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April 18, 2024

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Falcon pitching woes continue, team falls to Memphis 13-7

Leighton+Banjoff+ready+to+hit+the+ball.
Keira Ellenberger
Leighton Banjoff ready to hit the ball.

The Bowling Green Falcons (2-4) closed out their series against the Memphis Tigers (4-4) on Sunday, losing by a final of 13-7. 

BGSU came in looking for redemption after falling to the Tigers 14-13 the day before, a tough loss after putting up a stunning 10-run rally to keep the game alive. 

The Orange and Brown wasted no time as a strike by sophomore designated hitter, DJ Newman, sliced a ball through the left side of the field, earning himself a spot on first. 

This early hit was cashed in soon after when Newman stole second and was aided home by a double that threaded through left field, hit by junior center fielder Nathan Archer. This series of events gave the Falcons an extremely early 1-0 lead.  

In an attempt to bring Archer home, two Falcons grounded out, however this was followed by a solid hit by redshirt freshman first baseman Brady Birchmeier that landed in right center field putting BGSU up 2-0. 

A line drive straight to a defender halted the Falcons next scoring attempt, placing their 2-0 lead in jeopardy heading to the bottom of the first. 

The Tigers opened their offensive possession with an extremely similar energy to the Falcons as a single cut through the middle of the diamond earning Memphis their first base hit of the afternoon. 

A wild pitch from sophomore righty Calvin Mitchell hit a Tiger batter,  putting two straight Memphis players on base to start the game. 

The first runs were scored for Memphis shortly after when senior Mississippi native Jacob Compton placed a single into right field, bringing a Tiger home  and setting the score at 2-1. 

Another big hit was popped high to center field by senior Duante Stuart, which allowed Memphis to even the score 2-2. This inning was slammed to a close as Mitchell caught a batter swinging. 

Mitchell was able to place several tight pitches that forced easy hits and were fielded quickly. While a single through the middle by junior UCLA transfer Alex Fernandes did end this streak, he was caught stealing, bringing an uneventful second inning to an end. 

A similar energy filled the third inning as the first pitch at the top of the third was hit by Newman, who was grounded out at first. Sophomore shortstop Sam Seidel popped a ball to center field that continued a streak of six hits without any earned bases.  

Sophomore starting pitcher Caden Robinson earned himself the first strikeout of the game for Memphis which came against Archer. 

Going to the bottom of the third, Mitchell attempted to keep the game tied by striking out the first batter on a full count. He proceeded to foul out another Tiger and ended the inning on a third straight out which was a line drive hit to center field. 

The fourth inning could not have gone worse for the Falcons as bats grew cold. A line drive found itself in the glove of the shortstop to start the fourth.  

A Falcon finally got back on base when Birchmeier was walked giving BGSU the opportunity to threaten a score. Birchmeier then advanced to second when a wild pitch by Robinson got him just enough time to steal. 

The Orange and Brown’s hopes were dashed when Robinson tossed his second strikeout of the day against Leighton Banjoff. 

A hot start at the bottom of the fourth was exactly what Memphis was looking for, as Compton nailed a ball that landed himself a spot at first base. 

Mitchell’s arm began to show signs of deterioration as a walk put Tigers on second and first, so the first pitching switch the game was used to bring in senior left hander Rigo Ramos 

Ramos’ first batter faced resulted in a walk, loading the bases, and creating a perfect opportunity for Memphis. 

This opportunity cashed out when senior catcher and Tennessee native, Brennan DuBose slammed a homerun ball past left field resulting in a grand slam for the Tigers, 6-2. 

A failed bunt attempt followed the massive hit for Memphis giving the Orange and Brown the opportunity to close out the fourth with one more out. 

BGSU’s hopes were slashed again as Memphis found themselves on a hot streak due to a double, hitting left center field. Not happy with the results of the inning, yet another pitching change was called for by the Falcons, bringing in relief righty, senior Logan Bell 

Bell’s first pitch of the day did not go as planned, with a resulting double putting more points on the board for Memphis, now up 7-2. 

Four straight balls from Bell made it clear to the Falcons that a decision needed to be made in an attempt to stop the scoring. This choice was lefthanded sophomore Luke Krouse who appeared in 17 total games for the Falcons last season. 

A BGSU error prolonged the nightmare inning for the Falcons bringing two more Tigers home setting the score at 9-2.  

With no end in sight Stuart smoked a double down the foul line of right field. Giving Compton, who was a lone baseman at the time enough time to head home, 10-2. 

A flied out allowed the Orange and Brown to collect their thoughts as they had a heavy workload ahead of them to start the fifth inning. 

Their first attempt at cutting into the Tigers’ lead was not successful due to Robinson’s pitches forcing three straight Falcons to pop, ground and fly out. 

Memphis then took the field with aspirations of putting the game out of reach, and while the first batter grounded out, Fernandes delivered with a bunt that got him a spot on first. 

This led to another move on the carousel of pitching changes, senior from New London, Ohio, Peyton Wilson. The change did not alter the flow of the game, as a wild pitch moved Fernandes to second and a right field single pushed him home, 11-2.  

Wilson followed this with a strikeout, which was a promising sign for the Falcons and a grounded out sent the game to the sixth with BGSU looking to change their fortunes. 

Seidel opened the sixth with a single, however his stay on base was cut short as a fielder’s choice sent him back to the dugout. With one man on base, Robinson threw a pitch that struck a Falcon putting BGSU in a position to steal some points. 

They did exactly that off of a Birchmeier single that brought one member of the Falcons home, 11-3. The Tigers saw enough and ended the day of Robinson, bringing in redshirt sophomore Logan Rushing 

Taking advantage of the new player, Banjoff hit a home run, collecting three RBIs, slamming into Memphis’ seemingly insurmountable lead at 11-6. A single brought BGSU back on base immediately after, and three following walks resulted in the score of 11-7. 

Memphis then decided to bring in senior JT Durham, who finished the game pitching for the Tigers. He proceeded to foul out Archer which was enough to get to the bottom of the sixth. 

A shaky start resulted in a four straight ball walk for Wilson, but he then proceeded to pop out a batter and fly two more in a row for a quick end to the sixth. 

With the game winding to a close, BGSU needed to act quickly if they wanted to even the game.

Durham however has other plans, striking out one Falcon and getting two easy pop flies. 

The Orange and Brown could not find a reliable option at pitcher, switching to Connar Penrod, a local from Wauseon. Penrod’s start to the inning was not ideal, as he had a double and single hit on him which led to a Tiger picking through the diamond with a double, scoring two more runs for Memphis 13-7. 

Following this, Penrod was able to get three straight outs off two easily fielded balls and a strikeout.  

With their backs against the wall, the Falcons were walked to open the inning, but a familiar sight occurred, as back to back to back hits were grabbed and the game went to the bottom of the eighth. 

The pitching changes never stopped as Isaiah Seidel was brought in to close out the game. Seidel flied a batter and walked another before nabbing one more out.  

With one out remaining in the inning, new blood was given a shot as freshman Owen Poole received a chance to make a massive play for BGSU. His fifth pitch was a high straight shot that flew to center field and gave BGSU one final opportunity to win the game. 

This hope was crushed immediately after due to a line drive that swung the Memphis series in the Tigers’ favor 2-1. 

While the result was obviously not what the Falcons hoped for, it made clear what problems they will face in the future.  

Pitching issues for the Falcons is not something new, as they struggled to close out a tight game against Middle Tennessee on the 17th of February, 

The Falcons now look ahead to a series next week against Tennessee (6-1) on March 1. The first pitch will be at 6:30 pm and marks the third straight series the Falcons have in Tennessee. 

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

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