Softball gearing up for MAC Tournament

Paul Barney and Paul Barney

The Falcon softball team ended the regular season the same way they started, with a win. Sunday’s 6-3 win over Eastern Michigan gave BG its 13th win of the season and eighth in the Mid-American Conference, securing the final spot in the MAC Tournament. Today the Falcons (13-31, 8-14 MAC) will take on top seed Ball State (28-22, 18-3 MAC) at 1:30 p.m. at Firestone Stadium, in Akron, Ohio. BG leads Ball State 47-29 in the all-time series, winning 20 of the last 25 meetings. In a double-header earlier in the season, however, the Falcons dropped both games to the Cardinals by a combined score of 17-3. Despite the setback to Ball State, coach Shannon Salsburg knows the postseason is a lot different than the regular season. ‘It’s totally different,’ Salsburg said. ‘The regular season doesn’t matter a whole lot once you get here, and I think our tournament year in and year out shows that.’ Salsburg stressed that the key aspects in taking down the Cardinals this time around will be to continue playing solid defense and swinging the bats well, something they did a lot of last weekend. Missy Bowman and Haleigh Bielstein certainly fall into that category, having roughed up Central and Eastern Michigan pitching in BG’s four-game split last weekend. In the four games, Bowman went 7-for-13 at the plate, posting a .538 average with four singles, a double and two home runs. She drove in four RBIs while also scoring four runs. Bielstein went 4-for-10, including a single, a double and two home runs. She scored four runs and knocked in a whopping eight RBIs. Having struggled at the plate for most of the season, the offensive surge from Bowman and Bielstein peaked just in time for the MAC Tournament. ‘It was great to their sticks come alive,’ Salsburg said. ‘We’re just trying to keep everybody consistent and just keep doing what we’re doing. We did score a lot and we had a lot of hits over the weekend.’ Like Salsburg said, the bats surely came alive and lit up CMU and EMU pitching, as the Falcons combined to crank out 19 runs on 33 hits. Currently peaking both offensively and defensively, with senior Hayley Wiemer pitching as good as anyone, look for BG to make some noise in this year’s MAC Tournament. ‘I think that we’re kind of a scary team because people know if we continue to put it together, we can do some damage,’ Salsburg said.