Falcon baseball drops two of three to Western

Coach Danny Schmitz often refers to baseball as being a three-phase game. To win a game, all three phases-pitching, defense and hitting-must be present on the field. The Falcons (8-10, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) opened up conference play last weekend as they took on Western Michigan, (5-13, 2-1 MAC) the team favored to win the MAC West Division, in a three-game series at Steller Field. On Friday, BG played well in all three phases of the game, but on Saturday and Sunday, a phase or two were missing. ‘Pitching, defense and hitting; that’s what it’s all about,’ Schmitz said. ‘We’re the type of team that has to have all three phases working [to win a game.] Friday – Falcons: 5, Broncos: 3 The Falcons got a hit from every spot in the batting order except one and Brennan Smith and Dusty Hawk combined on a five-hitter as they beat Western Michigan, 5-2. Smith, (3-2, 2.83 ERA) who threw 111 pitches in the game, pitched very well as he struck out five, allowing only five hits in seven innings of work. ‘Brennan has been throwing the ball real well,’ catcher Tyler Elkins said. ‘He was just throwing strikes and getting on top of hitters, mixing it up a lot [and] making good pitches.’ Hawk came out of the bullpen in relief of Smith in the eighth inning, striking out two and earning his first save of the season. In the game, Elkins, who up to this point had a hit in 11 straight games, had four hits and Mark Galvin and T.J. Blanton added two apiece, helping BG to a 14 hit afternoon. Saturday – Broncos: 13, Falcons: 12 The Broncos were able to win game two of the series 13-12 in a ten-inning affair. Ryan Shay tied the game at 12 in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run home run, but in the top half of tenth, Western took the lead for good as they loaded the bases, taking the lead on a sacrifice fly. BG had a strong game at the plate and played nearly flawless defense, only committing one error, but the pitching didn’t come through in the loss. ‘We had two of the three phases going today, our hitting and our defense was pretty darn good today,’ Schmitz said. ‘Our pitching right from the get-go wasn’t good at all.’ Four pitchers combined to allow 17 hits, 13 earned runs and put 10 batters on either through walks or hit batsmen. BG’s pitching struggles were highlighted in the top tenth of the half as the Broncos scored the winning run loading the bases without tallying a single hit. Losing pitcher Clay Duncan walked two Broncos and then loaded the bases hitting a batsman. Sunday – Broncos: 8, Falcons: 4 It was a pitchers duel through the fourth inning, and then in the fifth, the bats came alive. In a 40-minute fifth inning, WMU exploded for seven runs on seven hits, giving them a 7-0 lead over the Falcons. The Falcons, who had just six hits on the afternoon, answered back to WMU’s seven-run inning by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth. WMU scored again in the top of the seventh, bringing the score to 8-3, and the Falcons answered again with a run in the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, BG looked to be making a comeback when they loaded the bases with one out, but were unable to bring any runs across the plate. ‘We had some chances, but we didn’t capitalize,’ Schmitz said. ‘Today the hitting wasn’t there, that’s for sure.’ Tuesday at 3 p.m., the Falcons will face Findlay at Steller Field.