Falcons prep for Central Mich.

Andrew Clayman and Andrew Clayman

Baseball, to paraphrase a famous movie character, “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Never more so is this the case than in April, when drastic weather fluctuations can help determine whether a team stays hot or cools off.

Having won four straight ballgames after Sunday’s double-header sweep of Oakland, the BG baseball team was all set for a Tuesday night match-up with nationally ranked power Notre Dame. Mother Nature had other ideas, as freezing rain in South Bend forced the game to be rescheduled and played last night as part of a Fighting Irish double-header.

Catching their breath back in BG today, the Falcons (8-11, 3-3 in Mid-American Conference) will be right back on the road this weekend, heading to Mount Pleasant, Mich. for a two-game series with Central Michigan.

The Chippewas (8-14, 1-3) have had their own battles with the weather, canceling six straight home games due to bad field conditions.

Both BG coach Danny Schmitz and CMU coach Steve Jaksa will be hoping for blue skies this weekend, as every MAC West Division series could prove pivotal down the stretch.

“Bowling Green has many of the same players back who led that team to the regular-season title,” Jaksa said. “It has some great hitters and proven pitchers, so nothing will be easy for our team.”

While standout veterans like Kelly Hunt and Kyle Knoblauch have been key factors in the Falcons’ recent upswing, Coach Schmitz was quick to recognize the full team effort after Sunday’s strong showing.

“The whole team played outstanding,” Schmitz said. “The pitching and defense were fantastic.”

Hunt, the team’s senior first baseman, is crushing the ball at a .427 clip and is averaging nearly a run-batted-in per game. As a team leader, however, he too was quick to praise the performance of his younger teammates in the past few weeks.

“We’ve come a long way,” Hunt said. “I think everyone is finally starting to understand their roles and what they need to do to go out and get some W’s.”

After a slow start, the BG bats have started to show some life of late, with Hunt’s power complimented by the recent hitting of freshmen Nolan Reimold (.304 avg) and Tyler Wasserman (.318), and juniors Spencer Schmitz (.298) and David Barkholz (.289, 4 HR).

The pitching staff has been rock solid, with opposing teams hitting just .256 against them. Knoblauch, a 6-foot-8 junior from Blissfield, Mich., has a 0.45 earned run average in 40.1 innings of work. That would be superb on any level, but in the typically hitter dominated world of college baseball, it is all the more impressive. Other consistent innings-eaters for the Falcons have included junior Neil Schmitz (3.94 ERA) and sophomores Tyler Saneholtz (2-1, 4.12 ERA), Tom Oestrike (4.50 ERA), and Keith Laughlin (2-1, 4.12 ERA).

Saturday’s game with Central Michigan will begin at 3 p.m. at CMU’s Theunissen Stadium, with game two’s first pitch set for a 1 p.m. on Sunday. BG returns home next week for non-conference games with IFPW and Wright State on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.