Kent State and Buffalo split with BG softball over weekend

The BG softball team entered last weekend’s four-game home stand lodged in a four-way tie for the final spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. For the Falcons to have a post-season, a strong showing against Buffalo and Kent State last weekend was essential. While the Falcons certainly didn’t seize control of their fate, they didn’t exactly torpedo their chances either, coming away with a .500 record after splitting a double-header with the Bulls Friday and doing the same with the Golden Flashes in a two-game series Saturday and yesterday. Friday, Game 1: BG 7, Buffalo 1 Game one against Buffalo was barely two innings old when the Falcons received a moderate scare. With one out in the top of the third and runners on second and third, ace pitcher Hayley Wiemer was struck in the pitching arm on a line drive back up the middle. A Buffalo runner crossed the plate, while Wiemer stood on the mound grimacing in pain. After a few tense moments of uncertainty, it was determined Wiemer would stay in the game. Perhaps refocused by her close call, Wiemer proceeded to retire the next two hitters, limiting the damage to a single run. After holding Buffalo scoreless in the top of the fourth, Wiemer got the Falcon offense going with an opposite-field single in the bottom of the frame. Following a Susan Sontag single and a passed ball, Haleigh Bielstein doubled to the gap in left-center field, plating two runs and giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead. After the Falcons added an additional two runs, the Bulls mounted a threat in the sixth, placing runners on first and second with one out. But Wiemer would squirm free, striking out Terese Diaz and getting Sharon Barr to fly out to right. With that obstacle cleared, Wiemer strode to the plate in the bottom of the inning and removed all doubt concerning the game’s outcome, belting a towering three-run homer through the flagpole-bending breeze to give the Falcons a comfortable 7-1 lead, which they would not relinquish as the lone senior, Wiemer, earned her eighth victory of the season. Friday, Game 2: Buffalo 2, BG 1 Wiemer was back in the circle for game two, as the Falcons went for the sweep. In the first inning, it appeared the Falcon bats would pick right up where they left off in game one, drawing first blood quickly when Melissa West singled and scored on a throwing error to make it 1-0. The offense, however, would struggle mightily thereafter, as Bulls pitcher Diaz turned in a sterling performance, allowing only one more hit-also to West-for the remainder of the afternoon. For her part, Wiemer fought valiantly. Although lacking the command she enjoyed in the opener, Wiemer kept the Bulls off the scoreboard through the first four innings, working out of tight jams in both the third and fourth. It was in the fifth where she would finally crack however, yielding two runs thanks to an RBI single by Kristen Gallipani and a throwing error by Bielstein, giving the Bulls a 2-1 lead. It would be all the UB offense needed as Diaz seemed to grow more dominant as the afternoon wore on. Over the final two innings, the Falcons would fail to reach base while striking out three times. Wiemer, who was yet again the victim of poor run support, saw her record drop to 8-19. Saturday: BG 8, Kent State 0 The Golden Flashes entered the game with a 13-2 record in the MAC, but the Falcons were not impressed, winning 8-0 in six innings. Wiemer started in the circle for BG, and already had four strikeouts through the first two innings. The Falcon bats got going in the second, when West’s RBI single to left gave them a 1-0 lead. Four more strikeouts for Wiemer through the third, fourth and fifth innings gave way to the BG offense in the fifth. With a wild pitch already accounting for a run, Zada Lines capped off the inning with a two-run double to the gap in right center. After a scoreless KSU sixth and another two strikeouts for Wiemer, BG was up 4-0. The bats were at it again in the sixth when Karmen Coffey roped an RBI single to center with two runners on. An error on the center fielder put Coffey on third, with another running crossing the plate. Shortly after, Wiemer put BG up 7-0 with an RBI double to center. Two batters later, Lines finished the game with an RBI single up the middle. With the win, Wiemer moved to 9-20 on the season, matching her career high with 10 strikeouts. The win was Wiemer’s 51st of her career, tying her for third in the all-time University record books with Lisa Mountjoy. The victory also marked coach Shannon Salsburg’s first victory against her former team on the Falcons home field. ‘Today was a great team victory,’ Salsburg said. ‘Every day that we play we are fighting for our MAC Tournament berth. Today we got better and one step closer to that.’ Sunday: Kent State 4, BG 3 (8 innings) The second game provided all the thrills expected from a MAC East showdown, but it was the Flashes who squeezed out the 4-3 victory in eight innings. The game marked senior day for Wiemer, who once again started in the circle for the Falcons. The Flashes got on the board first, when a triple and an error setting up a two-run single. KSU then added a run in the fourth, giving them a 3-0 lead. BG finally got on the board in their half of the fourth, when Wiemer cranked a two-run home run to right center, her eighth of the season. Wiemer kept the game close as she silenced the KSU bats over the next three innings. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, BG sent the game into extra innings after the KSU’s Kylie Reynolds threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded, allowing for Bielstein to score the tying run from third. Tied at three in the eighth, two Falcon errors opened the door for KSU, leading to the go-ahead run. A one-two-three bottom of the eighth for BG gave the Flashes the win. ‘They are a scrappy team, and they found ways to score,’ Salsburg said. ‘It’s a good team to get a win on and almost get that second game.’ The Falcons (11-27, 6-12 MAC) will take a break from MAC play this Wednesday, when they host Wright State for a double-header starting at 3 p.m.