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BGSU baseball 2024 season recap: Falcons shattered and rewrote the record books in their return to the top of the MAC  

Drake Harlett/BGSU Athletics
Bowling Green, OH – BGSU baseball team celebrating their program record 23rd MAC win of the season after defeating Toledo 8-6 at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio.

In their fourth season after the program was briefly eliminated in 2020, head coach Kyle Hallock and the Falcons shattered outside expectations and returned Bowling Green baseball back to the top of the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

Following three seasons of rebuilding a program from the ground up, the Falcons proved this year that they are once again a force on the diamond. 

“We knew we were doing the right things, we maybe made a couple adjustments, but we didn’t go away from who we’ve been, who we are and the things that mattered to us, and this is the result of sticking to a plan, sticking to the process, as you hear in other sports and other coaches, but it takes discipline from the top, from the assistant coaches, to stick with it, and it takes players believing in what they’re doing to stick with it on their end, too,” Hallock said. “If you want to summarize it that way, we didn’t deviate…we stuck with it, and this is the reward; that’s the gratification of knowing you did it right for long enough to be rewarded.”   

Record-Breaking Season  

After being picked to finish eighth in the MAC preseason poll, the Falcons won their first outright regular season conference championship since 2009, finishing the season 33-20 overall and 24-6 in MAC play.  

BGSU was the last undefeated team in conference play in the country and set the MAC record for best start in conference play at 17-0.  

The Orange and Brown shattered the program record books, setting the following records: Most conference wins in a season (24), best MAC winning percentage in a season (.800), most All-MAC selections in a season (11), most runs scored in a MAC game (34), most runs batted in (RBI) in a game in program history (33), most walks drawn in a game (15), best home start (10-0), best conference play start (17-0), most walks drawn in a season (310), most strikeouts thrown in a season (403) and best fielding percentage in a season (.976).  

On top of rewriting the history books, the Falcons also racked up individual awards.  

Hallock was awarded MAC Coach of the Year, becoming the first individual in MAC sports history to be named MAC Player of the Year as a student-athlete (MAC Pitcher of the Year at Kent State in 2011) and MAC Coach of the Year as a head coach.  

Junior outfielder Nathan Archer was awarded MAC Player of the Year and earned MAC All-Defensive Team and First-Team All-MAC honors.  

Archer, likely to be a 2024 MLB Draft selection, has stamped his name all over the program record books.  

The Lagrange, Ohio, native ranks fourth in program history for home runs (35), sixth for triples (10), seventh for total bases (340) and eighth for RBI (137).   

Archer’s 2024 season was one of the greatest in BGSU history.   

He holds the program record for most at-bats in a single season (247). Additionally, Archer ranks second for single-season RBI (63) and third for home runs (18) and total bases (147).  

Freshman catcher Garrett Wright, who broke onto the scene for BG this season, was among the best hitters in the MAC, leading the conference in on-base percentage (.503).  

Additionally, Wright was named MAC Freshman of the Year and earned First-Team All-MAC and All-MAC Defensive Team selections.  

Sophomore infielder Sam Seidel earned All-MAC First Team honors, while junior pitcher Nic Good and sophomore two-way player DJ Newman received All-MAC Second Team honors. Good was also named to the All-MAC Defensive Team.  

Rounding out the awards, senior outfielder Jack Krause and senior infielders Leighton Banjoff and Tyler Ross were named to the All-MAC Second Team.  

“I think when you talk about this season, and especially with the prowess that our offense showed from start to pretty much the whole year, you look at the season’s Ross, Jack Krause and Banjoff had, and we’re not in the position we’re in if they don’t have the years they had,” Hallock said. “Coming off the seasons they’ve had and the progression they’ve made, if you look at numbers, those guys were the glue guys. They became great college baseball players on their way out. That was a difference maker.”  

Season Review and Results  

Bowling Green started their season with nine straight non-conference games across Tennessee, leaving the Volunteer State with a 2-7 record.  

The Falcons won one of three contests against both Middle Tennessee State and Memphis before being swept by Tennessee, arguably the best team in the country.  

“I knew right there when we left Knoxville with what coach Vitello had that that’s a team that can win it all. For us to get on the field with it, and our players to understand that there’s a whole other level that we need to work towards, or we can become this in our conference, there you go,” Hallock said. “It’s all about being willing to go get the information you need and then distribute it, and then our players need to be able to handle it, and we got that right, and they got that right. As a result, you get a good season.”

However, after being battle-tested to start the season, the Orange and Brown went on a historic run that may never be matched: starting conference play 17-0.  

The Falcons swept Miami (OH), Ball State, Akron, Northern Illinois and Central Michigan and won two games against Ohio.  

“Now that it’s over, 17 games in a row in the MAC was really special, and to do it at home against OU, both of those games, I’d say, stand out to me,” Ross said.  

After their historic winning streak ended, BG dropped back-to-back series against Kent State and Western Michigan.  

But the Falcons closed the regular season strong, clinching the MAC title in a series win against Eastern Michigan and sweeping Toledo, highlighted by breaking the program record for most MAC wins in a season with a victory against the archrival Rockets at Fifth Third Field.  

“Obviously, clinching it at Eastern, that’s going to be a big one. Then, Fifth Third, you know, securing a series win and most MAC wins in program history,” Ross said. “To do it there was really special, and to go back and look back on that night will probably be something really special and even grow on me the more and farther I get away from it.”  

Although the Falcons earned their first MAC Tournament win since 2015, they fell in the semifinals of the postseason tournament in Avon, Ohio, ending their season two wins short of a conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.

Program Turnaround and Culture Change

While it took four seasons to find the success Hallock and the team had been seeking, they had been improving the program and culture every year, step-by-step.  

“We compare our program to a house. When people drive by, you look at someone’s yard, you look and see if they cut their grass and edge it, you look at the siding. The outside is the wins and losses,” Hallock said. “We were cleaning the inside of the house because that’s where you live. We were cleaning the inside. So, when we went upstairs and cleaned some of those rooms, and we’re talking GPA, community service, how to act, how to show up to team meetings and how to be professional, we were cleaning the inside of the house. When you drove by, you didn’t see a whole lot changing on the outside. That’s because we were taking care of the inside. Now, all of a sudden, we got new siding, we got a new lawn, we got everything. So, stuff had been happening here, maybe not to the public eye because we’re the ones that live in the house, but now you get to see it on the outside of the house.”  

The constant improvement of the program helped the Falcons remain prepared for when the breakout season came.  

“We’ve always talked about within the program; we knew we were close to getting over the hump. But to actually maintain the success that we all wanted within the program was the hardest part,” Ross said. “So, to finally be able to see that and do that before I left is really special, and it says a lot about the group this year.”  

Hallock knew the team was focused on the same goal of turning the program around from the very first meeting at the beginning of the academic year.  

“Go back to the first team meeting on August 20, the day before classes started. I walked in there, and everyone was in their team polos. Everyone was dressed the same; no one showed up to the team meeting wearing something different, wearing their own thing or doing their own thing. They’re all in orange polos, nice pants, clean shoes, showered, hair slicked up and all the stuff, ready to go. That set the tone for them being a team. Right there, we got the first impression that these dudes want to come together to accomplish something,” he said. “The opinions were made at the beginning of the season from different publications. We probably shocked a lot of people, but we didn’t shock ourselves because, on August 20, we realized we had the ingredients to become a team. We can all talk about this thing, but they followed through on everything, and they committed to doing exactly what they were asked to do, and they got the ultimate reward for it.”  

A significant difference between this season and previous years was the offense. The Falcons went from arguably the worst offensive unit in the MAC last season to ranking in the top-10 in runs scored per game in the country this season.  

“We all kind of took it personal last year about how our offense didn’t perform as well as it should’ve. So, the coaches went to work over the summer, used their resources and got us some tools that we were able to use,” Ross said. “I think guy-to-guy, we really talked more this year and knew that we needed to step up.”  

The 180-degree program turnaround was only possible because of the contributions of the senior class core of Ross, Krause and Rigo Ramos.  

“When we decided to come back, you know, us three, we kind of made a promise to each other that no matter how it went, we were going to go out giving it our all. So, for us three to go through that, be here from its lowest to its highest in the past decade, for us to be here together is something really special,” Ross said. “I can’t say I have any regrets this past year, and for us to go out the way we did will really stay with me. It just goes to show how much hard work the seniors put into the program. We did get paid off, and we got paid off in the right way before we left.”  

Bowling Green also would not have had the success they had this year without the addition of senior transfers Landon Roque and David Silva. Roque transferred to BG from Lamar 48 hours before the deadline, while Silva joined the team after four seasons at Ohio Dominican.  

“They impacted us in different ways. Roque’s quiet and just gets it done, and Silva’s not quiet; he’s loud and loosens things up for the dugout,” Hallock said. “They were both effective in their roles on our team, and we couldn’t be happier that we were able to make it work and bring it all together.”  

Before the season began, the Falcons received numerous demonstrations of support from alumni, highlighted by Orel Hershiser, that helped boost the team’s confidence and motivation.  

“Orel comes back in the fall for the BG-Toledo football game and creates a buzz, and a lot of his teammates came back to enhance that buzz. But also, we run the first pitch dinner, and that’s a major league event. Orel’s there up in front of everyone in the flesh; these guys are here in the flesh. Roger McDowell’s in the house, Dave Litzenberg’s in the house; guys that have been there from the beginning. We ran that event, and I think our guys left that event understanding the type of quality this program produces. They realized it’s their turn to go produce it on the field,” Hallock said. “Everyone talks about it, 11 teams talk about it, 11 teams have team meetings at the beginning of the year, some guys run fundraisers, they run alumni weekends, but no one does it like Bowling Green State University does it.”  

As the Falcons evolved through alumni support and newfound success, the community fully embraced their hometown team.  

“It’s something that we’ve always worked for. For a long time throughout my career, baseball was not on the good side of those talks, whether it was performance or little things here or there. But we always worked for it, and we always knew it was close. We take pride in being in the community,” Ross said. “So, for that to finally come to fruition and see it all was really special. We take great pride in it; it didn’t go unnoticed. It was one of the driving forces I think we used throughout the year.”  

Even though Bowling Green fell short in Avon and did not get the chance to play on the national postseason stage, Hallock and the Falcons surpassed all outside expectations and then some this season.   

Four years ago, the program did not exist. Now, the Orange and Brown are MAC champions.   

However, Hallock believes this good season was just the start of a great program turnaround.  

“I think the season was a good season. There was enough good to happen for our returners to understand that we are a good program again. We’ve always been a good program, but we are now that between the lines. But also, there was enough heartbreak to be motivated to move the carrot, as I kind of tell them. We moved the carrot this year, and you guys grabbed it. Now, we’re going to move it again next year because there’s more to do, and we want to be playing this week instead of doing interviews this week about the season,” Hallock said. “If they continue to allow us to push them, they will get more results like they have gotten this year, and I don’t anticipate that being an issue because they come from great families; they want to be pushed. The student-athlete experience gets talked a lot about in college athletics. They had lived one without winning, and now they’ve lived one with winning, and I think that level of success is going to push and drive them, along with a little frustration with how the year ended this year.”  

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

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