Falcons crush IPFW, 17-8

Andrew Clayman and Andrew Clayman

A tight ballgame with non-conference foe Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne quickly turned into a lopsided slugfest yesterday, as the BG baseball team plated 12 fifth inning runs in route to a 17-8 triumph at Steller Field.

With a strong wind blowing out to right-center and temperatures in the mid eighties, the Falcon hitters came out aggressive, pounding out 17 hits against four different IPFW pitchers. No bat rang louder than that of senior clean-up hitter Kelly Hunt, who crushed both a grand slam and a three-run homer in the fifth inning, breaking the school record for runs-batted-in in a single inning with seven. His eight total RBI’s ties the school record held by Andy Tracy (1995), Len Elias (2001), and Nick Elrod (2001).

“It was definitely a good day to be a hitter,” head coach Danny Schmitz said after the game. “Kelly had a great day. That’s his job, to be the ‘set the tone’ guy.”

Despite the inviting weather conditions and vulnerable IPFW pitching staff, the Falcons (10-13, 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference) managed just a slim 3-2 lead after four innings of play. Starting pitcher Tyler Saneholtz (3-2) worked his allotted four innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out six. The performance was enough to earn him his third win of the season.

The Falcons scored a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Hunt, and they took the lead in the fourth with an RBI triple from Spencer Schmitz and an RBI single by catcher Jesse Sobol. But the sun-tanning fans at Steller Field could not have been prepared for the impending offensive explosion.

After BG reliever Matt Hundley worked a scoreless top half of the fifth inning, the Falcons’ hitters started a merry-go-round on the base paths, making victims of three IPFW pitchers in a half inning that looked more like pre-game batting practice.

After a pair of infield hits by lead-off man David Barkholz and Dash Yost, Nolan Reimold drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. The stage was set for Hunt, who hit his first grand slam and fourth home-run of the year over the left field fence. With the Falcons now leading 7-2, the Mastodons pulled starter Eric Lambert and brought in right-hander Keegan Laycock. The move would not help.

Pinch-hitter Kevin Longstreth greeted Laycock with a solo homer to right, making it an 8-2 ballgame. The Falcons then promptly loaded the bases once more, and Barkholz drove in Schmitz with an RBI single. With the bases still juiced, IPFW (14-19-1) turned to the bullpen again, but reliever Travis Johnson also received a rude welcome, as Steven Raszka pinch-hit and cleared the bases with a three run double to right field. Reimold followed with a single, and Hunt parked his fifth round tripper of the season into the pine trees in center field, putting the obligatory exclamation point on the rally.

When the inning finally ended, 16 men had batted, 12 runs had scored, and nearly an hour had passed.

“I felt pretty good today,” Hunt said, who was also celebrating his 22nd birthday. “It was a good day to get the ball up in the air.” Tyler Johnson, Ryan Lindquist, and Doug Flere finished the pitching duties for BG, while Bobby Majer drove in one of two insurance runs for the Falcons in the seventh inning, helping the home team seal a 17-8 win and improve to 6-2 at Steller Field. “We are starting to make some progress,” Schmitz said. “But we need to come back tomorrow and be disciplined and keep it going.”

The Falcons host Wright State tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m., and they return to MAC play this weekend with a four game series at Northern Illinois.

By Elliott Schreiner

Sports Reporter

Quite simply put, yesterday was Kelly Hunt’s day. Of course, it was supposed to be his day, as he was celebrating his birthday.

And Hunt saw no way better to celebrate than winning a baseball game and breaking a school record or two while he was at it.

“It’s nice to see Kelly get some hits,” coach Danny Schmitz said. “He’s been getting hits lately, just not the big hits we need him to get.”

Hunt decided that yesterday would be a day of many big hits. He started the game off by hitting a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning to put the Falcons on top 1-0 before going silent for a few innings.

It was the fifth inning when Hunt really started swinging the lumber.

He started the inning by crushing a grand slam to give the Falcons a 7-2 lead.

Then he finished the inning by driving a three-run homer over the wall in center, giving him a Bowling Green record with seven RBIs in one inning.

The second homerun also helped him tie a school record with eight RBIs in a game.

“Kelly had a great day,” Schmitz said. “He really broke the game open.”

Hunt wasn’t the only one doing damage for the Falcons, as they finished the inning with 12 runs and an eventual win.

“It’s nice to have an inning like that,” Schmitz said. “I hope it gives the hitters confidence.”

It was Hunt’s first homerun that really started the Falcons’ offense.

It was also the first homerun that ensured that Hunt would continue his current 15-game hitting streak, a feat that is usually the sign of a hot hitter.

But Hunt still hasn’t been happy with his hitting as of late, and today may have signaled an end to any worries he might have for the rest of the season.

“I haven’t been very comfortable at the plate lately,” Hunt said. “So I got out some films from last season and saw some little things that I needed to change.”

It seems hard to believe that a player batting .420 would be worried about his hitting, but those are the standards a potential All-American needs to set for himself.

Schmitz also sets high standards for Hunt, and has felt that Hunt’s play has been a little slow as of late.

Even more noticeable to Schmitz, though, has been Hunt’s great play the last few games.

“He’s started getting big hits the last few times out,” Schmitz said. “He’s been our set the tone guy.”

Hunt’s next chance to set the tone and break more school records will come this afternoon against Wright State.