MACOMB, Ill. – Western Illinois baseball will begin conference play this weekend at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium in Macomb against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies and the Fort Wayne Mastodons.
The Leathernecks will have their home-opener against Oakland on Friday (Apr. 5) starting at 1 p.m. The doubleheader will feature a seven-inning contest in game one and a nine-inning second game.
On Sunday (Apr. 7), Western will play host to the Fort Wayne Mastodons. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at noon, with a seven-inning game one and a nine-inning game two.
THE MATCH UPS
WHO: Oakland at Western Illinois
WHEN: Friday, April 5 • 1 p.m. (DH)
WHO: Fort Wayne at Western Illinois
WHEN: Sunday, April 7 • 12 p.m. (DH)
WHERE: Macomb, Ill. • Alfred D. Boyer Stadium
Radio: Rocky Vision (Free Audio Broadcast)
Play-by-Play: Michael Broskowski
Video: Rocky Vision (Free Video Broadcast)
Commentators: Raymond Simms, Gabe McDonough
Live Stats: GoLeathernecks.com
ALFRED D. BOYER STADIUM: Western Illinois baseball has called Alfred D. Boyer Stadium home since its opening in 2006. The stadium features permanent chairback seating for approximately 500 spectators, a press box with multiple booths for all media outlets, a Daktronics scoreboard and 60-foot-wide above-ground dugouts. The dimensions for the stadium are 330 ft. down the left and right field lines, 372 ft. to the power alleys and 400 ft. to straight away center field.
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.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN GRIZZLIES: Oakland enters Friday with a 5-18 overall record, including 3-13 on the road… Leading the Grizzlies in batting is infielder Kyle Bobolts with a .270 average and seven runs batted in… Outfielder Jared Theisen leads the team in RBI with 10 and has stolen 10 bases in 11 attempts… The top hurler for Oakland is Tim Koons who has pitched to a 3.35 earned run average and is 2-4 in six starts with one complete game… He has whiffed 41 batters in 40.1 innings… Senior reliever Russell Luxton Jr. has been solid out of the bullpen for Oakland, sporting a 2.13 ERA in 12.2 innings and two saves in nine appearances… Head coach John Musachio is in his sixth season as the leader of the Grizzlies… He claimed the 2012 Summit League Coach of the Year award… He currently holds a 109-178 overall record to this point in his head coaching career at Oakland.
SCOUTING THE MASTODONS: Fort Wayne enters the weekend with an 11-11 overall mark through their first 22-games... The Mastodons will first travel to Omaha on Friday (Apr. 5) for a doubleheader with the Mavericks before heading to Macomb to take on the Leathernecks... Markus Kalber leads the Mastodons in batting average (.350), hits (28), doubles (12) and slugging percentage (.575)... On the mound, Travis Reboulet has had the most success for Fort Wayne. He has a 2-1 record and 2.35 ERA in six appearances this year... At the helm for Fort Wayne is Bobby Pierce who enters his fifth season with the Mastodons. Pierce has a 74-161 career mark at Fort Wayne.
LAST TIME OUT: Western took on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second edition of the “Brownlee Bowl” last Tuesday (Apr. 2) in Iowa City... Leatherneck head coach Ryan Brownlee spent nine seasons as an assistant at Iowa and his father, Jim Brownlee, is the pitching coach for the Hawkeyes this season... Iowa came out on top 10-6 in the game, scoring five runs in two seperate innings... Western used 19 total players in the contest and was led by Steve Kedroski and Mark Garton who each recorded two hits apiece... The game was the final nonconference contest of the season for the Purple & Gold and the 24th straight road game for the team.
CLOSING TIME: Senior closer Brian Loconsole notched two saves at Michigan and now has five on the season... The righty is now 5-of-5 in save opportunities this year and is in a tie for first place for most single season saves in Western Illinois baseball history... Loconsole is also just one save away from the career saves mark of six... The Carol Stream Ill. native has made nine appearances so far this year and has a 1-1 record to go along with his five saves... Loconsole also has 10 strikeouts in his 12.2 innings pitched.
IN THE LEAGUE: Loconsole is tied for the league lead in saves with five this season... Aaron Michel is tied for the league lead in appearances with 10, while Loconsole is tied for fourth with nine appearances... Tom Constand is third in the league with a 2.42 ERA and John White is fourth with a 2.50 ERA (minimum 0.8 innings pitched a game)... White also ranks fourth in the league with 39.2 innings pitched this year... Zack Burling is ninth in the league in batting average with a .333 mark this season.
NATIONALLY SPEAKING: The Leathernecks strength of schedule is currently 68th in the nation out of 299 D1 baseball teams... Western’s RPI is also 157 according to warrernnolan.com... Loconsole is tied for 45th nationally in saves with 5... Dispensa is 29th nationally in triples per game (0.15) and 37th nationally with three triples this season.
DISPENSA RECORD WATCH: Dan Dispensa is currently in sole possession of third place for most hits at Western Illinois... The Chicago, Ill. native had two hits over the weekend, giving him 190 for his career... The senior has also played in 169 career games, which puts him in sole possession of seventh place at Western... Dispensa also has 11 career triples and is currently in a tie for fifth 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 eighth place for total bases with 256.
WEEKLY HONORS: Senior pitcher Brian Loconsole was named ‘Summit League Pitcher of the Week’ after picking up two saves during the Michigan series... 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, Wis. 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.
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.
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.