Falcons get win over Toledo

Yesterday’s softball game between Bowling Green and Toledo wasn’t perfect, but freshman pitcher Liz Vrabel was pretty close to being perfect.

Vrabel pitched a one-hitter to lead the Falcons over Mid-American Conference rival Toledo, 6-0. She struck out five and did not yield a walk.

The two teams combined for seven fielding errors, the difference being that Bowling Green’s four errors happened when the bases were empty.

Vrabel worked out of jams in the early innings and did not allowing a hit until the seventh inning.

“I thought Liz carried us for the first half of that game and then our bats started waking up a little bit,” Head Coach Leigh Ross-Shaw said. “It’s nice to know that you have that pitcher to go in there and you know that she’s going to hold the other team.”

The Falcons’ bats looked as if they were still cold from Tuesday’s losses to Oakland but a big sixth inning gave Bowling Green a comfortable cushion heading into the final inning.

“[Tuesday] was so cold. I don’t know if it carried over or what,” Ross-Shaw said. “I think a few people are starting to push a little too hard. Swinging at a first pitch change-up, that’s not what we need to do up at the plate, we just need to stay relaxed.”

Libby Voshell, Gina Rango and Jenifer Kernahan reached base safely in the sixth with no outs. Then left-fielder Crystal Wilson hit a grand slam, her second grand slam in five days.

“Crystal is using a new bat for the second half of the season now,” Ross-Shaw said. “After she hit her first home run she really was trying hard. She just kind of let go and relaxed and she’s on fire right now. She’s hitting the ball hard everywhere.” Having hit only one home run prior to this season, Wilson had a home run in mind when she stepped up to the plate yesterday.

“Hitting a home run crossed my mind, but I told myself to just get it over the infield, don’t think about a grand slam,” Wilson said. The Falcons got on the board early yesterday, scoring two runs in the second inning off of Toledo pitcher Kim Pettitt thanks to the clutch hitting of Abby Habicht. The eighth batter in BG’s lineup, she had two RBIs in the inning.

“Abby will score a runner in crunch time,” Ross-Shaw said. “She’ll put something through and it may not be pretty, but it goes through. And lately it’s seems like she’s more of a clutch kid. She likes the runners on base.”

The Falcons are hoping their bats get going even more this weekend when they travel to play Northern Illinois, the team that is right behind the Falcons in the tight standings of the MAC West Division. Against the Huskies, the Bowling Green batters will face faster pitching, something they are looking forward to.

“We struggle with slower pitchers,” Wilson said. “Our team has always been faster pitcher hitters. All our pitchers are really fast and that’s what we practice off of and that’s what we’re good at.”

With yesterday’s win the Falcons improve to 12-6 in the MAC and 21-20-1 overall.

Toledo fell to 4-16 in the MAC and 7-30 overall. The Rockets are in last place in the MAC West Division. The Falcons are percentage points away from first place in the division.