Flyers top Falcons in 12

Oh, the one that got away.

In a game that at the start looked like a potential slugfest, a pitcher’s duel broke out, with the BG baseball team (14-20, 2-10) losing a close one to Dayton (16-19, 5-7), 9-8, in the 12th inning.

BG took the field for the game looking a little younger than usual. Coach Danny Schmitz opted to sit his seniors in order to play some of the underclassmen. Their output throughout the game was a good sign.

“The effort was there,” Schmitz said. “We played a lot of young guys today. I thought they brought some energy. They swung the bats because the veterans haven’t been swinging the bats, so I was proud of all the young kids that got in today – I thought they did a real good job.”

Kevin Leady (0-2) took the mound for the Falcons, and got off to a rough start. The first inning saw Dayton shortstop Michael Massa hit the first pitch of the game for a triple. Catcher Scott Dunwoody hit next and drove in Massa with a double to the right field corner. The first inning hit parade would continue, with the next four hitters reaching base safely, giving the Flyers a 4-0 lead.

With no outs in the inning, BG coach Danny Schmitz went to the bullpen and brought in right-hander Matt Walters, who with runners on the corners threw two wild pitches, allowing another run to score. After a sacrifice fly to score another run and a two-out walk, Massa came up and hit his second triple of the inning, driving the score up to 7-0.

The BG bats would answer in the first, though, as second baseman Logan Meisler led off by doubling to right-center. Right fielder Mark Galvin then singled to left-center to drive in the Falcons’ first run of the game. The momentum of the first two at bats would continue, as a hit-by-pitch, a double, two singles and a force play would help the Falcons cut the lead to 7-4 after the first inning.

After giving up a run in the top of the second, BG would strike again in the bottom half of the inning. Meisler and Galvin both singled, and with one out in the inning, designated hitter Brandon McFarland doubled to right center field and drove in both runners. After two innings, a slugfest was in the works at 8-6.

But something changed after the second, and the bats for both teams cooled down for the rest of the game. Pitchers Brett Browning and Corey Weiland both came on in relief for BG and tossed five shutout innings a piece. For Dayton, Cale Ort, Phil Ernst, Alex Dye and Lucas Farden pitched 11 combined innings and give up only one earned run.

BG scored another run in the bottom of the sixth when McFarland singled to right, scoring Meisler from third. Dayton was now holding on to a slim 8-7 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Catcher Travis Owens reached base on an error, got to second on a sacrifice bunt by Meisler, made it to third on a passed ball and finally scored the tying run of the game on a Marty Baird single to right. At 8-8, it was a brand new ballgame.

After a scoreless ninth, the game went into extra innings. The 12th inning proved to be the last of the game, as Dayton pinch runner Frank Tedesco scored on a Michael DeLuca single to center. The Falcons couldn’t answer, and the offensive display-turned-pitcher’s duel ended with Dayton winning 9-8.

Even though the final score didn’t work in BG’s favor, the game that just got away showed some positive signs.

“It’s quite obvious we didn’t get off to a good start,” Schmitz said. “But I was very proud of what our bullpen did after that with Brett Browning coming in and holding the fort and then Corey Weiland came in and pitched outstanding. They just scratched a run across in the 12th.

“We didn’t quit, we tied the score in the eighth inning which was good, but we had some chances to win the game in extra innings.”

BG will aim to get back into the win column this afternoon when Toledo comes to town for a 3 p.m. game at Stellar Field.