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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Men’s baseball wins a wild season opener in extra innings

The BG men’s baseball team knew they had all off-season to wait around.

In their season opener Friday night, the Falcons jumped out to a 8-1 lead after two innings, fended off a full comeback from the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers and eventually won a tight 9-8 game in extra innings in Bowling Green, Ky.

Not that the Falcons weren’t patient behind the plate. BG’s lineup managed eight walks and just six hits, none after the second inning. No Falcon reached first base after the third frame until the game reached extra innings.

In the 10th inning, with the score deadlocked at eight apiece, a two-out walk from rookie Trey Keegan set the stage for the go-ahead run for BG. Patrick Lancaster pinch-ran for Keegan, stealing second, and eventually scored on an error by Hilltoppers shortshop Scott Wilcox.

Wilcox almost redeemed himself, singling with two-outs in the bottom half of the inning, moving to second on a walk. But Falcons reliever Ben Singer retired the final out to secure the victory.

Early on, it seemed like the Falcons would run away with a blowout win, after scoring eight runs in just two frames.

The Falcons plated three runs in the first, all with two outs, following a hit-by-pitch and three straight walks from the middle of the lineup. An inning later, the first six Falcons reached base on three singles and as many walks, driving Hilltoppers starter Justin Hageman out of the game after recording just one inning pitched and seven earned runs.

From there, until the 10th inning, it was all Western Kentucky.

Falcons co-captain Cody Apthorpe gave up just two earned runs off four hits in starting the season debut, walking one and striking out five.

RHP Jason Link, who at times dominated in relief last year as a freshman, appeared to be picking up where he left off after retiring the first six batters he faced. In the seventh, the Hilltoppers finally broke through, taking advantage of two walks, back-to-back hit batsmen and an error from Andrew Kubuski in left field which brought the game to 8-6.

Two more runs scored to tie the game an inning later, as senior RHP Nick Bruns, formerly a starter but pressed into a closing role last season, gave up a two-out, two-run single to Wilcox to complete the seven-run comeback.

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