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2024 MAC Baseball Tournament Preview 

Ball State seeks to repeat, while Bowling Green looks to continue their historic season 
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MAC
The bracket for the 2024 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Baseball Tournament in Avon, Ohio.

After months of competition, the field is officially set for the 2024 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Baseball Tournament.   

The double-elimination tournament will take place from Wednesday to Saturday at Crushers Stadium in Avon, Ohio.  

Falcon Media Sports Network’s (FMSN) Tyler Kavalecz and Chas McNeil will have on-site coverage throughout the tournament on bgfalconmedia.com, FMSN’s X account and radio broadcasts on 88.1 WBGU and Falcon Radio. 

Here is a look at the six teams battling for a conference tournament championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.  

Bowling Green – 3 MAC Tournament Championships (1998, 1999, 2013) 

Bowling Green (32-18, 24-6 MAC), the top seed in the tournament, is one of the best stories in college baseball.  

From the program being briefly dissolved in 2020 to being picked to finish eighth in the MAC preseason poll, the Falcons rewrote the program and conference history books en route to their first outright MAC Regular Season Championship since 2009 

The Orange and Brown set program records for most All-MAC selections in a season (11), most runs scored in a MAC game (34), most runs batted in (RBI) in a game (33), best home start (10-0), best MAC start (17-0), most walks drawn in a single season (296) and most strikeouts thrown in a single season (379).  

The Falcons, the last undefeated team in conference play in the nation this season, also set the MAC record for best start in conference play at 17-0.  

BGSU’s offense is one of the best in the country.  

The Falcons average 9.4 runs scored per game, the sixth most in the nation, trailing only Austin Peay (11.1), Wofford (10.4), Morehead State (9.7), Virginia (9.6) and Columbia (9.5)  

BGSU ranks 13th in the country with a .425 on-base percentage (OBP), 15th with 471 runs scored, 23rd with 296 walks drawn, 26th with a .308 batting average (BA), 47th with a .508 slugging percentage (SLG) and 49th with 82 stolen bases.  

However, Bowling Green’s pitching staff has not been nearly as dominant as their offense.  

The Falcons rank fifth in the MAC with a 6.78 earned run average (ERA) and seventh with 379 strikeouts and a .303 opponent batting average (BAA).   

BGSU’s pitchers have also given up 98 doubles and thrown 48 wild pitches, the third most in the conference.  

BG is led by MAC Coach of the Year, Kyle Hallock, MAC Player of the Year, Nathan Archer and MAC Freshman of the Year, Garrett Wright 

Archer, a junior outfielder, led the conference with 65 runs scored. He also ranked third with three triples and 62 RBI, sixth with 72 hits and 17 home runs and 10th with a .614 slugging percentage (SLG).  

Wright, a freshman catcher, leads the MAC with a .506 OBP. He also ranks second with a .393 BA and fourth with a 1.113 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).  

Western Michigan – 1 MAC Tournament Championship (2016) 

Western Michigan (29-21, 19-11 MAC) finds themselves as the second seed in the tournament, finishing five games behind Bowling Green.  

The Broncos possess arguably the best offense in the MAC.  

They lead the conference with a .314 BA and 545 hits while landing second with 12 triples, a .483 SLG and a .414 OBP.  

WMU is one of the most consistent teams in the tournament, as they are also near the top of the MAC in pitching. 

Their pitching staff leads the conference with a 5.78 ERA and five shutouts. WMU’s pitchers also lead the MAC with just 490 hits, 322 runs, 280 earned runs and 196 walks allowed.  

Western Michigan also managed to land on the national radar, ranking 10th in the country in shutouts, 15th in BA and 32nd in OBP.  

One major advantage the Broncos have is the fact that they have won every regular season series against their potential MAC Tournament opponents except Ball State.  

The Broncos are led by All-MAC First Team selections CJ Richmond and Cade Sullivan 

Richmond, a junior infielder/outfielder, leads the MAC with a .398 BA and a 1.187 OPS. He also ranks second with a .496 OBP, third with a .691 SLG, fifth with 16 doubles and 60 RBI and 10th with 12 home runs.  

Sullivan, a senior infielder who was a member of last year’s MAC All-Tournament Team, ranks third in the conference with a .390 BA, 63 runs scored and a .484 OBP, sixth with a 1.104 OPS and five sacrifice flies and eighth with a .620 SLG and 36 walks.  

Ball State – 2 MAC Tournament Championships (2006, 2023) 

Ball State (32-21-1, 18-12 MAC) is the reigning MAC Tournament champion.  

After starting conference play just 1-7, the Cardinals were only one win shy of the second seed for this year’s tournament, ultimately falling to the third seed after losing the last game of the regular season to Kent State.  

BSU is another tournament team that can do it on the mound and in the batter’s box 

Ball State’s offense is one of the highest-powered in the MAC.  

The Cardinals lead the conference with 87 home runs and 107 doubles. They also rank second with 384 runs scored and a .507 SLG, third with 12 triples, fourth with a .293 BA and sixth with a .383 OBP.  

However, their pitching has been their strength this season.  

BSU pitchers lead the MAC with 508 strikeouts. They also rank second with a .281 BAA and fourth with a 6.12 ERA.  

The Cardinals are led by MAC Pitcher of the Year, Merritt Beeker, and MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Keegan Johnson 

Beeker, a junior left-hander, leads the MAC with eight wins, 116 strikeouts and 40 strikeouts looking. He also ranks fourth with a 4.50 ERA, sixth with a .244 BAA and ninth with 72 innings pitched.  

Johnson, a freshman left-hander, is also tied for the MAC lead with eight wins. Additionally, he ranks third with a .229 BAA, fourth with 25 strikeouts looking, sixth with 77 strikeouts and seventh with a 4.68 ERA.  

Miami (OH) — 3 MAC Tournament Championships (1983, 2000, 2005) 

Miami (26-25, 17-13 MAC) enters the postseason tournament as the fourth seed.  

The RedHawk’s offense has been solid this season.  

MU leads the MAC with 13 triples and 39 sacrifice flies. They also rank second with 27 sacrifice hits, third with 383 runs scored and a .391 OBP, fifth with a .283 BA, sixth with 59 home runs, a .448 SLG and 244 walks drawn and eighth with 88 doubles.  

Miami’s pitching has also been good this season.  

The RedHawks rank fourth in the MAC with a .290 BAA and sixth with a 6.95 ERA and 389 strikeouts.  

But MU pitchers have walked 311 batters and given up 19 triples, the most and second-most in the conference, respectively. However, they have been very good at limiting power, allowing just 50 home runs this season, the fewest in the MAC.  

Miami’s offense is powered by All-MAC First Team honorees Zach MacDonald and Ryland Zaborowski 

MacDonald, a junior outfielder, leads the MAC with 65 runs scored, 20 home runs and a .711 SLG. He also ranks second with a 1.183 OPS, third with three triples, fourth with 61 RBI and a .472 OBP, seventh with 14 stolen bases and 10th with a .345 BA.  

Meanwhile, Zaborowski, a redshirt junior infielder/outfielder, ranks second in the conference with six sacrifice flies and seventh with 37 walks drawn.  

Kent State – 12 MAC Tournament Championships (1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018) 

Kent State (27-25, 17-13), who lost to Ball State in last year’s MAC Tournament Championship, enters this year’s tournament as the fifth seed.   

KSU’s offense is one of the most productive in the MAC.  

The Golden Flashes rank second in the conference with 261 walks drawn, third with 97 doubles and 82 home runs, fourth with 378 runs scored and a .477 SLG, sixth with a .383 OBP and seventh with a .266 BA.  

Kent State enters the tournament as one of the most well-rounded teams, as their pitching is just as good, if not better, than their offense.  

The Golden Flashes rank third in the MAC with a 5.98 ERA and 444 strikeouts.  

KSU pitchers have allowed just 200 walks and 57 home runs, the second and third-fewest marks in the conference, respectively.  

Kent State is led by All-MAC First Team selections Josh Johnson and Calvin Bickerstaff 

Johnson, a redshirt senior outfielder, ranks second in the MAC with 20 stolen bases, fifth with 60 RBI and ninth with a 1.042 OPS, 69 hits and 13 home runs.  

Bickerstaff, a redshirt junior pitcher, ranks fourth in the conference with a .239 BAA and sixth with a 4.56 ERA. Across 53.1 innings pitched, Bickerstaff allowed the fewest BB (four) and second-fewest hits (49), runs (30), earned runs (27) and doubles (eight) in the MAC.  

Toledo – 0 MAC Tournament Championships 

Toledo (25-30, 16-14 MAC) enters the tournament as the sixth and final seed. Although they could’ve finished as high as the second seed going into the final series of the season, they were swept by the regular season champion Falcons, falling to the bottom seed. 

Although Toledo has a lot of power in their lineup, they have not been an efficient offensive team.  

The Rockets rank second in the MAC with 86 home runs, third with 257 walks drawn, sixth with 347 runs scored, seventh with a .445 SLG, eighth with a .264 BA, ninth with a .367 OBP and last with 75 doubles and four triples.  

However, UT’s pitching staff is arguably the best in the conference.  

Toledo leads the MAC with a 5.78 ERA and a .272 BAA. The Rockets have also allowed just 72 doubles, the fewest in the conference while striking out 448, the second-most in the MAC.  

The Rockets are guided by All-MAC First Team honorees Garret Pike and Grant Umberger 

Pike, a junior outfielder who holds UT’s career and single-season home run records, leads the MAC with 20 home runs and 80 hits. He also ranks fourth with 56 runs scored and a .676 SLG, fifth with a 1.112 OPS, sixth with a .360 BAA, eighth with 53 RBI and ninth with 13 stolen bases.  

Umberger, a senior pitcher, leads the conference with a 3.82 ERA and 14 games started. The left-hander also ranks second with a .225 BAA, fifth with five wins, sixth with 24 strikeouts looking and seventh with 75 strikeouts.  

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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Tyler Kavalecz, Sports Production Director

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