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April 18, 2024

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Flurry of scoring and tight pitching elevate Falcons above Tigers 9-1

BGSU+baseball
Drake Harlett
BGSU baseball

The Bowling Green State University Falcons (2-2) continued their tour of Tennessee to start the 2024 baseball season, traveling to Memphis to take on the Memphis Tigers (2-4). 

Game one of the three game series had the Falcons looking to extend their win streak to two games after a 7-3 win against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. 

A slow first inning plagued both the Falcons and Tigers, with junior outfielder Nathan Archer getting a lone base hit that sliced through left field. A ground out then ended the Falcons opening offensive stand. 

On the defensive side, sophomore right hander DJ Newman put up a pair of strikeouts that shut down the inning for Memphis.

Looking for a spark, senior infielder Tyler Ross quickly attacked the middle of the field earning himself a spot at first. This did not last long as Memphis senior pitcher David Warren picked him off at first. 

Warren followed this with a walk that loaded first base. He proceeded to hit another batter causing a pair of bases to be loaded. A low ground ball was not enough to get senior Leighton Banjoff on base, but advanced runners to second and third.  

While the Falcons were the first team to threaten a run in the game, it was cut short with a ground out to third base. 

Memphis fed off this, pushing a double to left center, which was then aided by a Falcon error that provided the Tigers with a chance to score.  A fielder’s choice sent the game to the third inning, stopping Memphis’ scoring attempt. 

The lack of offense did not stop BG from threatening again, as Newman was walked to open the third and sophomore infielder Sam Seidel took three straight balls that allow him to advance to first. 

With the chance to load the base,  Archer, the Falcons’ 2023 home run leader, popped a short infield ball that was easily caught. A hit straight to third base landed Newman out and a double play was created with an easy throw to first taking the game to the bottom of the third. 

Newman continued his hot start pitching with two straight strikeouts, and while a base hit immediately followed, a ground ball to first base dashed any hopes of scoring. 

To open the fourth, it was obvious that both teams were starving to earn a run, and an series of unfortunate events by the Tigers made that possible.  

Senior outfielder Jack Krause was walked by Warren and then proceeded to advance to third base with a stolen second and a Memphis error that allowed him to threaten.  

Freshman catcher Garrett Wright smoked a single that gave the Orange and Brown the first run of the game. 

The onslaught of points did not end there as Wright’s heroics, aided by a Banjoff walk, provided the team with an opportunity to score again with runners on second and third. 

Newman then provided that spark, which was a double to right-center, putting BGSU up 3-0 with two outs on the board. While a center field fly ball halted the flurry of runs, the Falcons snagged the first lead of the game heading to the bottom of the fourth. 

Fresh off of a two-score inning, Newman showed strength once again, creating three straight outs that were all easily fielded.

Self-inflicted wounds reared their heads for the Falcons to open the fifth, as back to back outs all but practically ended the inning for them. 

It just then happened to coincide that fatigue was getting to Warren, and four straight balls landed Krause on first, prompting the first pitching change of the game, swapping Warren out for senior right-hander Jackson Lyons. 

Lyons’ start was not what Memphis quite expected, with an error at first base pushing Krause to second and putting a man on first. Banjoff was then walked which loaded the bases, and, as is every pitchers nightmare, he walked another Falcon which scored putting BGSU up 4-0. 

Newman finished the inning popping a ball high into the air, allowing Memphis the opportunity to even things going into the bottom of the fifth. 

A quick three straight batters fouled, grounded and struck out.

Opening up the sixth the Tigers chose to make yet another pitching change, giving freshman Malik Harris the opportunity to turn things around.  

This change seemed to calm down the Tigers who managed to rattle out three Falcons all in a row.

Newman’s rock-solid day could not slow down as he mirrored the events of the past few innings, striking out yet another batter and forcing two easy pop flies that slammed the door shut on Memphis. 

Ross took a pitch to begin the seventh and while two quick outs followed, Banjoff delivered a home run which gave the orange and brown a 6-0 lead, registering the third game of the four to start the year where BG has hit a home run.

While Newman’s arm began to show signs of wear and tear, he kept getting the job done for BGSU, adding two more strike outs to his resume and walking another, before a third strike out of the inning kept the shutout alive. 

A single to third by Newman kept the bats warm, immediately followed by a Seidel walk and a stolen base. 

Mistakes by Memphis sent Newman home then putting the orange and brown up 7-0. A single put more men on base but was then snuffed as Harris was substituted for southpaw and junior Brandon Chorzelewski, who forced a pop-up into center, sending the game to the bottom of the eighth. 

A pitching change was finally used by BGSU, giving junior Landon Willeman a relief role to close out the game. Willeman snatched a strike out and followed with two balls that were fielded, letting the Falcons cruise to the final inning up 7-0. 

In an attempt to build a cushion, BGSU earned a walk, which was punctuated by a Newman homerun, putting a 9-0 score on the scoreboard.  

While 2 outs followed this the Falcons, had one intention in mind, play clean defense and earn a shutout for the win. 

Willeman managed to get two Tigers to pop up balls that were caught, and with one out left, he threw four balls in a row, breathing some life into Memphis. Texas native Seth Cox stuck a double that ended all thoughts of a shutout setting the score at 9-1. 

This was the last true play of the game as a groundout put the games in the book giving BGSU a .500 record at 2-2. 

BG’s game was elevated by the heroic effort of Newman whose three hits, two runs and 11 strikeouts were too much for the Tigers to bear. 

The Falcons next game will be in the second game of their series against Memphis on Saturday, Feb. 24, with first pitch starting at 3 p.m. 

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

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