Western Michigan Squares Off Against West Rival Toledo This Weekend
KALAMAZOO, Mich.– Western Michigan baseball looks to get back into the win column this weekend, hosting MAC West rival Toledo in a three-game series. Friday’s game one from Robert J. Bobb Stadium begins at 3 p.m., followed by 1 p.m. contest Saturday and Sunday.
Western Michigan (12-26, 5-10 MAC)
vs. Toledo (15-24, 6-9 MAC)
April 26-28 – 3 p.m. /1 p.m. / 1 p.m.
Kalamazoo, Mich. – Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field
Probable Starters (WMU vs. TOL)
LHP Steve Laudicina (2-8, 3.59 ERA) vs. LHP Kyle Shaw (4-5, 3.27 ERA)
LHP Derek Schneider (1-1, 7.88) vs. RHP Cameron Palmer (2-3, 3.61 ERA)
LHP Mike Moyer (3-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. LHP Ryan Wilkinson (3-3, 2.86 ERA)
Western Michigan (5-10 MAC) sits a game behind Toledo, Ball State and Central Michigan (6-9) in the West standings ... this is the sixth weekend of MAC play with three remaining ... UT is the defending West Division champion ... the Broncos went 1-2 against the Rockets last year in Toledo (L, 7-4; W, 6-5; L, 12-7) ... Toledo has won 10 of the last 12 games over the last four years.
A LOOK AT THE BRONCOS
Western Michigan got off to a 5-2 start in conference play, but is currently looking to break out of a mid-schedule slump, having dropped its last eight-straight MAC games ... WMU is batting .247 overall (.257 in MAC games) and has a 5.34 team ERA (5.26 MAC).
SOHN LEADING BRONCO BATS
Sophomore shortstop Andrew Sohn leads Western Michigan and ranks third in the MAC with a .355 batting average ... Sohn has 26 RBIs, two home runs, .447 slugging percentage, .415 on-base percentage and 12 stolen bases, all team-highs ... junior Steve Buglione (.324) and Theo Piccirilli (.320) are also hitting over .300 for the Broncos ... sophomore Jared Kujawa has a .277 average on the season, but has led WMU with a .308 average over the last 10 games.
BOOKER FINDING HIS GROOVE
Sophomore Vinnie Booker has found his groove at the plate during conference play after a slow start to the season ... Booker is batting .339 with three doubles against MAC opponents and is 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts ... Booker has batted just .132 against non-conference opponents.
Western Michigan has 50 stolen bases this season, the most for the program since swiping 65 in 2004, and its second highest total in the last 14 seasons, dating back to 2000 ... WMU’s stolen base number has gone up every season under head coach Billy Gernon (2011-38, 2012-42) ... Andrew Sohn is 12-for-14 in stolen base attempts, while Jared Kujawa is 10-for-12 and Vinnie Booker is 9-for-11 ... Booker stole a team season-high 18 bags last year.
QUICK LOOK AT THE MOUND
Steve Laudicina struck out a team-high eight batters last Friday at Eastern Michigan ... Laudicina (3.59) has the lowest ERA of the weekend rotation and has logged a staff high 62.2 innings pitched and 43 K’s ... freshman Derek Schneider is expected to make his first collegiate start Saturday, he has made 11 appearances out of the bullpen ... Mike Moyer has been a part of both Bronco shutouts and has tossed 54 innings, recording 36 K’s ... freshman RHP Gabe Berman leads the team with four saves and junior RHP Monty Porter has made a team-high 21 appearances.
THIS AND THAT
Western Michigan is 11-1 and 4-0 in the MAC when leading after seven innings this season ... Andrew Sohn and Theo Piccirilli each had team-best 12-game hitting streaks this season ... Sohn, Hunter Prince and Jared Kujawa are the only three Broncos to start all 38 games.
Toledo is coming off a 15-3 midweek win against Notre Dame ... the Rockets are 6-9 in MAC play and went 2-1 last weekend at home against Central Michigan ... as a team, Toledo is batting .284 (.252 MAC) and has a .481 ERA (.430 MAC) ... UT’s overall batting average leads the conference, but the .252 average in league play ranks ninth ... all three arms in Toledo’s starting rotation nearly went the distance last weekend at CMU ... Friday starter Kyle Shaw tossed a three-hit, complete-game shutout on his way to MAC West Pitcher of the Week honors ... Cameron Palmer threw eight scoreless innings in a win Saturday and Ryan Wilkinson gave up just two runs in a complete-game effort Sunday ... Ben Hammer leads the Rockets with a .346 average and 13 RBIs in conference games.
Following this weekend’s series, Western Michigan is on the road for the next five games, with non-conference midweek games against Valparaiso and Northwestern and a road series at Akron next weekend ... the Broncos then close out the regular season with an eight-game homestand, hosting Kent State and Central Michigan in MAC series and Michigan State and Notre Dame in midweek tilts.