BGSU Baseball Treks to Evansville For Weekend Series

Reese Lannon, Sports Reporter, Falcon Media Sports Network

The BGSU baseball team once again will hit the road this weekend for a four-game set against the Evansville Purple Aces on the heels of their first victory over a ranked team since 2006 last weekend against the Louisville Cardinals. 

This Falcon team has shown flashes of being a dark-horse within the Mid-American Conference. Led by a streaky, but volatile offense and sneaky good pitching for stretches, the orange and brown have the potential to win games against any opponent. 

Bowling Green comes in at 2-4 on the year, dropping two of three to Tennessee Tech and Louisville, respectively.

However, three of the four losses have come by a margin of two runs or less. Pitcher Gage Schenk has been on the losing side of two of those close defeats, but has produced strong starts in each of them.

The senior went five and two-thirds innings with one run allowed in the opener against Tennessee Tech and then six innings, allowing two runs against Louisville. Schenk is expected to get the start for the Friday clash against Evansville, and the Falcons are hoping for another strong start. 

On the other side of things, the Purple Aces come in at 3-5 overall, but have won their last three games, including two of those victories against MAC foe Eastern Michigan.

Scouting Evansville, it is clear that offense is their calling card. They have scored 57 runs in just eight games thus far, an average of a little over seven runs per game. While they got off to a sluggish 0-5 start, they had to face perennial mid-major power Troy and an SEC opponent in Kentucky, and they were competitive in each of those games. 

A couple of hitters to look for in the Evansville lineup are infielder and Indiana transfer Kip Fougerousse as well as catcher and Kentucky transfer Brendan Hord. Both hitters have three home runs apiece on the year, and Evansville as a team has hit nine long balls in eight games. 

The Falcons have had a much more balanced offense-defense attack. They’ve scored 30 runs in six games, averaging five a contest. Early standouts in the lineup include Nathan Rose (.333 average, three doubles) and Leighton Banjoff (three extra-base hits, three RBI.)

Bowling Green will look to see all-MAC performers in catcher Kyle Gurney and outfielder Nathan Archer break out in southern Indiana this weekend in order to get the bats rolling. 

Arguably the Falcons biggest weakness last year was the bullpen, but that has suddenly flipped this year.

Freshman left-hander Luke Krouse has been magnificent out of the pen thus far, tossing six innings and allowing just three hits as well as no runs and four strikeouts.

Connar Penrod has been dominant as well, as he has yet to allow a run in 3.2 innings.

Rigo Ramos, who did not play due to injury in 2022 has been a much needed extra piece to the bullpen, firing a 1.80 ERA in five innings thus far.  

For Evansville, they have gotten middling starting pitching, with Tyler Denu having the most success this far (5.06 ERA, two starts), but Jarrett Blunt has been fantastic in relief, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in four games (11.0 innings) thus far with 11 strikeouts.  

Bowling Green’s most recent loss on Sunday, a 14-1 victory by Louisville, could give the Falcons some time to reset following the massive win over the Cardinals on Saturday.

Something to hang your hat on for the offense during the series was the ‘scratch and claw’ mentality shown by the orange and brown.

They did what they did best, hard line-drive swings, and run at will on the bases, and that was never more evident than when Archer stole home as a part of a four-run comeback in the eighth inning. 

Evansville’s most recent victory came on Wednesday night, as the Purple Aces duked out a high-scoring affair with Southeast Missouri State 14-8.

Evansville picked up 16 hits and eight walks in the contest, and had eight players record an RBI. Evansville has been on a roll as mentioned earlier, and some of that has to do with their last four games coming at home. 

For BGSU to have a chance to take the series, it is critical to finally get Schenk the run support he has deserved and perhaps steal game one. Another important piece to the Falcons formula is keeping their bullpen fresh, especially being careful with usage of Krouse and Ramos.

In a four-game series, the depth of both team’s bullpens should be a critical factor 

The series will kick off on Friday at 4 p.m. before a 12 p.m/4 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. The series finale will be Sunday at 1 p.m.

For more information, visit the athletics webpage.