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September 29, 2023

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Defense, bullpen struggles continue for BG baseball in 9-7 loss to Murray State

A series of defensive miscues and a bullpen meltdown squandered a strong outing from Cody Apthorpe in a 9-7 loss to the Murray State Thoroughbreds on Friday afternoon.

The Falcons escaped the winter storm up north on their road trip to Kentucky, but following an early offensive outburst, the Thoroughbreds kept the Falcons’ bats cold the rest of the game.

Apthorpe’s command was mixed, throwing two wild pitches and hitting a pair of batters between six strikeouts and just a lone walk. The team co-captain went 5 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run.

But it was the two relievers who followed Apthorpe, RHP’s Jason Link and Ben Singer, and four errors on the day, which made the difference.

Link had given up four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in the opening series against Western Kentucky, and struggled even more against the Thoroughbreds.

The Falcons’ clung to a one-run lead late in the game, quickly erased in the seventh inning when Link surrendered a walk and a pair of singles.

With runners on second and third and one out, Link was instructed to intentionally walk clean-up hitter Mike Kozlowski, who’d been 0-3 on the day to that point.

The walk put the bases loaded, and Link was pulled for Ben Singer, who promptly walked the next hitter to give up the go-ahead run.

From there, four straight Thoroughbreds batters reached following a fielder’s choice, two hits and another Falcons error, the third of the afternoon.

Despite the five-run deficit, the Falcons managed to pull within two runs in the eighth, with RBI hits from Jake Thomas, Patrick Lancaster and Trey Keegan.

Twice in the ninth inning, the Falcons had the tying man at the plate, but the Thoroughbreds held on to win 9-7.

Thomas, who’d gone hitless in eight at-bats in the opening series this past weekend, went 4-4 from the bottom of the lineup. The junior outfielder batted leadoff for parts of 2012 and could find himself back near the top of the order with more performances like Friday’s game.

The Falcons finished with four errors on the afternoon, which brings their total to 11 through four games.

With the loss, the Falcons move to 2-2 in non-conference action. The two teams will face again tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. with Michael Frank as BG’s projected starting pitcher.

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