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Falcons fall to Ohio in 13-inning thriller

BG’s surprising turnaround season came to a close Friday with a 7-3 loss to the Bobcats in a MAC Tournament elimination game.

After six scoreless innings thrown by Kevin Leady and Ohio starter Matt Smith, the Bobcats broke through with a three-run seventh. BG countered with two runs in the home half of the inning and a single run in the ninth to send the contest to extra frames.

However, Ohio reliever Adam Goodpasture would shut the door, allowing just two hits in the final four innings. The Bobcats platted four runs in the top of the 13th to take a 7-3 lead, while the Falcons went down in order.

Senior Andrew Foster started the Falcons’ rally to get to extra innings as he connected with a two RBI single bringing BG within one run.

With BG just two outs from defeat Brandon McFarland kept the Falcons alive with a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth, tying the game.

Senior Nick Cantrell started his final outing for BG in relief by getting his team out of a bases loaded jam with no outs in the 10th inning.

But the Bobcats kept coming, finally prevailing in the 13th after the Falcons failed to rebuttal. BG had beaten Ohio in all four previous match-ups this season including a first round tournament game.

Last Wednesday BG jumped out to a 3-0 lead then held on to defeat Ohio 5-4 in the opening round of the MAC Tournament. Sophomore Frank Berry pitched a stellar 7 1/3 innings allowing just two runs on six hits. “We knew we were only going to go as far as pitching would take us and Frank was outstandng,” BG head coach Danny Schmitz said. Junior shortstop Ryan Shay led the Falcons at the plate, finishing 3-for-4.

With the win, BG advanced to play Eastern Michigan last Thursday. The Falcons would see their 12 game winning streak in the month of May come to an end, losing 11-4 to the West Division regular season champs.

The turning point of the game occurred when the Eagles broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth with back to back home runs to take a 5-2 lead. The Falcons never seemed to recover at the plate while their bull-pen struggled to keep the game close.

The loss set the stage for the rematch against the Bobcats.

While BG fell short of their first MAC Tournament title in nine years, the season was a great success. After only winning seven league games a year ago, the Falcons compiled the fourth-best conference turnaround in the nation. BG finished the year 32-20 overall and 16-8 in the MAC. The Falcons also earned a share of the regular season title. “Team chemistry and leadership contributed to a successful year,” Schmitz said.

The Falcons are young, but experienced with only three seniors. Along with Foster and Cantrell, BG sees Brett Browning graduate. “I’m proud of our seniors, they played big all season especially down the stretch,” Schmitz said. “We are not satisfied. We want to carry over to next season.”

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