Baseball team capitilizes on Findlay mistakes


Steven W. Echard Photo Editor

Brian Bien gets a hit in a game against conference rival Toledo.

Capitalizing on others’ mistakes saved the day and maybe the season for the Bowling Green baseball team.

After snapping a 10-game losing streak in the game prior, the Falcons came out firing on all cylinders in a 10-0 rout against the University of Findlay.

After a three-up-three-down first inning from starter Brett Fitzwater, Kory Brown got the offense rolling with a single to right center, which he stretched to second base on a right fielder error.

This was just the beginning of what was to come for each team, as BG notched its first shutout of the season.

Brandon Howard followed up the single with an RBI single of his own, again to right center, giving the Falcons a lead they never lost.

“I thought the big key was the first inning,” head coach Danny Schmitz said. “Kory Brown and Brandon Howard got things started for us, [Findlay] made a couple of mistakes and we took advantage that.”

Oiler starter Cory Carl made it blatantly clear that he was looking to work away from the BG hitters, attempting to paint the outside part of the plate for most of his 3.2 innings. The Falcons maintained their approach, consistently drove the ball to opposite field and piled the runs on early.

“When our approach is good it’s something that [allows us to] put runs up on the board,” Brown said. “If we keep our approach, it can carry us a long way.”

After Trey Keegan pulled a shot between the third base and shortstop gap, BG used a double steal as Howard stole third and Keegan snagged second. But a throwing error by Christion Smith down to third allowed Howard to scamper home as Keegan slid safely into third.

BG kept it going with some situational ball as Matt Smith brought Keegan in to score on a 6-3 groundout.

To top off the inning with an exclamation mark, Greg Basalyga launched a towering shot — his first homerun of the season — over the left field wall to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead after one frame.

As well as the offense played, making Findlay pay for its repeated mistakes in the field, the Falcons garnered a gem from Fitzwater on the mound, too.

“Work down, attack the zone and just get outs … let my defense do the work,” Fitzwater said.

The “out pitch” for Fitzwater was just locating the fastball. He didn’t throw more than one or two curveballs until the fifth inning, he said.

The Oilers didn’t register a hit until two outs in the top of the seventh when Peter Yorgen singled to right center. This was their first and last hit of the game as Fitzwater got Troy Merriman swinging to end the inning, ending his day on the mound, tying a career-high seven strikeouts.

Fitzwater consistently worked with quick innings, never facing more than four batters in an inning, including a sixth inning when he caught all three batters looking to retire the side.

Relievers Trevor Farrell and Tyler Anderson each threw an inning to end the game, each facing just four batters.

At the dish, to keep the onslaught going, the Falcons scored yet another unearned run as Nick Glanzman came around to score on a Howard sacrifice fly, after reaching on an error by shortstop Kevin Schrock.

Again in the fourth, BG was the beneficiary of sloppy play from the Oilers, scoring three additional unearned runs after another Schrock error, stretching its lead to 8-0.

In the sixth inning, BG manufactured a couple more earned runs to cap off the games’ scoring.

Howard singled up the middle followed by a Keegan walk. Then, with two on and nobody out, Matt Smith hit behind the runners, grounding out to second base, but advancing both Howard and Keegan.

Again hitting behind the runners, Basalyga grounded out to second, moving Keegan to third and scoring Howard. Randy Righter then roped one into left field to score Keegan and closing the book on the Oilers for the day.

“Playing the little ball, taking advantage of mistakes, being aggressive on the basepaths — that’s exactly what we need to do,” Schmitz said.

The Falcons will look to carry this momentum back into Mid-American Conference play — still searching for their first MAC win of the season — with a three-game homestand against Miami.

“[This game] gives us a lot of confidence,” Fitzwater said. “When they make mistakes, make it hurt and hopefully this game will help us out and give us some confidence for this weekend.”