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April 18, 2024

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BG’s five home runs not enough as Falcons fall in season opener, 12-8

Keira Ellenberger
Nathan Archer following through.

The Bowling Green baseball team (0-1) opened the 2024 season in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, falling to Middle Tennessee State (1-0) on Friday, 12-8. 

Although the Falcons hit five home runs, marking the first time they launched multiple homers in their season opener since 2009, it was not enough, as the Blue Raiders scored in all but one inning. 

Sophomore two-way player DJ Newman led off with a five-pitch walk for the Falcons, swiping second base a few pitches later to put himself in scoring position.  

However, sophomore shortstop Sam Seidel flew out before junior center fielder Nathan Archer and redshirt freshman first baseman Brady Birchmeier struck out swinging, stranding Newman. 

Newman, who served as the leadoff hitter and starting pitcher for the Falcons, began the bottom of the first inning with two quick outs. However, Middle Tennessee State tallied three straight two-out hits, driving in two runs to take the early lead. 

After BG failed to score in the top of the second inning, Newman’s struggles continued in the bottom half of the frame.  

The Archbold, Ohio, native walked three straight batters with one out, including walking two runs in with the bases loaded. Newman struck out two Blue Raiders to end the inning, holding MTSU’s lead at 4-0. 

The Falcons responded in the top of the third inning as Sam Seidel launched a two-run home run over the right field fence, cutting Middle Tennessee State’s advantage to 4-2. 

The Blue Raiders tacked on another run in the bottom of the third after an error by senior third baseman Tyler Ross, extending their lead to 5-2.  

Senior right-handed pitcher Isaiah Seidel got the call out of the bullpen to begin the bottom of the fourth inning, ending Newman’s day on the mound. However, Newman stayed in the game as BG’s designated hitter. 

 In his first start of the season, Newman gave up five runs, four of which were earned, and seven hits while striking out five and walking three in three innings.  

After Newman drew a walk to load the bases for Bowling Green in the top of the fifth inning, sophomore right-handed pitcher Ollie Akens took the mound in relief for the Blue Raiders’ starter, Kota Sato 

Following the pitching change, Sam Seidel grounded into a double play, as MTSU escaped without any damage. 

Middle Tennessee State blew open the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, tallying four hits and three runs against Isaiah Sidel, pushing their lead to 8-2.  

However, the Falcons attempted to mount a comeback as Archer and Ross blasted solo home runs over the right field fence, cutting MTSU’s lead to 8-4. 

Although BGSU had runners on first and third base with just one out after the first collegiate hit by freshman catcher Garrett Wright, MTSU escaped the inning without further damage.  

Senior left-handed pitcher Rigo Ramos entered the game in relief for Isaiah Seidel in the bottom of the sixth inning. Isaiah Seidel filled two innings for the Falcons, giving up three runs and five hits while striking out two.  

Middle Tennessee State added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, extending their lead to 9-4. 

The Falcons did not take long to respond as Newman hit a solo shot to right field, cutting the Blue Raiders’ lead to 9-5.  

MTSU stayed hot at the plate, adding four more hits and two runs, pushing their lead to 11-5 through seven innings.  

The Blue Raiders did not take their foot off the pedal, adding a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend their lead to 12-5.  

The Falcons again tried to mount a comeback, as Birchmeier crushed a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.  

While the Falcons drew two walks and threatened late, junior outfielder Gavin Ganun struck out looking to end the game, with Middle Tennessee State taking the 12-8 victory.  

Newman was tagged with the loss, while Akens earned the win for the Blue Raiders.  

Ramos finished the game on the mound for the Falcons, pitching the final three innings. The left-hander gave up nine hits and four runs while striking out four and walking one.  

Although Bowling Green hit five home runs, they could not slow down MTSU’s offense, as the Blue Raiders outhit the Falcons 21-12.  

Middle Tennessee State excelled in high-leverage situations, hitting .579 (11-19) with two outs, .500 (12-24) with runners on base and .400 (6-15) with runners in scoring position.  

Meanwhile, BG hit .300 (3-10) with two outs, .278 (5-18) with runners on base and .308 (4-13) with runners in scoring position.  

Next up, Bowling Green will battle Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, two more times. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. 

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