Late surge unable to save Falcon batters

Erik Cassano and Erik Cassano

The Bowling Green baseball team got into an arm-wrestling match with Michigan State yesterday. The kind that strain back and forth, where each player has the other a knuckle-width off the table before somebody’s wrist finally gives out.

Unfortunately, it was BG’s arm that finally hit the ground in a 6-4 loss at Steller Field.

The Spartans had the Falcons all but down in the eighth inning. A James Moreno home run and a Neil Schmitz wild pitch in the top of the inning let Michigan State push a 2-1 lead out to 4-1. BG’s offense had been dormant since they pushed a run across on a wild pitch in the first inning. But their bats managed to spring to life. Josh Baughman, who reached base all four times he came to the plate, led off the inning with a double to right-center, one of his three hits.

Kelly Hunt beat out a ground ball to third for an infield single, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. A Jeff Warnock groundout moved both runners into scoring position. Righty Ryan Golem came on for the Spartans, and promptly hit Nolan Reimold with a pitch to load the bases.

The Falcons were teetering on the edge of the big inning they’d needed all day, and stayed there as Bobby Majer swung through a 2-2 pitch for the second out.

Tyler Wasserman had been good with the glove all day at third base, but hadn’t registered so much as a tremor with his bat. In the eighth, he finally got a small tremor. Very small, but it got the job done.

Wasserman ticked an inside pitch, and it rolled out into no-man’s land beyond the mound. Moreno, the Spartan third baseman, charged the ball, but his throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Baughman scored on the hit, and the throwing error was enough to let Hunt slide in with BG’s third run.

Kevin Longstreth’s RBI double drove in Reimold to tie the game 4-4.

Longstreth, the catcher, hadn’t even started the game. He came in during the fourth inning when yesterday’s starter, Jesse Sobol, had a bat hit his throwing hand. His status is not yet known. BG was steaming toward a chance at a last at-bat win. Michigan State’s Charlie Braun walked to start the ninth and was sacrifice-bunted into scoring position. BG elected to have Neil Schmitz intentionally walk Brady Burrill, who had two hits on the day, to set up the double play. Moreno flied out to center fielder David Barkholz for the second out.

Then Jim Deliz sent a grounder to third. Wasserman fielded it going to his left and fired it to Spencer Schmitz, covering second, but the ball glanced off Schmitz’s glove and hit the ground. Everybody was safe.

Erik Morris saw daylight and hit a two-RBI double to left-center. Braun and Burrill scored, and Michigan State escaped with a win. The loss soured the mood of a team coming off two straight conference wins this past weekend.

“This was a darn shame,” BG coach Danny Schmitz said. “I don’t know if we thought we could just show up today and win, but we sure didn’t come out prepared. I’m just glad this wasn’t a conference game.”

The loss dropped BG to 3-8 overall. Michigan State improved to 5-13.

The Falcons have little time to think about the loss. They are right back out at Steller Field today to take on Dayton at 2 p.m.