Falcon prepare for first home game, get ready for MAC games this weekend

Coming home for the first time this season, the Bowling Green baseball team will use its lone midweek game as a tune up for Mid-American Conference play.

On the road for its first 14 games, BG [5-9] plays Youngstown State at Steller Field on Mar. 18 before the MAC opening weekend against Ball State on Friday.

The Falcons will utilize most of its roster against YSU in order to ensure that the team is both healthy and ready to compete in the Conference.

“It’s always great to be home, but we want to get ourselves ready for Friday,” said head coach Danny Schmitz. “That’s when it becomes real.”

Due to the continuous inclement weather and low temperatures, the Falcons have been limited to indoor practices and a plethora of road trips to get a chance at actual baseball scenarios.

In these scenarios, BG has been fairly successful with the offense averaging nearly seven runs per game. However, the Falcons haven’t had the same success on the mound with a 5.72 team ERA.

“The strength of our team is probably our offense, overall,” said catcher Trey Keegan, who leads the team with a .380 batting average. “When we get going, when we stick with our approach that our coaches have ingrained in us, we’re really hard to stop.”

One aspect that has helped the offense along is the successful running game that the Falcons have had early on.

Swiping 22 of 33 bags on the season, BG has been able to manufacture runs even when the entire lineup is not firing on all cylinders.

“The running game is huge for us. Getting people in scoring position after walks or singles and getting them in scoring position for our RBI guys is huge,” Keegan said.

[Our baserunning] takes away from us having to bunt and give up outs to move runners into scoring position, pitcher Tony Landi added.

“That’s part of our offense,” Schmitz said. “We get on base and try to cause some havoc and try to force the opposition into making a mistake. We’re led by the top of the order with Brandon Howard and Brian Bien and it’s extremely important that those guys get on base.”

The Falcons will need to sharpen their work on the mound to continue and build on success in the MAC.

The offense has not struggled to give the staff leads to work with, while the defense is sporting a .963 fielding percentage, limiting mistakes in the field.

“Our pitching is the one thing that we have to get going — a little more on a consistent basis,” Schmitz said. “We’re basically giving up over two runners an inning, so that’s going to be the big key, getting our pitching staff going.”

The staff will have an opportunity to get going against YSU as the team expects to use about nine pitchers, one per inning, in order to be ready for the series against Ball State on Friday, Schmitz said.

While the Falcons have seen flashes during each phase of the game, they are determined to develop consistency as they head into their stretch of home games.

“We’ve all seen some pretty good things from the team, but we’ve got some things to work on,” Landi said. “We all feel pretty confident that we can be a good team, we just need to put everything together.”