Sitting on top the MAC East

After beginning Friday tied for first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division with Akron, the BGSU Falcon softball squad took sole possession of first place over Easter weekend.

BG swept Ball State in a doubleheader on Friday and took one out of two against Miami on Saturday and Sunday, putting the team at 26-16 on the season, 9-3 in the MAC. The Falcons have won 11 straight games against Ball State and have shutout the Cardinals in their last four meetings.

“All I ask this team to do day in and day out is to come to the field with a fire and show their passion and commitment to BGSU softball every single game,” said coach Leigh Ross. “The rest should take care of itself.”

Senior Liz Vrabel notched both wins against the Cardinals, going 10 innings and allowing no runs on four hits, while fanning nine batters en route to her 12th win of the season. Vrabel got win number 13 on Sunday after going seven strong innings and allowing only four hits and one walk while striking out three Miami hitters.

“Our pitching staff is very talented and is coached by one of the finest pitching coaches in Division 1 softball in coach [Kyle] Jamieson,” Ross said. “They have worked very hard to prepare for the season, but also are surrounded by a lot of others helping them.”

The Falcons’ only loss of the weekend came on Saturday in Oxford where they fell 3-2 to the Red Hawks.

The two teams held each other scoreless through five and a half innings, until Miami’s Leslie Macedo broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run single and Breanna Robinson followed it up with and RBI groundout to put Miami up 3-0. Those runs ended a streak of 22 and two-thirds innings in which BG did not allow a run.

“As a staff I feel that we have improved so much over the years, one of the main additions was our assistant coach Kyle Jamieson coming in and giving us more knowledge and tweaking us to the point of perfection,” Vrabel said. “That along with Abby our catcher, who notices things we’re doing wrong or things we need to well during the game and she’s able to help us, and I don’t think a lot of teams have a catcher like Abby who is able to be our teacher as well as our teammate.”

The Falcons battled back in the seventh to score two runs on an RBI double from Ashley Zirkle that scored Abby Habicht and an RBI groundout by Dawnjene DeLong which scored Habicht. However, the Falcons would leave the bases loaded in the seventh after Miami’s Kelly Cabana, who has gone the distance in all 12 of Miami’s MAC games, was able to get out of the jam and get the final out.

But the Falcons would redeem themselves on Easter Sunday, exploding for ten runs on 13 hits en route to a 10-0 throttling of the Red Hawks.

A total of ten Falcon hitters had at least one hit in the victory, with the three, four and five hitters leading the way with five hits and seven RBI.

“We just stayed confident at the plate, swung at good pitches and adjusted to the pitcher after we hit groundout after groundout on Saturday,” said third-basemen Gina Rango.

Rango led the Falcon attack, going two-for-four on the afternoon with three RBI, all stemming from her sixth homerun of the season in the final inning.

“I’ve been more confident and loose at the plate and have just basically been trying to hit the ball harder,” Rango said.

Rango ranks first all time in BGSU softball history with 22 homeruns and her double against Ball State on Friday put her at 48 for her career, which moved her ahead of former Falcon slugger Dena Romstadt for first all-time.

Vrabel also made a few record book alterations herself this weekend after her two complete-game shutouts over Ball State and Miami put her at 26 for her career, which moved her ahead of former BGSU hurler Jennifer Wolf for first all time.

“I can’t say enough about Gina and Liz,” Ross said. “I am very proud of them and their accomplishments. They are two of the best to ever come through the program and it is nice to see that neither of them focuses on their own records but more importantly the team’s record.”

The Falcons return home for the next six games, starting this afternoon with a doubleheader against Oakland, who the Falcons beat 8-1 and 3-2 in two contests last season. The first pitch for game one of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the BGSU Softball Field.

MAC Standings East Division (MAC; Overall) 1. Bowling Green 9-3 ; 26-16 2. Akron 8-4 ; 19-17 3. Kent State 7-4 ; 17-19 4. Ohio 6-6 ; 22-24 5. Miami 3-9 ; 16-28 6. Buffalo 2-8 ; 10-31 West Division 1. Western Michigan 9-1 ; 21-10 2. Eastern Michigan 6-4 ; 18-21 3. Central Michigan 4-4 ; 13-19 4. Ball State 5-7 ; 11-19 5. Northern Illinois 3-7 ; 15-18 6. Toledo 3-8 ; 12-28

Making bg history: Gina Rango 1st all-time in: Batting average Homeruns doubles RBI Slugging percentage Games started

Liz Vrabel 1st all-time in: Strikeouts Strikeouts per 7 innings Shutouts