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April 18, 2024

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Defensive showdown stalls as Falcons fall in second game of opening series, 5-4 

Drake Harlett, FMSN
Connar Penrod going through the pitching progression to pitch the ball.

The BGSU Baseball team (0-2) lost their second straight game of the season against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (2-0) on Saturday the 17th.  

Falcon defense held their part throughout most of the game but was halted just short of the first win of the season with two walks giving the MTSU Blue Raiders the advantage in the bottom of the ninth. 

The second game of the Falcon’s opening series against MTSU started quietly as both sides put away three quick outs without much action. 

The silence was snapped as senior outfielder Jack Krause exploded a home run which sent Tyler Ross home as well, putting the Falcons up 2-0 early in the game. 

MTSU threatened in the bottom of the second with men on second and third but were unsuccessful due to a low pitch grounded out by left-hander Nic Good. 

The Falcon’s lead was slashed in half in the third inning as a single by Blue Raider, Eston Snider was aided home by a stolen base and an RBI from teammate Gabe Jennings settling on a score of 2-1. 

Bats then grew quiet towards the middle portion of the game as a surge of ground balls prematurely ended the Orange and Brown’s fourth inning. MTSU had an equally quiet time with two of four batters going out swinging. 

The defensive standoff continued in the fifth inning as infielder Alex Laird was walked which led to a pitching change for MTSU, subbing in Junior Right-hander Matt Schepel. This change added some juice to the Blue Raider defense as Laird was caught stealing on a double play that stopped the Falcons fifth. 

Defensive momentum did not translate to offense with three straight outs pitched by Good. This would be the last inning for Good who was swapped out for Landon Willeman to start the sixth inning.  

The sixth was similar, continuing the streak of quick innings for both sides, as the Falcons managed to get Brady Birchmeier to first base with a single but failed to cash in on the opportunity, fouling out on their final out.  

Willeman’s first inning for the Falcons was a success as the Napoleon native forced two ground balls that were easily fielded and left a Blue Raider swinging. 

Fireworks opened the seventh inning, with Krause hitting a single to first to start the Falcons offensive possession. Krause then advanced to second on the heels of senior Leighton Banjoff’s shot to right field. An error led to Krause scoring, ending a five-inning drought for BG. 

MTSU failed to draw even in the seventh managing to get a man on first but no further as the inning slammed to a halt on a line drive.  

At the top of the eighth, the Falcons were unable to capitalize on a single from Ross and instead ended the inning scoreless. 

This was not the same for the Blue Raiders who, with men on first and third, hit a double to the right center of the field earning a double RBI for senior catcher Biggs Rutter 

With the game tied at three a piece, the Falcons were looking for an answer from their team. With two outs on the board in the top of the ninth, DJ Newman hit a strike to the pitcher which was enough to keep the Falcons on offense. 

Newman did not last long on first however, sophomore in fielder Sam Seidel delivered a double which was enough to bring Newman home and give the Falcons a 4-3 lead. 

The inning would end with a grounded out to first base giving MTSU the chance to end the game with two scores. 

Willeman was subbed out for junior Connar Penrod in the final stretch. The fresh arm of Penrod proved to be more of an issue than a benefit with 3 straight walks causing the bases to be loaded.  

This led to another pitching change as Senior Peyton Wilson was brought in to relieve Penrod. This change did not impact the outcome however as two straight walks iced the game and MTSU walked away with the win.  

BGSU’s hot start managed to keep them afloat throughout the game until the pitching struggles reared their head at the most inopportune moment for the Falcons.  

The Falcons touted the overall better batting percentage, (.314 ) –(.265) and defensively performed better than the Blue Raiders but were not able to close the game out pitching. 

The series continues for the Falcons who will rematch again against the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro Tennessee on Sunday the 18th to avoid the full three-game sweep. 

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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