MAC Baseball: Conference Play Finally Begins, Previews

Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium - Kent State Athletics

THESE GAMES MATTER!

Toledo (7-10) @ Kent State (9-8)

While Toledo hasn't been off to a great start, this is basically a new start for them. And it's good to go to Kent State now and get this series out of the way early rather than later. As for the Golden Flashes, they are coming off of a home-opening winner over Youngstown State. And while Eric Lauer is off to a fantastic start (2.49 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, 18 K), his real audition begins now, in conference play.

Game 1: Friday 2:30 p.m. (Ryan Wilkinson vs. Eric Lauer)

Game 2: Friday 6:30 p.m. (Sam Shutes vs. Nick Jensen-Clagg)

Game 3: Saurday 1 p.m. (Ross Achter vs. Brian Clark)

Eastern Michigan (8-8) @ Akron (7-10)

Not a ton of hype for Akron, but they're honestly just as good as anybody else out there. Led by Devan Ahart, Akron is one of the best batting teams in the conference, third with a .279 batting average right behind Eastern Michigan of all teams (.285). Akron's pitching staff has a 4.50 earned run average, right above EMU (4.63). Sounds like this series that will go down to the rubber match in the finale.

Game 1: Friday 1 p.m. (Jake Andrews vs. John Valek III)

Game 2: Friday after Game 1 (Ryan Lavoie vs. JT Brubaker)

Game 3: Saturday 1 p.m. (Steve Weber vs. Myles McVeigh)

Bowling Green (6-12) @ Ball State (13-8)

The defending MAC Tournament Champions aren't off to the hottest start ever, but now would be the perfect time to kick things back into gear. And Ball State's Scott Baker isn't off to a great start to the season, either. I won't be ready to call Ball State the best team in the MAC again until Baker starts generating more lock-down games.

Game 1: Friday 3 p.m. (Cody Apthorpe vs. T.J. Weir)

Game 2: Saturday 1 p.m. (Mike Frank vs. Scott Baker)

Game 3: Sunday 1 p.m. (Andrew Lacinak vs. Zach Plesac)

Buffalo (8-6) @ Northern Illinois (2-15-1)

The Huskies have the worst lineup in the conference, as well as one of the MAC's worst pitching staffs. Conversely, Buffalo is the complete opposite with three starting pitchers that could all very well be seen as "Friday starters".

Game 1: Friday 6 p.m. (Mike McGee vs. Anthony Andres)

Game 2: Saturday 5 p.m. (Anthony Magovney vs. Eli Anderson)

Game 3: Sunday 1 p.m. (Mike Burke vs. Alex Klonowski)

Central Michigan (10-10) @ Ohio (4-13)

The team that has everything to win against the ones who have nothing to lose. The Chippewas are grooming professional-hopeful prospects while the Bobcats are still raising freshman starters to help make the program successful for years to come. Until the Bobcats host Kent State in early April, this will be their biggest test of the year.

Game 1: Friday 6 p.m. (Jordan Foley vs. Jake Roehn)

Game 2: Saturday 3 p.m. (Pat Kaminska vs. Jake Rudnicki)

Game 3: Sunday 1 p.m. (Nick Deeg vs. Connor Sitz)

Western Michigan (9-8) @ Miami (8-9)

The stats tend to lean towards Western Michigan in this series with their highly-balanced pitching and batting metrics, but this could end up being more interesting than the baseball followers think. If these two find themselves in a slugfest, the RedHawks could possibly take a pair of games this weekend.

Game 1: Friday 6 p.m. (Steve Laudicina vs. Seth Varner)

Game 2: Saturday 3 p.m. (Chad Mayle vs. Nathan Williams)

Game 3: Sunday 1 p.m. (Keegan Akin vs. Ryan Powers)

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