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Bowling Green looks to continue early success

The Bowling Green baseball team begins Mid-American Conference play today hoping to build on a successful start to their season. Despite having six games rained out in an eight day span since returning from their spring trip, the Falcons currently stand at 9-3, led by consistently solid pitching performances from the entire staff, who have a 2.09 team earned run average.

The team will be hosting Ball State (9-8) for a three-game series this weekend at Steller Field, where BG captured a victory over Xavier in their home opener Tuesday. Ball State has been a perennial standout in the MAC for years and will bring a tough pitching staff and powerful lineup to test the Falcons.

“We expect [Ball State] to be one of the favorites in the MAC West this year,” said BG head coach Danny Schmitz. “We know it’s going to be a great challenge for us starting off the conference season. They’re going to be able to do all facets of the game; swinging the bat, playing defense, and they have outstanding pitching.”

Schmitz figured this Falcon team would be led by pitching and defense, but they have also swung the bats well. Right fielder Nolan Reimold has started all 12 games this year and leads the team in home runs and RBI, with three and 13 respectively, while his .436 batting average ranks second.

“He’s been solid the whole year,” Schmitz said of Reimold, who drove in both the game tying and winning runs against Xavier.

“Nolan, last year as a freshman, had a very solid year and was one of our freshman that played on an every day basis.”

Ball State is built around a good pitching staff [4.15 team ERA], but their lineup has produced big power numbers so far. Brad Miller hit four homers against Valparaiso in their last game and leads the team overall with eight, along with a team-high 22 RBI. Center fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Sullivan leads the Cardinals with a .378 batting average. It is a difficult lineup for any pitching staff to take on, but the BG staff has been dominant this year and should be up to the task.

“[Our pitching staff] has been doing a good job and Tod Brown, our pitching coach, has done a great job with this staff,” Schmitz said.

“We’re led by Tyler Saneholtz (2-0, 0.00 ERA in 17 innings pitched) and Tyler Johnson (2-0, 0.59 ERA); they’ve been phenomenal this year.”

Along with Saneholtz and Johnson, Neil Schmitz (2-0, 0 earned runs allowed in 10.1 IP) has been on top of his game. The entire staff has done their job and it is hard to give the credit to a few pitchers when the staff is giving up slightly over two runs a game as a team.

Today’s game will begin at 3 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday’s games both start at 1 p.m.

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