MACOMB, Ill. - Fighting Leatherneck baseball will look to build off of their recent victory at Missouri State as they take on the Michigan Wolverines this weekend in a three-game set. Due to wintery conditions in the Ann Arbor area, the games will be played at Adrian College in Adrian, Mich.
Friday the two teams will square off in a single game beginning at 10:00 a.m. (CDT). Saturday will feature a doubleheader with the first game also starting at 10:00 a.m. (CDT). The first game of the doubleheader will be seven innings, while the finale is scheduled for nine innings.
THE MATCH UP
WHO: Western Illinois at Michigan
WHEN: Friday, March 22 (10:00 a.m. CDT) • Saturday, March 23 (10:00 a.m. CDT)(DH)
WHERE: Adrian, Mich. • Nicolay Field (300)
LAST TIME OUT: The Leathernecks took on the Missouri State Bears in a three-game set last weekend in Springfield, Mo... Game one saw a pitching duel between Western starter John White and Missouri State All-American Nick Petree... White threw a career high 8.0 innings in the contest, but a late inning error proved costly and the Leathernecks fell 3-2... Saturday saw a doubleheader between the teams to close out the series... The Bears jumped out to an early lead in game one of the doubleheader and would not look back, winning 10-4... Zack Burling had a career-high three hits in the contest for Western... In the nightcap, Missouri State again jumped out to an early lead, however the Leathernecks would not go down without a fight... Western scored two runs in the third, and three more in the fourth inning to take the lead from the Bears and not look back, winning the finale 6-3... Aaron Michel picked up his first career win in the contest with Brian Loconsole notched his third save of the year... Tanner Glore had two doubles in the game and JP Maestas had two RBI to lead the Leathernecks past the Bears.
FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS ON THE AIR: Western Illinois baseball games can be heard live on the Internet (www.GoLeathernecks.com) via the Leatherneck Sports Network by clicking on the link for each game on the baseball schedule/results page. Every baseball broadcast is free of charge.
FIRST WIN: The first win of the 2013 Western Illinois baseball season came in the third game of the season at #1 Arkansas... The Leathernecks took down the Razorbacks 7-5 for the first win of 2013, and the first win of the Ryan Brownlee coaching era... The win was also the first in program history over a top-ranked team in the nation... The previous highest ranked team beaten by the Leathernecks was Missouri in 2008, the Tigers were ranked #4 at the time of the 5-3 Leatherneck win.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES: Michigan was picked to finish sixth by Baseball America in their Big Ten preview... Junior outfielder Michael O'Neill is batting .407 with nine doubles and 13 RBI while slugging .556 so far in 2013... O'Neill was named Big Ten Player of the Year in the Baseball America Big Ten preview... He is also the nephew of former big-leaguer Paul O'Neill who spent 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees... Freshman hurler Evan Hill has pitched to a 2.43 ERA with a 2-1 record in 29.3 innings this season in five starts... Hill was named Big Ten Top Newcomer of the Year in 2013 by the Baseball America Big Ten preview... Head Coach Erik Bakich is currently in his first season at the helm of the Wolverines after spending the last three years as the headman of the Maryland Terrapins... He coached to a 32-24 record in 2012, which was a 15-win improvement from his first season as the Terps head coach.
TRUE-FRESHMAN: True-freshman Aaron Michel has proven that age doesn't matter this season and has become a standout pitcher for the Leathernecks... The lefty leads the team in appearances made with seven through the first 17games... He picked up his first career victory last Saturday in the final game of the weekend at Missouri State, throwing a career-high 3.1 innings with a career-high three strikeouts... Michel has only allowed three earned runs in 11.1 innings this year on the mound and has eight strikeouts.
MOVIN' ON UP: Junior transfer Zack Burling has become a regular in the starting lineup for the Leathernecks and is now the team leader in batting average... After his seven-hit performance in five games last week, including three at Missouri State in the first game of the doubleheader, Burling now has a .353 batting average... The Carthage, Ill. native has 12 hits in 34 plate appearances this season and is third on the team with six runs scored.
CLOSING TIME: Senior closer Brian Loconsole notched his third save last Saturday in the victory over Missouri State... The righty is now 3-for-3 in save opportunites this season and has moved into a tie for 10th place for most single season saves in Western Illinois baseball history... The Carol Stream, Ill. native has made six appearances so far this year and has a 1-0 record to go along with his three saves... Loconsole also has six strikeouts in his 8.1 innings pitched.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Western now has hit 19 doubles on the season, with 10 of those coming in the last six games... Jameson Henning leads the Leathernecks with four doubles on the year, followed by Steve Kedroski who has three... Tanner Glore also recorded his first two career doubles in the finale at Missouri State last weekend.
DISPENSA RECORD WATCH: Dan Dispensa is currently in sole possession of fourth place for most hits at Western Illinois... The Chicago, Ill. native had one hit over the weekend, giving him 185 for his career... He is just one hit away from moving into a third-place tie... The senior has also played in 165 career games, which puts him in sole possession of seventh place for most games played at Western... Dispensa also has 10 career triples and is currently in a tie for seventh place all time in that category... Finally, he is now in 10th place for most walks drawn all time with 77, and in a tie for 10th place for total bases with 249.
IN THE LEAGUE: Dispensa is tied for second in the league with 12 runs scored... Dispensa is also tied for the league lead in triples with two...is tied for second in the league in appearances made on the mound with seven.. is second in the league with three saves... Henning has a team high 16 hits on the year which is also good for sixth most in the league.
NATIONALLY SPEAKING: The Leathernecks strength of schedule is currently 35th in the nation out of 299 Division I baseball teams... Western's RPI is also 121st according to WarrenNolan.com... Dispensa sits at 61st in the nation with two triples this season and 86th in the nation in triples per game (0.13)... Loconsole is 65th in the nation in saves (3).
PITCHING TOWERS: The Leatherneck pitching staff ranges in height from 5'10" to 6'7". The average height for a Western Illinois pitcher in 2013 is just over 6'3"... John White and Mason Pingel both stand at a towering 6'7", with Tyler Willman standing at 6'6"... Freshman Aaron Michel is the shortest member of the Leatherneck pitching staff but still stands at an above average 5'10".
WEEKLY HONORS: Sophomore pitcher Mason Pingel was named Summit League Co-Pitcher of the Week following his performance in the opening weekend win at #1 Arkansas... The honor was the first for the Appleton, Wisc. native... Redshirt-freshman Jameson Henning was selected as a "Primetime Performer" by collegebaseball360.com following his performance during the opening weekend at Arkansas... The righty had four hits on the series and scored two runs for the Purple & Gold.
AT THE HELM: Ryan Brownlee is in his first season as the head coach of the Fighting Leatherneck baseball team. Brownlee officially began his coaching duties on October 2, 2012. The former Iowa assistant coach brings 15 years of Division I experience to Western Illinois. He spent his last nine years as a member of the Hawkeye coaching staff as an assistant and recruiting coordinator. Before Iowa, Brownlee was an assistant at James Madison for four seasons.
PRESEASON POLL: The Leathernecks were selected to finish in fourth place out of six teams in the preseason poll... North Dakota State was picked to win the conference, receiving five first place votes and a total of 25 points... South Dakota State placed second with 17 points, followed by Oakland in third with 16 points... The Leathernecks received 15 points to finish in fourth place in the voting... Rounding out the preseason voting were Fort Wayne in fifth place with nine points, and conference newcomer Omaha in sixth place with eight points.