East division revival

Chris Rambo and Chris Rambo

Spring is supposed to be the season of renewal. So far this April, the sloppy play of the BG softball team has meshed nicely with the accompanying miserable weather. Since winning their first two Mid-American Conference games to close out March, the Falcons have receded into a tailspin, losing eight games in a row, slumping to a 2-8 MAC record in the process. This weekend, with the skies clearing and the mercury expected to rise, coach Shannon Salsburg’s unit will attempt to push the reset button on their season when they welcome Akron to Meserve Field for a doubleheader today and then Ohio for a two game series tomorrow and Sunday. The Zips come into the weekend with an overall record of 21-16 and an 8-4 record in the MAC. The Bobcats check in at 16-17 and 6-6 in the MAC. Salsburg knows that if the Falcons are to accomplish their previously stated goal of reaching the MAC tournament, this weekend needs to serve as a turning point. ‘I gathered our team after last weekend and said basically that we have 12 MAC games left and that if we can come out with a winning record in those games we should be in the [MAC] tournament, which was our goal to start the season,’ Salsburg said. ‘ But it will not be easy. ‘ According to Salsburg, both weekend opponents are vastly improved squads from a year ago. ‘ The Zips, who lead the MAC in both steals and fielding percentage, sport a solid pitching staff, led by Andrea Arney (13-11 2.37 ERA) while Julie Boyes supplies the punch on offense with seven home runs and 24 RBIs. The Bobcats enter this weekend on a tear, having won eight of their last 10 games. They lead the MAC in hitting, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored and RBIs. ‘The keys for us this weekend will be pitching and defense,’ Salsburg said. ‘We also need to do a good job at coming out aggressive early on.’ During their present skid, the Falcons have been outscored 53-19 while committing 23 errors. However, despite how grim the stretch has been, Salsburg says her team is not pressing. ‘ ‘We are still just taking it one game at a time,’ Salsburg said. ‘It is important that we don’t get caught up in all that stuff [the streak] we just have to keep playing.’