Falcon softball drops four MAC games over weekend

After starting 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference, the Falcon softball team looked to keep it going as they traveled to the MAC West for four games over the weekend. The first stop for BG was Kalamazoo on Friday, where they were swept by Western Michigan in a doubleheader 5-2 and 7-1. As they’ve done so often this season, the Falcons jumped out to an early lead, scoring a run in the second with an RBI single off the bat of Rachel Proehl. After WMU tied the game in the third, Hayley Wiemer got touched up again in the fourth after two hits led to two WMU runs, giving them a 3-1 lead. Single runs in the fifth and sixth were enough to give the Broncos a 5-2 victory. Wiemer went six innings, striking out five while allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits. Leading the offense for BG was Proehl going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Game two was much of the same story for the Falcons, who were once again done in by a lack of offense. After breezing through two scoreless innings, Wiemer ran into trouble in the third when WMU went on top 2-0. After the Broncos struck for another run in the fourth, Wiemer was relieved in favor of Melissa Bott. Bott surrendered four more runs in the sixth, but it had little impact on the outcome as the Falcons were only able to muster a single run on two hits. The Falcons were outhit 19-7 and outscored 12-3 in the two losses. From there, it was on to DeKalb, Ill., where the offense came alive, but the pitching was unable to follow suit as the Falcons were swept in a doubleheader with Northern Illinois, 7-6 and 9-6 Saturday. Wiemer took the ball in game one and seemed to have matters well in hand as she entered the bottom of the sixth having been staked to a 6-2 lead. However, after a two-out double by Zoe Sinner, the Huskies had cut the deficit in half entering the seventh. After holding the Falcons scoreless in the top half of the frame, NIU went right back to work against Wiemer, tying the game on a two-run triple by Kayla Kramer and winning it one batter later when Kramer scored on a squeeze bunt by Emily Gooding. Despite the fact that her prized ace had let up two runs the inning prior, coach Shannon Salsburg never considered removing Wiemer going into the seventh. ‘I never once considered taking Hayley out,’ Salsburg said. ‘She is our ace and nine times out of 10 she shuts the door in that occasion. Today just wasn’t one of those days.’ Sontag catalyzed the offense in the first game, going 3-for-4 and scoring three runs, while Karmen Coffey supplied a three run triple in the third. Bott took the ball for the Falcons for game two and was hit hard early, surrendering nine runs in the first three innings, placing the BG in a 9-1 hole entering the fourth. The Falcons refused to go quietly however, battling back with two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings along with one in the sixth to narrow the deficit to 9-6. BG would twice bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Missy Bowman and Bielstein each went down swinging to end the game. In addition to coming up short on the scoreboard Saturday, the Falcons experienced a potentially damaging loss of a different kind before game one with the Huskies was even an inning old. Proehl, the freshman shortstop who had emerged as a key cog in the offensive attack, was hit by a pitch leading off the game and was later determined to have suffered a fractured arm, sidelining her for 4-6 weeks. Salsburg plans to deal with Proehl’s absence by shifting Coffey over to short and sliding Bielstein into second base. The Falcons, who drop to 7-18 and 2-4 in the MAC, will return home this weekend to face Ball State in a doubleheader Friday and Miami in a two-game series Saturday and Sunday.