Falcons host Western Mich.

t Ohio State, the BG baseball team is back home this weekend for a four-game, Mid-American Conference series with the Broncos of Western Michigan.

The Falcons (13-20, 6-10 in the MAC) have been struggling mightily of late, dropping six of their last seven games and falling further out of contention in the MAC West Division (currently in sixth place). After a very disappointing series with Marshall last weekend, Wednesday’s matchup provided Danny Schmitz’s BG squad with an opportunity to bounce back against a high-caliber opponent.

The Buckeyes (28-12) had other ideas, however, as they held the Falcons to no runs and just six hits at Bill Davis Stadium. Five different OSU pitchers combined on the shutout, and no BG hitter managed more than one hit.

On a good note, one of those hits was credited to the hot-hitting freshman Nolan Reimold, who extended his hitting streak to a career-best seven games. Reimold has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, raising his batting average to an impressive .357 for the season.

With the Falcon bats lulled to sleep by the Bucks’ hurlers, the BG pitching staff was left with the daunting task of keeping the game close against a powerful Big Ten offense. For much of the game, they met the challenge, holding OSU to just two runs through six innings and keeping the Falcons within striking distance.

Freshman Tyler Johnson (1-2) worked his way through some jams in the first two innings for BG, allowing only one unearned run before being relieved by senior Doug Flere. Flere pitched two scoreless innings, and Burke Badenhop and Ryan Lindquist kept things close through the sixth inning.

While the Falcons were waiting for their offense to narrow the gap in the late innings, however, it was the Buckeye bats that made all the noise. Falcon relievers Matt Hundley and Neil Schmitz yielded two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings, as OSU rolled to a 6-0 lead and their 28th win of the year.

The Falcons, once a preseason favorite to win their division, have drifted a bit off course, but there is still time to right the ship. In order to do so, they will need a successful series this weekend with WMU. As a potential confidence booster, BG is 8-5 at home this season , but the Broncos (19-20, 12-8) will be coming to Warren Steller Field on a roll.

Winners of three of four and narrowly behind Ball State for the lead in the West Division, Western Michigan will be looking to bury the Falcons while increasing their own hopes of a division title. To achieve that goal, they will likely send out their quartet of superb starting pitchers, Pat Misch (3-1, 3.38 ERA), Keith Perez (4-3, 3.49 ERA), Brad Mumma (6-4, 3.65 ERA), and Clark Sterley (2-3, 4.35 ERA).

Danny Schmitz will answer with his own solid rotation, including probable starters Kyle Knoblauch (2-4, 2.76 ERA), Tyler Saneholtz (3-3, 3.53 ERA), Keith Laughlin (5-1, 4.82 ERA), and Tom Oestrike (1-2, 4.97 ERA).

Falcon slugger Kelly Hunt, who became the team’s all-time RBI king last weekend, remains just four home runs shy of setting a new BG career mark in that department, as well.

Game one of the WMU series will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday at Steller Field. Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s single game have 1 p.m. start times.