WMU Baseball Release

The Western Michigan University baseball team (8-11 overall, 3-1 MAC) travels to Champaign, Ill., this week (April 1-2) to meet Illinois for a pair of games at Eichelberger Field.

Tuesday's contest begins at 6:35 p.m. CST and Wednesday's tilt at 2:00 p.m. CST. WMU then prepares to host Akron on Friday (April 4) at 3:00 p.m. in the Broncos' home opener at Hyames Field. The four-game Mid-American Conference series versus Akron continues with a Saturday (April 5) doubleheader, starting at 1:00 p.m., and a single contest on Sunday (April 6), beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Broncos are in a four-way tie for first place in the MAC West Division.

PITCHING ROTATION (subject to change)

Illinois series:

Game #1 — Clark Sterley (0-2, 6.75 ERA, 6 Ks, 10.2 IP)
Game #2 — Shawn Morrison (0-2, 6.87 ERA, 12 Ks, 18.1 IP)

Akron series:

Game #1 — Pat Misch (2-1, 3.68 ERA, 28 Ks, 36.2 IP)
Game #2 — Brad Mumma (3-2, 4.24 ERA, 28 Ks, 34.0 IP)
Game #3 — Keith Perez (2-1, 3.24 ERA, 26 Ks, 25.0 IP)
Game #4 — Shawn Morrison

LAST ACTION

Western Michigan commenced its MAC campaign by taking three of four games from Marshall in Huntington, W. Va. (March 28-30). The Broncos opened with a 9-4 win Friday, building a 7-0 cushion by the sixth inning. WMU came back with a 12-5 victory in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday behind Brad Mumma's complete game. Game two lasted just four innings before being suspended because of darkness. WMU led 6-3 and maintained that lead Sunday when the contest was completed. Marshall captured the series finale 19-2, striking for nine runs in the sixth and five more in the eighth. The loss was WMU's largest of the season.

THE HUNT FOR 600

Western Michigan is three wins shy of becoming the first MAC school to record 600 league victories. The Broncos are 597-389-2 in 56 MAC seasons and are tied with Ohio for the most regular season league titles (14). WMU will play in its 1,000th league game May 17 against Ball State.

HYAMES HOME OPENER

After playing 21 straight games on the road, Western Michigan opens its home schedule Friday against Akron. The Broncos are embarking on their 64th season at Hyames Field (capacity 4,000), which was dedicated in 1939 and played host to the first two NCAA College World Series in 1947 and 1948. The field is named after WMU's second baseball coach, Judson Hyames, who compiled a .726 winning percentage in 14 seasons at WMU. The Brown & Gold are scheduled to play 17 games at Hyames, including a Centennial Celebration game against Michigan on May 6. SCOUTING REPORTS Illinois (12-5) is coming off a four-game split with Indiana in a Big Ten series held in Champaign. The Fighting Illini pitching staff sports an outstanding 2.83 ERA, having allowed just eight homers in 17 games. Senior RHP Josh Lane is unbeaten at 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA after four starts. Offensively, UI has nearly doubled the run production of its opponents (115 to 59). One of the few setbacks of the season for Illinois was a 12-10 loss to Northern Illinois.

Akron (8-11, 3-1 MAC), tied for first in the MAC East, plays host to Duquesne on Tuesday and Niagara Wednesday before making the trek to Kalamazoo. Tim Berenyi's club took three of four games from Buffalo and has now won seven of nine games after starting the year 1-8. Freshman OF Marcus Geiselman is off to a .392 start at the plate. The Zips were projected to finish fourth in the MAC East according to the coaches' preseason poll.

SERIES HISTORY

WMU lost twice at Illinois last year, giving up 30 runs over two games. The Broncos are 7-15 lifetime versus the Fighting Illini. WMU did not face Akron in 2002, but does own a 15-11 record all-time against the Zips.

COACH FRED DECKER

Fred Decker is in his 28th season at Western Michigan, having compiled a career record of 753-663-6. His 753 wins are the most in WMU Athletics history while his 381 conference wins tops the all-time list among MAC coaches. Decker led WMU to the 1989 MAC Championship and West Division titles in 1982 and 1983. He was inducted into WMU's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. A total of 85 former players have been drafted by MLB.

QUOTING DECKER

"I thought we played pretty good at Marshall, but it was a bad way (19-2 loss) to end the series. The guys played hard and we were able to get some timely hitting until Sunday. We really need to find some right-handed hitting in key spots of the lineup to help us against left-handers."

BRONCO NOTEBOOK

Senior Chad Tarpley connected on his second career grand slam Saturday, moving into a share of seventh place on the WMU career home runs list (21) … LHP Brad Mumma tossed his third straight complete game in WMU's 12-5 win at Marshall. His three wins leads the staff … OF Tom Fabrizio went 7-for-13 against the Herd to improve his team-leading average to .391 — a figure that ranks sixth in the MAC … freshman LF Matt Bolton stands third among league rookies in batting with a .333 average … WMU's pitching staff leads the MAC with five complete games (the team had seven last year) while the Broncos' .968 fielding percentage is tied for second best … former Bronco Scott Demetral (1992-95) is in his third season with the Akron coaching staff. Demetral's brother, Mike, is a second-year outfielder at WMU.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories