Big bats love playing at BG’s Steller Field

Sean Shapiro and Sean Shapiro

There are some fields were the batter has the upper hand before he even steps into the batter’s box, and at Steller Field this is definitely the case. After 26 combined home runs last weekend, no one could argue that Steller Field is definitely a pitcher’s park. With winds blowing up to 30 mph to straight away center field, any ball hit in the air last weekend had a strong chance of ending up over the outfield fence. ‘When the winds blowing out it carries,’ said BG centerfielder T.J. Blanton after BG’s win Saturday. ‘If you hit it up there it will carry out pretty good.’ Taking advantage of the hitter’s park, Blanton hit two of his seven home runs this season, while teammate Derek Spencer was named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week. During the week, every game at Steller Field, Spencer went 12-for-17 (.706) hitting six home runs and adding 10 runs batted in. Last weekend certainly wasn’t an anomaly as in the 13 games played at BG’s home field this season, only two games have had teams combine for less then 10 runs. A combination of reliable outfield blowing winds, and a shorter outfield fence to both left and right, Bowling Green has been favorable for both the Falcons and their opponent this season. One of those visiting players to benefit from the BG field conditions was Eastern Michigan right fielder, and number nine hitter, Wally Gerbus. Before the Falcons’ April 8, 27-7 loss to the Eagles, Gerbus had never hit a career home run. He would end the day with a MAC record four home runs and is now third in the record book with eight runs batted in. Since his banner day at BG, it has taken the right fielder 16 games to equal the number of home runs he hit at Steller Field. While BG has come out on top of most of the slugfests (they’re 9-4 at home this season) it has been frustrating for BG coach Danny Schmitz to have to rely on their hitting when baseball is a three phase game. ‘I can’t say its fun baseball,’ Schmitz said. ‘Both teams have to play in it, we really express to our pitchers keeping the ball down. If you keep the ball up in the zone it can easily be gone.’ Playing in a pitcher friendly park has hurt BG’s pitching staff immensely in the stat book. During the season only two BG pitchers have an ERA below 5.00 while five pitchers have and ERA in double digits. It’s difficulty that hasn’t eluded the visitors as well, BG’s opponents have 6.73 ERA compared to the 7.27 earned runs the Falcons allow a game. BG will look to lower that ERA while continuing to swing the bat well at Steller Field this weekend when they host the Ohio University Bobcats.