Falcons struggling at plate

Liz Vrabel notched her 14th complete game of the season Wednesday against DePaul, but the rest of the BGSU softball team left their bats in Bowling Green as the Falcons were shutout by the Blue Demons 8-0 and 1-0 in two games in Chicago.

“DePaul had great pitching, but I just think that we pushed too much to try to get hits and when we push we really don’t do well,” said center fielder Jeanine Baca, who with two hits on the day moved to 13th all time in Falcon softball history. “We weren’t really relaxed up there like we know how to be.”

The two losses put the Falcons at 30-20 on the season and they also marked the fifth and sixth time that the team has been shutout this season, all of which have come against non conference opponents.

DePaul’s Stephanie Blagaich pitched 12 innings in the two games, allowing just six hits and allowing only one runner past second base while improving to 11-3 on the year. She sat down 13 consecutive Falcon hitters to start game two, until Allison Vallas belted a one-out single in the fifth inning to end Blagaich’s perfect game.

Although she took the loss, Vrabel matched Blagaich pitch-for-pitch in game two, until the bottom of the sixth when DePaul’s Jackie Tarulli-Fisher belted a solo homerun over the leftfield fence to put the Blue Demons up 1-0.

DePaul, which was one of eight teams to reach the Women’s College World Series last season, improved to 27-15.

The loss put Vrabel at 16-10 on the season and the homerun by Tarulli-Fisher was the 10th long-ball given up by Vrabel this season. Her six strikeouts on the afternoon put her at 750 for her career, which is best all time in BGSU history and third all time in Mid-American Conference history.

Sophomore Emily Gouge, who has been lights-out for the Falcons all season, fell to 7-1 on the season, giving up eight runs on 11 Blue Demon hits over five innings. The 8-0 blanking marked the first time the Falcons lost a ‘run rule’ game since their 10-1 loss to Marshall on March 31, 2004.

Senior and reigning MAC Player of the Year Gina Rango went 1-for-4 – the one hit being the 250th of her career.

The Falcons will head back to the friendly confines of Bowling Green this weekend for a MAC match-up against archrival Toledo.

The Falcons went 2-1 against the Rockets last season, garnering 21 hits in the two victories, while Vrabel went the distance in both of those wins, striking out 16.

The games will be the final home games for Falcon seniors Liz Vrabel, Gina Rango, Abby Habicht and Lindsay Heimrich, with Sunday’s game preceded by ‘Senior Day’ ceremonies.

“It’s going to be sad for all of us. We’ve grown each other since my freshman year and we’ve become close, so to watch them go is going to be really sad,” Baca said. “But these two games we’re just going to do it for the seniors. This is our last home game and we’re going to out big for them.”

The game on Saturday is at 2 p.m. and the game on Sunday is at 1 p.m., both at the BGSU Softball Field.