Poor pitching effort dooms Falcons’ home opener

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Rsatkow and Rsatkow

In their home opener, the BG baseball team once again had trouble pitching in a 12-7 loss against Central Michigan Wednesday afternoon.

While Central Michigan is a member of the Mid-American Conference, Wednesday’s game was still scheduled as a nonconference game with the conference season to start on Friday.

The Chippewas wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in, gaining four runs in the top of the first against freshman Cody Apthorpe.

With two outs in the inning and runners on first and second, catcher Matt Vannett could not hold onto a pitch, allowing the runners to each move up a base.

On the next pitch, Central Michigan’s William Arnold ripped a single to left field, scoring both runners.

With runners on first and second and one out in the second inning, Vannett had a chance to make up for his error but grounded into a double play to end the inning.

After giving up single runs in the second and third, Apthorpe was pulled after three innings pitched and six runs allowed– four earned — on five hits and three walks.

“From a pitching and defense standpoint, we really didn’t give ourselves a chance to win,” coach Danny Schmitz said. “We emphasize pitching, defense and hitting, and we scratched out 14 or 15 hits, but we gave up 12 runs.”

Despite having 16 hits in the game, the Falcons were never able to string a huge inning together, and when they did start a rally, they couldn’t manufacture runs with consistency.

After Jon Berti singled in a run in the fourth to make it 6-2, Matthew Pitzulo grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

In the seventh, after a three-run double by Derek Spencer and a single by Mark Galvin, Clay Duncan hit a grounder to third, where the third baseman threw to the catcher to get Spencer at home, and the catcher threw to second to get Galvin, who was caught between second and third.

“We ran ourselves out of the inning there, as [Spencer] was breaking for home, and then we got caught between second base. That killed us there,” Schmitz said.

Despite the sub-par outing for Apthorpe, and a poor performance for Charles Wooten, who gave up four runs on five hits in an inning of relief, the Falcons did have some strong pitching performances.

Ross Gerdeman, who has been the team’s best pitcher this season, Dan Parsons, and Saturday’s scheduled starter Michael Frank each threw a perfect inning in relief.

“We figured that with the conference weekend coming up, we could only throw certain guys for a certain amount of time,” Schmitz said.

“So we threw those guys only for an inning, and that’s why we threw Parsons [in the ninth] so in case we did tie it, he was our long guy.”

The team will host a home series with Northern Illinois this weekend.

Friday’s game is set to begin at 3 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday have 1 p.m. start times.