Falcons take two from MU

On a day more ideal for the Redhawks and the Falcons to play football, the softball team once again got great pitching and just enough hitting to pick up two more wins at the BGSU Softball Field.

The Falcons now stand at 15-17-1 overall with a 6-5 record in the Mid-American Conference. With the victories, the Falcons inch closer to fifth place Ball State and fourth place Western Michigan in the MAC West Division standings. The two losses drop Miami to 11-18 overall and 5-7 in the MAC.

The two wins give the Falcons a six game winning streak after losing five in a row and 10 of 11 before that. The last time the Falcons went down to defeat was on March 30 at Central Michigan. Coach Leigh Ross-Shaw said the main reason for the turnaround is an increase in confidence as well as not trying to do too much.

“I think they expected so much of themselves at the beginning of the season that it really bothered them when they weren’t successful,” Ross-Shaw said. “Now they are just much more relaxed as a team and at the same time very confident in themselves.”

After being named the MAC Pitcher of the Week for the second week in a row on Monday, Liz Vrabel went out and showed why by giving up just one unearned run and throwing a complete game in the first game of the doubleheader.

The Falcons also got just enough of Kandice Machain to win the first game 2-1.

Machain knocked in the go ahead, and eventual winning run with a two-out double in the fifth inning. Machain knocked in Stephanie Finkel, who led off the inning with a double.

Machain also made the play of the game in the top of the seventh inning when she made a diving catch of a drive off the bat of pinch hitter Allison Maxey.

The catch saved extra bases, and possibly the game for the Falcons.

The Falcons scored their other run in the fourth inning, which tied the game at 1 at the time. Jenifer Kernahan doubled to knock in Lindsay Heimrich, who reached on a walk. Kernahan went 3-3 in the game with two doubles and a RBI.

Vrabel gave up four hits and walked three while striking out seven to improve to 9-6.

Jackie Poggendorf pitched for the Redhawks, going all six innings. Poggendorf gave up five hits and two runs, one of them earned, while striking out three. Poggendorf walked just one hitter, but the walk came back to cost her the first run of the game for the Falcons. Poggendorf dropped to 3-10 with the loss.

The Falcons won the second game by a score of 3-1. Jody Johnson threw a complete game for the Falcons, giving up four hits and one run. Johnson walked three while striking out four to improve to 3-4 on the season.

The Falcons scored all three of their runs on shaky defense by Miami, even though the Redhawks had no errors for the game.

The first run was scored by Gina Rango after she singled in the second inning. Kernahan knocked in Rango, picking up her second RBI of the day. However, Rango scored only after Miami first baseman Angie Gerber mistakenly cut off a throw from the outfield that might have nailed Rango at the plate.

After Miami tied the game in the top of the third, the Falcons scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth. After Libby Voshell singled, she came around to score on a single by Crystal Wilson.

Voshell was nearly thrown out, however, on a great throw by Miami center fielder Jamie Carey. Miami catcher Becca Garcia was unable to control the throw at home plate however, and Voshell scored the Falcons second run.

The third run came shortly after with Finkel at the plate. Garcia was charged with a passed ball as a pitch from Redhawk starting pitcher Courtney Salmon handcuffed her and went to the screen. Rango, who had singled earlier in the inning, scored on the miscue. Rango went 2-3 in the game with two runs scored. Salmon pitched all six innings, giving up three runs, two of them earned. Salmon gave up five hits but walked no one. Salmon also struck out five in the loss, dropping her record to 8-8.

The Falcons will try to take over fifth place in the MAC West this weekend as they travel to current fifth-place team Ball State. The Falcons will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday in Muncie, Ind.