is looking to win its 3rd consecutive MAC Regular Season Championship,  having won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.  They, however, haven’t won the MAC tournament title and appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1999.

Buffalo

2009 Season: (20-35, 6-20)

Mascot: Bulls

Head Coach: Ron Torgalski

Location: Buffalo, NY

Vitals: .306 BA, 35 HR, .398 OBP, .954 Fld. %…8.49 ERA, 6 SVs, 358 K, 294 BB, .325 Opp. BA

On the Rise: The 20 wins a year ago were the most for Buffalo since they won 20 games in 1983.  The 50 wins over the past three seasons under Ron Torgalski are also the most wins for a Buffalo coach in his first three years in school history.

Key Losses: Buffalo will have to deal with the loss of P/DH Chris Ciesla (.372, 4 HR, 44 RBI), who set UB single-season records for hits and total bases in 2009, and OF Eric Flynn (.283, 4 HR, 13 SB).

Late Start: The Bulls start their season a week later than most teams when they begin a three game series February 26th at Charlotte.

Kent State

2009 Season: (43-17, 17-9)

Mascot: Golden Flashes

Head Coach: Scott Stricklin

Location: Kent, OH

Vitals: .324 BA, 80 HR, .410 OBP, .971 Fld. %…5.69 ERA, 20 SVs, 489 K, 239 BB, .287 Opp. BA

Challenges: Kent State plays Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Indiana, and Kansas State in their non-conference slate.  All but Wake Forest made it to an NCAA Regional last year.

Season of Success: Kent State’s 43 regular season wins were 13 more than any other MAC program last year, yet they finished one game behind Bowling Green for the MAC East championship.  They went on to win the MAC Tournament and made their 8th NCAA Tournament appearance.

Key Losses: The Golden Flashes will have to replace sluggers Greg Rohan and Jason Patton who combined for 149 hits, 30 HRs, and 117 RBI.

Miami's Adam Eaton

Miami (OH)

2009 Season: (30-25, 15-12)

Mascot: Red Hawks

Head Coach: Dan Simonds

Location: Oxford, OH

Vitals: .310 BA, 67 HR, .397 OBP, .965 Fld. %…5.91 ERA, 10 SVs, 348 K, 205 BB, .303 Opp. BA

Offensive Loss: Miami loses its top 3 hitters from a season ago, including 2nd team All-MAC selection Tommy Nurre (.406, 18 doubles, 17 HR, 54 RBI).  Also gone are Jordan Petraitis (.364, 8 HR, 54 RBI, and Chris Nadeau (.356, 19 doubles, 5 HR, 50 RBI).

Key Returns: Back in 2010 is 2009 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Mideast Region 2nd teamer OF Adam Eaton who hit .350 with 11 HR and 48 RBI.  Eaton also was 28-of-29 in stolen bases.  The RedHawks also return Jr. LHP Tyler Melling (6-3, 5.35 ERA, 1 CG) and So. RHP Jordan Jankowski (6-1, 4.95 ERA, 5 SVs).

Season Opener: Miami starts their season February 19th on the road at Clemson, before playing the next two days in Greenville, SC against Furman and Michigan State.

Ohio

2009 Season: (29-24, 18-9)

Mascot: Bobcats

Head Coach: Joe Carbone

Location: Athens, OH

Vitals: .314 BA, 102 HR, .404 OBP, .955 Fld. %…6.70 ERA, 10 SVs, 332 K, 191 BB, .328 Opp. BA

Packing Some Pop: Ohio’s offense in 2009 was one of the best in school history hitting .314 as a team with a .514 slugging percentage and crushing 102 HRs.

Gauntlett Eldemire

One of the Best: OF Marc Krauss had one of the most successful season in Bobcat history.  Krauss was named a First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association, and was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award (nation’s top amateur player).  In addition, Krauss became the first player in Ohio history to win MAC Player of the Year.  He was selected 64th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2009 draft.

Stars of the Future: Even with the loss of Krauss, Ohio should still have a powerful lineup in 2010 with the return of Jr. Robert Maddox III (.320, 13 HR, 55 RBI) and Jr. (.313, 21 HR, 56 RBI, 11 SB).

2010 MAC East Predictions

MAC East Champion: Bowling Green with Kent State on their heels

Top East Player: Tyler Elkins—Bowling Green

Top East Pitcher: Brennan Smith—Bowling Green

Coming Soon:  2010 MAC West Divsion Preview with overall predictions for MAC Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and 2010 conference champion.

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