The Viking Report (March 27). . .

March 27, 2007

Contact: Brian McCann

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Softball Opens Horizon League Play At Home...
14-3 Vikings Continue Best Start In Program History

Off to the best start in school history at 14-3, the softball team returns north to play five games this week as the schedule swings into high gear. The Vikings will open the 2007 home schedule on Wednesday (March 28) against Ohio beginning at 3:00 p.m. CSU will then host UW-Green Bay for three games over the weekend to begin Horizon League play. The Vikings and Phoenix will play two games on Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m. followed by a single game on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

"We really need to be more aggressive in all aspects of the game, but especially at the plate," head coach Angie Nicholson said. "We left a lot of runners in scoring position over the weekend and that can't happen if we hope to continue our early success. It's very exciting to get into Horizon League play this weekend and see how we're going to stack up against the rest of the conference."

Cleveland State extended its winning streak to six games before falling in its final contest at the UMBC Spring Classic over the weekend in Baltimore, Md. The Vikings allowed just one earned run in dispatching Sacred Heart, Niagara and Holy Cross, before falling to the host Retrievers to finish second in the event. Sophomore Haley Keller paced CSU at the plate, hitting .600 (6-10) with three runs scored and a pair of RBI, while classmate Danielle Young went 5-for-11 (.455) with three RBI and two runs scored. In the circle, freshman Amanda Macenko went 3-1 to improve to 11-2 on the year.

Baseball Plays Five Road Games This Week...
Vikings Finally Return Home For April 3 Opener

The Cleveland State baseball team (3-17, 1-2 HL) will have two midweek non-conference games this week before playing a three-game league set this week. The Vikings will make the short trips to Kent State on Tuesday (March 27) and Akron on Wednesday (March 28) with both games schedule to start at 3:00 p.m. CSU then travels to Butler for a three-game set starting with a 3:00 p.m. contest on Friday (March 30).

"We're still making a few mistakes, especially errors, that are hurting us," head coach Kevin Kocks said. "But we got our offense on track and our pitching continues to keep us in ballgames. We can definitely compete with the teams in our league."

Despite going 1-3 last week, the Vikings made large strides at the plate and in the field. Senior John Westra exploded for 12 hits and seven RBI in four games last week, starting with two hits in a 5-3 loss at Notre Dame last Tuesday (March 20). Westra continued his tear throughout the weekend against Wright State, collecting two doubles, two walks and a home run. The Vikings also had their first game with no errors in Friday's 7-2 win over Wright State, in which senior Stephen Procner threw a seven-hit complete game for his first win of the season. CSU dropped 11-10 and 6-4 decisions to Wright State to close the weekend. Junior Bobby Cash and Westra are tied with a .321 batting average to lead the team while junior Wallace Richardson is hitting .281. Senior Pat McKitrick continues to be CSU's most effective pitcher, posting a 1.89 ERA in 10 relief appearances.

Men's Golf Wins Butler Spring Invitational. . .

Behind a career-best performance from sophomore Jake Scott, the men's golf team won its first title of the year -- and third in the past two seasons -- last week at the Butler Spring Invitational (March 19-20). The Vikings shot consecutive six-over par rounds of 294 to finish at 588 -- 14 strokes clear of runner-up Oakland. The victory was the first for first-year head coach Brian Varsey. Meanwhile, Scott fired back-to-back even par rounds of 72 to finish two shots ahead of Oakland's Frank McAuliff and become the 14th CSU golfer to earn medalist honors since 1994. He led a contingent of four Vikings in the top 10.

"The guys did a nice job of sticking to their routines and playing solid in breezy conditions," Varsey said. "It's not always easy to play with the lead, but they were strong from start to finish. It's a great feeling and a good confidence-builder this early in the spring."

Women's Golf Competes For Third Time In Two Weeks...

In the middle of the busiest stretch of the season, the women's golf team travels to Leesburg, Va. for the Georgetown Hoya Invitational on April 1-2. The event will take place at the par 72, 5,576-yard Raspberry Falls GC -- a links-style layout by Gary Player.

"As a relatively young team, this will be a good experience playing against a pretty strong field on a tough course," head coach Brian Varsey said. "The team just needs to focus on learning and growing as players."

The women competed in a pair of tournaments last week, finishing seventh at the Butler Spring Invitational (March 19-20) and 18th at the William & Mary Invitational (March 24-25). At Butler, freshman Katie Broere carded back-to-back career-best rounds of 80 to finish in a tie for fourth. Sophomore Mallory Wyderka then fired a team season-low 75 in the opening round of the W & M event.

Men's Tennis Hosts Walsh, Plays At Duquesne. . .

The Cleveland State men's tennis team (12-6, 1-0 HL) continues non-conference play this week as it hosts NAIA Walsh University on Thursday (March 29) before traveling to Duquesne on Friday. The contest against Walsh is set for 1:00 p.m. and will be played at the Malaga Tennis Center if the weather permits.

"Walsh and Duquesne are both very competitive teams," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "We will be in conference play soon, so we're just trying to keep competing to get ourselves ready."

The Vikings split two matches last week, defeating Youngstown State, 6-1, on Friday (March 23) before losing to St. Bonaventure two days later by the same score. Senior Dan Singer was the only Viking to go 2-0 last week, winning both of his matches at No. 4 singles. Freshman Ryan Hamning is now 22-10 at No. 3 singles and sophomore Rob West has run his singles record to 18-7. The doubles point continues to be the key for CSU, as the Vikings have won it in all 12 of their victories.

Women's Tennis Preps For Horizon League Slate...

The Cleveland State women's tennis team (10-8, 1-0 HL) is idle this week, continuing its preparation for the league opener against defending champion UIC on April 6. The Vikings have not played since concluding their four-match spring break trip at BYU Hawaii on March 14.

"The time off now is helping us because we're resting up while at the same time practicing hard and getting ourselves ready for the league schedule," head coach Brian Etzkin said.

Senior Sarah Galon continues to lead the Vikings at the top of the lineup, posting a 21-9 singles record. She is also 16-12 with three different doubles partners. Freshmen Denisa Muntean (10-14) and Charlotte Gibbons (16-10) have switched between Nos. 2 and 3 singles, followed by juniors Lindsay Sellers (4-11) and Jenn Myers (10-7) at Nos. 4 and 5. Sophomore Kristin Chamberlain (12-10) is the usual starter in the sixth spot, with junior Christine Vogelgesang (5-13) also competing at No. 6.

Viking High Fives

Angie Nicholson -- The first-year CSU softball coach continues to have the Vikings playing their best ball, improving to 14-3 by going 3-1 last week. Eight regulars are hitting .292 or better, while the pitchers have put together a 1.11 ERA.

John Westra -- The senior went 12-for-17 in four games last week to raise his average to .321. He has been errorless in center field while posting six straight multi-hit games.

Underclass Golfers -- Sophomore Jake Scott and freshman Katie Broere swept the Horizon League Golfer of the Week honors on March 21 for their outstanding performances at the Butler Spring Invitational.

Dan Singer -- The senior won both of his singles matches last week, picking up No. 4 singles wins versus Youngstown State and St. Bonaventure. He also teamed with junior Brad Groleski to go 1-1 at No. 2 doubles.

The Schedule Ahead For The Vikings

March 27 (Tuesday)
Baseball at Kent State
Kent, OH, 3:00 p.m.

March 28 (Wednesday)
Softball hosts Ohio (2)
Viking Field, 3:00 p.m.

Baseball at Akron
Akron, OH, 3:00 p.m.

March 29 (Thursday)
Men's Tennis hosts Walsh
Malaga Tennis Center, 1:00 p.m.

March 30 (Friday)
Baseball at Butler
Indianapolis, OH, 3:00 p.m.

Men's Tennis at Duquesne
Pittsburgh, PA, 6:00 p.m.

March 31 (Saturday)
Softball hosts UW-Green Bay (2)
Viking Field, 1:00 p.m.

April 1 (Sunday)
Softball hosts UW-Green Bay
Viking Field, 1:00 p.m.

Women's Golf at Georgetown Hoya Invitational
Leesburgh, VA