Falcons hang on to avoid weekend sweep

Justin Onslow and Justin Onslow

This weekend was not quite what the Falcons had hoped for, but they made some real progress toward turning their season around.

The Falcons (8-14-1) dropped two of three games to Eastern Michigan University over the weekend, but got some strong pitching and defense from several players.

Errors have plagued BG so far this season, but the team only committed four errors in three games over the weekend.

The Falcons also had a 5.91 ERA during the series. In the first and third games against EMU, BG’s combined ERA was a much-improved 3.94.

However, the Falcons failed to match their defensive improvement with consistent hitting,

BG hit .257 in the series — 55 points less than it has batted during the rest of the season. The Falcons are now hitting .304 as a team, while opponents are batting .312 against them.

Senior center fielder T.J. Blanton continued his outstanding performance this season by extending his hitting streak to 17 games.

He has overtaken freshman Matthew Pitzulo again for the team lead in batting average.

On the year, Blanton is hitting .425 with seven home runs, 23 RBI and an outstanding .775 slugging percentage.

Pitzulo continues to establish himself as a solid contributor on a team in need of more than one spark.

Pitzulo came through in the clutch during Sunday’s game when he singled up the middle, driving in two Falcons and sealing their 4-3 win.

Senior Kevin Leady put together another strong performance on the mound during game three.

He went seven and a third innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out 10 and walking only two.

Leady notched his third win Sunday, and has a 3.68 ERA in his last two starts.

Sophomore Ross Gerdeman notched his second save of the year in the win. He pitched a scoreless inning and two-thirds to cap off the win.

Game 1: EMU 4, BG 1

The Falcons and Eagles took the first game of the series scoreless into the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth. Blanton reached on a walk. With two outs, Blanton stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Third baseman Derek Spencer singled down the right field line to plate BG’s first run and give the Falcons the lead.

Eastern Michigan answered back in the bottom of the sixth with a run of its own on two hits and a walk.

Junior pitcher Brennan Smith managed to get out of the inning with only one run allowed as the Eagles stranded runners at first and third.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when Eastern Michigan rallied for three runs, ultimately sealing the victory for the Eagles.

All three of the Eagles’ runs in the eighth came with two outs.

The Falcons left a total of 10 runners on base in the game.

Smith took the tough loss for the Falcons after pitching seven and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs and striking out six.

Spencer led the Falcons in hitting, going 2-for-3 with the team’s only RBI.

Game 2: EMU 9, BG 8

BG got on the board first, scoring two runs with two outs in the second inning.

The Falcons added two more runs in the third on a Mark Galvin home run, jumping out to a four-run lead.

After the Eagles stranded two runners in the fourth, the Falcons added one more run in the fifth inning and were cruising ahead with a five-run lead until the bottom of the sixth.

In the Eagles’ half of the sixth, freshman Michael Frank started to show signs of fatigue.

He allowed the first three EMU batters to reach base and was credited with allowing all three of those runs.

Charles Wooten relieved Frank and allowed two runs of his own in the sixth.

With the game tied at five, BG took to the plate in the seventh and once again took the lead on a Blanton solo home run. That lead would not last long, however, as the Eagles tied the game again in the bottom of the eighth on a Bo Kinder solo shot.

In the top of the ninth, sophomore Patrick Martin led off with his first career home run. The Falcons manufactured a second run in the inning to take an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

The Falcons’ late-inning hitting heroics would be for naught, however. Wooten gave up the final three of his six runs allowed on four Eagle hits, including a leadoff solo shot to designated hitter Andrew Marshall.

Martin went 2-for-4 for the Falcons with three RBI while Galvin also added three RBI. Spencer and Blanton each drove a run in as well.

Game 3: BG 4, EMU 3

The Falcons went into the final game of the weekend series looking to avoid a sweep.

Eastern Michigan took the first lead of the game in the fourth inning and carried that lead into the top of the sixth.

In the sixth, Logan Meisler reached on a walk and scored on a Spencer double.

Blanton was hit by a pitch, placing runners on first and second with no outs.

Galvin executed a successful sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.

Pitzulo took advantage of the opportunity and singled up the middle to plate two more runs for the Falcons.

BG added one more insurance run in the seventh inning on a couple hits and some solid base running.

It would prove to be a big run as EMU’s Ben Magsig hit a one-out solo home run in the bottom half of the seventh.

The Falcons managed to shut EMU down in the eighth and ninth, however, avoiding the sweep with a 4-3 win.

Pitzulo was the leading hitter for the Falcons, going 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Leady improved to 3-1 on the year with the win and Gerdeman pitched well for his second save of the year.