MAC Weekend Preview (Feb. 28th-March 2nd)

MAC Series of the Week
Eastern Michigan Eagles (4-4) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (6-2)

The Matchup

Eastern Michigan started out the year on a high note by taking down then ranked #16 Clemson 6-5 before dropping the last two games of the series 5-3 and 9-7. They then went on to take two-out-three from UT-Martin in the second weekend series of the year, and they split against Austin Peay in a double-header earlier this week. Kentucky has won four games in a row, and in their first game of the year they took down #1-ranked Virginia 8-2.

As a team, the Eagles are hitting at a nice .294 clip and averaging over eight runs a game through its first eight games. The pitching has not been as stellar with an ERA of 4.57 in 69 innings, but they have struck out almost a batter an inning. The Wildcats have hit just a tad better at .309, scoring 9.5 runs a game through eight games.

 

Players to Watch

Lee Longo is out to a great start for the Eagles with 15 hits in his first 34 at-bats (.441 average), with seven doubles, one home run, and 10 RBIs. John Rubino is also hitting over .400 with 15 hits in 35 at-bats. Sam Ott has already scored 12 runs this season, while posting a .290 average. Jake Andrews has been the Eagles best starter so far putting up an ERA of 3.86 through two starts. He’s given up nine hits and walked four in 11.2 innings, while striking out nine. Tyler Russell has been good in two appearances out of the bullpen, allowing only two base runners in five innings. Charlie Land has also been good in four relief appearances, striking out 10 in 8.2 innings without allowing an earned run.

A.J. Reed is off to a monster start for Kentucky, belting 6 home runs in his first nine games, while driving in 17. Austin Cousino has been the Wildcats best hitter with a .441 average, and he’s also stolen five bags. Reed has also been Kentucky’s best starter thus far, posting an ERA of 1.50 and winning both of his starts. Kyle Cody has been tremendous as well with an ERA of 1.93 in two starts. Out of the bullpen, Jack Spencer has yet to give up a run in four appearances (six innings), and Salow Logan also hasn’t given up an earned run in 4.1 innings of relief.

 

Probably Weekend Starters

Friday – Jake Andrews (1-0, 3.86) vs. A.J. Reed (2-0, 1.50)

Saturday – Steve Weber (1-0, 5.69) vs. Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 5.73)

Sunday – Tyler Russell* (0-0, 0.00) vs. Kyle Cody (1-0, 1.93)

* – not confirmed

 

Quotes

Eastern Michigan Head Coach Jay Alexander

– On playing so many road games to start the season:

It is extremely difficult as the deck is always stacked against you. However, it builds character and you find out a lot of about your team. The unfortunate part is you have nagging injuries, you don’t get to sleep in your own bed, and it makes it tough to get up for games.”

– On going up against a touch SEC opponent:

We are not only playing a good team, we are playing one of best head coaches in the country. Just like when we played Clemson, our expectations are to win the series. I look for my team to come and compete from the first inning to the end of the game.”

– On early success from Longo, Rubino and Andrews:

Those guys are good players and have worked extremely hard throughout the year. Longo and Rubino understand their roles and how important they are to our team’s success so they are extremely focused. Andrews is an experienced transfer who has pitched in big games, he needs to clean up some things, but he gives us a very good chance to win on Fridays.”

– On playing tough competition to prepare for MAC games:

I believe that they will show my team what it’s like to compete against the best and how important the little things are. If we do the little things well we can compete with anyone, and if we do not we will not compete with everyone. With the intensity we will need to play and compete with the Clemson’s and Kentucky’s, it will be the same intensity we will need to win in the MAC. I am a true believer that if we compete against some of the best teams in the country it will prepare us for our conference because every game means everything when you get into conference play.”

 

Game Times & Temperature

Friday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. CT.

– Weather: High of 39 F, Low of 29 F. Possible precipitation late.

Saturday, March 1 at 1 p.m. CT

– Weather: High of 49 F; Low of 31 F. Possible precipitation early.

Sunday, March 2 at 12 p.m. CT

– Weather: High of 36 F; Low of 22. Chance of rain late.

You can follow live updates of the games here: http://www.ukathletics.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mbasebl.html?event=1317616&school=kty&sport=mbasebl&camefrom=&startschool=&

 

Other MAC games this weekend

* All times central

Friday, Feb. 28:

Western Michigan at St. Bonaventure, 9:30 a.m.

Ball State at Rider, 11 a.m.

Buffalo at Univ. of Maryland ES, 11:30 a.m.

Akron at Del State, 1 p.m.

Ball State at Liberty, 2 p.m.

Central Michigan at Boston College, 2 p.m.

Northern Illinois at S. Illinois, 2 p.m.

Toledo at Louisville, 2 p.m.

Bowling Green at Georgia Tech, 3 p.m.

Buffalo at VMI, 3 p.m.

Kent State at Middle Tennessee, 3 p.m.

Ohio at Georgia Southern, 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 1

Western Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha, 9 a.m.

Central Michigan at St. Bonaventure, 9:30 a.m.

Toledo at Indiana, 10 a.m.

Ohio at SIU Edwardsville, 11:30 a.m.

Akron at Del State, 12 p.m.

Bowling Green at Georgia Tech, 1 p.m.

Central Michigan at Northeastern, 1:30 p.m.

Kent State at Middle Tennessee, 2 p.m.

Northern Illinois at S. Illinois, 2 p.m.

Western Michigan at Lehigh, 2 p.m.

Ball State at Rider, 3 p.m.

Buffalo at VMI, 3 p.m.

Miami (Ohio) at Davidson, 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 2

Central Michigan at Villanova, 9:30 a.m.

Ball State at Liberty, 11 p.m.

Buffalo at Univ of Maryland ES, 11:30 a.m.

Akron at Del State, 12 p.m.

Bowling Green at Georgia Tech, 12 p.m.

Toledo at Louisville, 12 p.m.

Kent State at Middle Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Miami (Ohio) at Davidson, 1 p.m.

Northern Illinois at S. Illinois, 1 p.m.

Western Michigan at Boston College, 2 p.m.

Ohio at Georgia Southern, 4 p.m.