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MAC Announces Baseball Players & Pitchers of the Week - See more at: http://www.mac-sports.com/t

March 3, 2014

MAC Baseball East Division Player of the Week
Gary Russo, Miami, OF/DH
So., St. Louis, Mo./Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day
Russo tied for the team lead with a .500 average in three games over the weekend. His four walks and .643 on-base percentage also topped the RedHawks. He reached base four times in Friday’s opener at Davidson, going 2-for-3 with a double and two walks while driving in a run. The sophomore drove in another run and reached base three times on two singles and a walk during Saturday’s victory. On Sunday, Russo showed off some speed by stealing his first base of the season. For the season, Russo is hitting .345 with a .472 on-base percentage and a .552 slugging. His four extra base hits are tied for the team lead.
MAC Baseball East Division Pitcher of the Week
Seth Varner, Miami, LHP
Sr., Batavia, Ohio/Clermont Northeastern
Varner flirted with Miami history as he turned in his third-straight strong start for the RedHawks, proving to be the only Miami pitcher to keep Davidson’s hitters off balance this weekend. The senior retired 15-straight batters at one point and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before allowing a double with one out in the frame. That double was the only hit he allowed in eight shutout innings, which earned him his first win of the season. Through three starts, Varner is 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and 22:6 K:BB ratio in 19 innings
MAC Baseball West Division Player of the Week
Cody Leichman, Central Michigan, 1B/DH
Junior, Trenton, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC/Edgewood HS
Leichman led CMU to a split of four games at the Snowbird Baseball Classic, batting .500 (7-for-14) with three multi-hit games and eight RBI as the Chippewas took down St. Bonaventure and Villanova. Leichman hit his first home run of the season to open the tournament and continued his torrid pace at the plate with three hits apiece in each of CMU’s two victories. Leichman capped the weekend by going 2-for-3 with three RBI in a 13-3 victory over Villanova. The junior slugger finished the weekend with a .786 slugging percentage and struck out just once in his 16 plate appearances.
MAC Baseball West Division Pitcher of the Week
Pat Kaminska, Central Michigan, RHP
Senior, Phoenix, Az./John A. Logan College/Naperville Central HS
Kaminska led Central Michigan to a 5-0 victory over St. Bonaventure at the Snowbird Baseball Classic Saturday. Kaminska threw his second career complete-game shutout, striking out five and walking zero in the process. He allowed just five hits for a WHIP of 0.55. Kaminska improved his record to 2-1 on the year and lowered his earned run average to a team-best 2.75.
Other Nominees
Dom Iero, Akron, Infield
Freshman, North Canton, Ohio / Hoover
Iero had his strongest weekend as a collegiate baseball player, recording his first career hit, RBI, home run, and run scored in three games against Delaware State. A North Canton, Ohio native, Iero recorded his first collegiate hit in the first game of the doubleheader against DSU on Saturday, a game in which he also plated the Zips lone run. Iero showed off some power in game two against the Hornet, as he launched a grand slam to bring Akron within a run of Delaware State
Alex Call, Ball State
Fr., Roberts, Wis., River Falls H.S.
Batted .583 in Ball State’s four games in Lynchburg, Va.  The Cardinals tallied a 3-1 record in the contests.  Call was 7-for-12 with one double, one run scored and six runs-batted-in.  He managed a .667 slugging percentage in the four games.  Call’s double in the Cardinals 5-4 win over Rider plated three runs and gave Ball State a 4-0 lead.
Zach Plesac, Ball State, P
Fr., Crown Point, Ind., Crown Point H.S
Tallied a 1-0 pitching record with one save in Ball State’s four games in Lynchburg, Va., and helped the Cardinals to a 3-1 record.  Plesac pitched 5.1 innings, allowing only three hits and NO runs, while striking out seven and walking only one in his two appearances.  In his win, Plesac pitched 3.2 innings and allowed three hits and no runs while striking out five vs. Rider in Ball State’s 5-4 win.  Plesac earned the save in Ball State’s 4-3 win over Liberty Sunday after pitching the final 1.2 innings and allowing no hits while striking out two.  He is now 4-0 with two saves on the season.
Patrick Lancaster, Bowling Green, Outfield
Senior, Woodhaven, Mich./Gibraltar Carlson
Lancaster led the Falcons all weekend long at perennial national power Georgia Tech, as Lancaster was on base 10 times in his 13 plate appearances. Lancaster batted .600 with an on-base percentage of .689. He also led the Falcons with four RBI. In Friday’s narrow loss to the Yellow Jackets, Lancaster was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Then, on Saturday, Lancaster was on base four times in five plate appearances, as he had two hits and two walks. Once again, Lancaster was on base four times on Sunday, recording two hits, a walk, and reaching on an error. Lancaster also had two RBI for the Falcons.
Matt Pollock, University at Buffalo 
Outfield, Senior, Sagamore Hills, OH/Walsh Jesuit
Pollock had a consistently strong weekend at the plate for the Bulls, batting .400 over the team’s four-game weekend to lead the team to three wins. He would slug .733 and had an on-base percentage of .571 thanks to five walks over the four games. In the team’s doubleheader on Friday, he drew a pair of walks and hit a solo home run in a win over Maryland-Eastern Shore, then had another hit and a walk in the nightcap against VMI. In the Saturday rematch against the Keydets, he went 2-3 with two walks and an RBI in the 6-5 win. He capped the weekend with a triple and two walks in a win over UMES. For the season, he is batting .379 with a team-high 11 hits.
Mike Burke, University at Buffalo
Position: RHP, Senior, Cleveland, OH / St. Ignatius
Burke pitched well despite facing a lot of adversity in the team’s Sunday win against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Burke had to work out of jams in the first and second innings after the UB defense committed errors. He would get a strike out to end the first, but the Hawks would load the bases with no outs in the second inning after an error on what would have been a fielder's choice to get the lead runner. Burke would seemingly be unfazed, striking out two straight batters swinging before getting a tapper back to the mound for the third out. He would ultimately allow just a single earned run over eight innings on the mound, scattering six hits while striking out nine batters. Now through 14 innings over two starts, Burke has 19 strikeouts and just one walk.
Tyler Russell, Eastern Michigan University
Freshman, Murrieta, Calif/Vista Murrieta
Russell led the Eagles in innings pitched this week, tossing 7.1 innings in one start and one relief appearance. The right-hander led the team in strikeouts, punching out six batters. Russell threw four scoreless innings against Austin Peay, Feb. 25, striking out three while allowing just three hits. He made the first start of his collegiate career against No. 30 Kentucky. Tossing 3.1 innings, Russell left the game at a 3-3 tie. 
Lee Longo, Eastern Michigan University, First Baseman
Senior, Mayfield, Ohio
Longo, the conference-leader in doubles, tallied a team-high three two-base hits throughout the week. Longo also tied for the team-lead in RBI (4) and runs scored (3). Along with a .472 slugging percentage, the senior took a few for the team, plunked four times in five games.
Eric Lauer, Kent State, LHP
Freshman, Elyria, Ohio/Midview
Lauer continued to impress this weekend, picking up his third win in as many appearances on Saturday against Middle Tennessee.  He threw another five innings in the start with a season-high four strikeouts while allowing just one earned run.  The lefty’s season ERA continues to sit below a 2.00, currently at 1.42 through 12.2 innings of work.
Zach Beckner, Kent State, INF
Freshman, Lebanon, Ohio/Lebanon
Despite entering the weekend with just three hits in his early career, Beckner helped lead Kent State to a series win over Middle Tennessee State by batting .400 while starting all three games.  The rookie picked up four hits, one RBI and walked once and was hit by a pitch twice on the weekend to have an on-base percentage of .538.
Brian Sisler, Northern Illinois, SS
Sophomore, DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb
Sisler led the Huskies in hitting and on-base percentage last weekend at Southern Illinois in a pitchers dominated series. All told, the series combined for 32 hits and eight runs. Sisler hit .375 in the series and posted an on-base percentage of .500 in the series, while also stealing one base. Defensively, Sisler helped the team turn four double plays in the series.
Eli Anderson, Northern Illinois, P
Senior, Glenview, Ill./New Trier
Anderson earned his first win of the season at Southern Illinois Friday, striking out eight and walking two to pick his second combined shutout of his career, 1-0. The senior threw 110 pitches in the effort, 69 of those for strikes for a strike percentage of 63 percent and did not allow a runner past second base in the game.
Austin Rieman, INF, Ohio
Freshman, Hamilton, Ohio/Badin High School
Rieman led the Bobcats this past weekend with a batting average of .750. He finished the weekend by going 6-for-8. His three hit afternoon against SIU-Edwardsville was a season-best. He also scored a season-best two runs in the Bobcats’ weekend finale against Georgia Southern. 
Jake Roehn, RHP, Ohio
Freshman, Sandwich, Ill./Sandwich High School
Roehn picked up his first collegiate victory Friday night against Georgia Southern after he worked 6.0 inning and struck out nine. Roehn’s outing propelled Ohio to its first road win of the year and snapped Georgia Southern’s 6-game winning streak – a streak that included wins over Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Deion Tansel, University of Toledo, INF
Sophomore, Grand Rapids, OH/Anthony Wayne H.S.
Tansel batted a team-high .500 (6-for-12) in Toledo's three games against nationally ranked opponents this weekend at the University of Louisville. Tansel started all three contests at shortstop and registered a team-high in both slugging percentage (.500) and on-base percentage (.538). He also recorded a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, recording 10 putouts with eight assists. At the dish, the second-year Rocket recorded two hits in all three games. He opened the weekend by hitting 2-for-4 with one RBI at No. 9 Louisville on Friday. The following morning against No. 17 Indiana, Tansel finished 2-for-5. Tansel then ended the weekend later on Saturday afternoon against the host Cardinals by going 2-for-3 with two stolen bases, one walk and one RBI. Tansel has now hit safely in each of the first eight games in 2014, tallying a squad-best six multi-hit efforts. He currently leads the Rockets in batting average (.452, 14-for-31), doubles (2), total bases (16), slugging percentage (.516) and on-base percentage (.528).  
Jared Kujawa, Western Michigan, OF
Junior, Temperance, Mich. (Bedford)
Kujawa had a monstrous week at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, batting .500 (6-for-18) with three triples, one double, six RBIs, two runs scored, a staggering .938 slugging percentage and a .529 on-base percentage over four games, leading the Broncos to a 2-2 record. In each game, Kujawa had two hits, including an extra base hit, and at least one RBI. Kujawa opened Florida with an RBI triple in three consecutive games, giving him four for the season, two more than any other player in the MAC currently.  The four triples already this season surpasses his overall total from last year and gives him 10 career, tying him for fifth all-time in WMU’s record book. Kujawa drove in the eventual winning run in the Broncos’ victory over St. Bonaventure, with a two-run single in the fifth. In the win over Boston College, Kujawa scored WMU’s first run and also plated the eventual game-winning run with an RBI single in the seventh. Kujawa entered the spring trip with a .174 batting average and has improved it to .308 after this past week.
Steve Laudicina, Western Michigan, LHP
Sr., Sterling Heights, Mich. (DeLaSalle)
Western Michigan began play in its annual spring trip to Florida, downing St. Bonaventure, 5-1 at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte Friday. Senior LHP Steve Laudicina picked up the win, scattering six hits and striking out four over 7.1 innings. The only run against Laudicina was unearned after a Bronco error in the fourth. Laudicina’s 7.1 innings pitched is a season high, over two innings more than his longest appearance this year. In three starts this year, Laudicina has held opponents without an earned run in two, and the game he did surrender earned runs in was at No. 7 Louisville. He has a 1-1 record in 2014 and a 4.50 ERA. The 7.1 IP gives him 16.0 for the year and 249 career, moving him into seventh all-time in the WMU record book.

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