MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich – Central Michigan Softball enters the Mid-American Conference Tournament as the third seed, finishing the regular season with 15 conference wins.
The Chippewas open the tournament with the winner of Ohio and Bowling Green on Wednesday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. All games will be played at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio.
Central Michigan swept Bowling Green at Margo Jonker Stadium on April 19, 4-2 and 5-0. The Chippewas split with Ohio over the weekend, losing game one 7-3 but rebounded in game two 13-5.
The Chippewas finished the season fourth in the MAC with a team batting average of .295 and third with 107 runs scored. Central Michigan’s pitching staff combined for five shutouts against conference opponents and posted an ERA of 2.82, fourth in the MAC.
Senior Macy Merchant finished the regular season leading the MAC with a .474 batting average and 36 hits. With seven hits over the weekend, she moved into the top 10 in program history with 190 career hits, and now ranks in the top 10 for career hits, steals (71), and runs (111).
Senior Brogan Darwin has made an immediate impact, moving up the batting order and leading the team with a .484 batting average over the previous 10 games. She hit two doubles and drove home five runs over the weekend at Akron and Ohio, leading the team with eight hits.
Senior Kara Dornbos leads Central Michigan with 12 wins in the circle this season and has pitched five shutouts. She has made 23 starts, 16 of which went for complete games. Dornbos has held conference opponents to a .227 average at the plate and has a season ERA of 2.84. She has earned Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Week honors twice this season, and has been named to the Capital One Academic All-District V First Team.
Sophomore CarolAnn Sexuaer has recorded 19 extra base hits this season, including six homeruns. Junior Cory DeLamielleure and freshman Katelyn Rentschler have also hit six homeruns on the year.
Central Michigan will look to rebound after last year’s loss in the tournament finals. The Chippewas entered the 2012 MAC Tournament on a five-game win streak and as the No. 6 seed. After defeating Kent State and Bowling Green in the two rounds, Central Michigan defeated Miami 1-0 to reach the semi-finals. The Chippewas won their ninth straight game, stumping Western Michigan 2-0. The RedHawks, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, survived the loser’s bracket to play Central Michigan in the finals. Miami was able to sweep the finals against Central Michigan to win the MAC Tournament for the second time in program history.
With 29 wins this season, Coach Margo Jonker has improved her win total to 1,096 over her 34-year career at Central Michigan. Jonker ranks 14th all-time in the NCAA among all divisions. She is 7th among active Division I coaches and 10th all-time in Division I.
The Chippewas are 42-20 all-time in the MAC Tournament and have won it nine times, most recently in 2002. No other school has won the tournament more than Central Michigan, with Western Michigan the next closest at three wins.