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BG baseball in three-way tie for final seed in MAC tournament

Brandon+Howard%2C+BG+infielder%2C+positions+himself+under+a+fly+ball.+He+played+14+games+before+missing+the+rest+of+the+2011+season+with+a+broken+foot.
Byron Mack

Brandon Howard, BG infielder, positions himself under a fly ball. He played 14 games before missing the rest of the 2011 season with a broken foot.

While students will soon vacate campus for the summer, the BG baseball team will still be at work attempting to keep its season alive.

The Falcons sit in a three-way tie with Miami and Northern Illinois for the eighth and final seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, scheduled to take place May 23 through 26.

All three teams have 7-11 conference records and sit half a game behind Western Michigan, the holder of the seventh seed.

Complicating matters for the Falcons is that both Western Michigan and Miami won their respective season series with BG. The Broncos swept the Falcons back in late March, while Miami took two of three games from BG several weeks ago. The Falcons do not have Northern Illinois on their schedule this season.

The top three seeds from each division qualify for the MAC Tournament. The next two teams with the best records, regardless of conference, determine the seventh and eighth seeds.

In the MAC East, BG is tied with Miami for fourth. The schools sit three games behind Akron, which also swept BG this season. Kent State and Ohio are the top two in the East. BG sits eight and five games behind them, respectively.

The Falcons have 10 games remaining on their schedule, with nine of those contests coming in three separate three-game weekends sets.

Coming up this weekend, the Falcons will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., for a three-game series with Eastern Michigan, the No. 2 seed in the MAC West. The Eagles are 10-8 on the season, two games behind Toledo in the West.

The following week, on May 8, the Falcons will play their final midweek regular season game, a Tuesday afternoon contest against Wright State. That weekend, May 11 through 13, the Falcons will take on Toledo in the baseball rendition of the Battle of I-75.

The Falcons will close out the regular season May 17 through 19 at Buffalo, N.Y. The Bulls are the only team in the division with a worse record than BG, sitting at 5-12 in conference play and 12-27 overall.

Since the beginning of MAC play, the Falcons have maintained a consistent pattern in the outcome of their series. BG has alternated series wins with its opponents all season.

The Falcons began MAC play March 23 against Western Michigan, a series in which the Falcons lost all three games. The following weekend, BG took two of three games from Central Michigan at home.

The next weekend, BG was swept by Akron before taking two of three games from MAC-leading Kent State the following weekend.

The Falcons followed that up by losing two of three games to Miami, before taking two of three games from Ohio this past weekend.

The Falcons were in a similar situation this past season, but more so because of their own struggles. In their last 13 games, the Falcons went 4-9, squeaking in the MAC Tournament as the eight seed. They were defeated by No. 1 Kent State, 6-2, before Northern Illinois eliminated BG with a 4-2 win.

The Falcons have not failed to qualify for the MAC Tournament since 2007, when they finished 22-32.

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