Friday, April 30, 2010

What To Watch This Weekend

This is turning into one of those made-for-TV movies. I can see it now. It opens with a shot of a rag-tag dejected baseball team sitting in a dugout. A couple of players throw their gloves on the ground in disgust. The camera shot pans over to the scoreboard just over the right field wall and shows the final score – 32-10.

I haven’t asked any of the BG baseball players or coaches about what happened 20 days ago on April 10 (mostly because I value my life and don’t care much for dismemberment), but I can imagine that the evening wasn’t that pretty. No baseball team in BG history had given up 32 runs in a game and suddenly a team that EVERYONE considered the favorite to win the MAC was scuffling along at 8-17 (excuse me if I drop the one tie – there aren’t really any ties in baseball are there?) and 2-6 in conference.

I imagine some of the players got texts and phone calls that night asking if the score was legit. I imagine they had to go back to their dorm rooms or to go see their family and friends and try to come up with an excuse. I know that I, personally, got a couple of texts from members of the athletic department asking if the score they saw was a misprint. And actually, if this were a made-for-TV movie, I doubt the final score would be 32-10. That’s just not realistic enough.

But whatever happened that evening, something changed. The Falcons returned to Steller Field the next day and avenged that loss to Ball State with a 9-3 win over the Cardinals. Maybe the guys had bought into the hype early in the season and that loss made them realize that they couldn’t just walk out onto the field and win games. Maybe the loss loosened up the clubhouse because they knew it couldn’t get any worse than that. As I said, I haven’t asked anybody so I don’t know for sure, but something definitely changed.

Since that fateful day, BG baseball has won seven straight Mid-American Conference games and rides a nine-game winning streak into this afternoon’s series opener with Miami (Ohio) at Steller Field. In all, the team has won 11-of-12 since that loss (BG lost a non-conference game to Michigan 8-5 on April 14 for the only defeat in that stretch), has scored at least 12 runs on four occasions and has blasted 20 or more runs twice. The team has swept rival Toledo and MAC East foe Ohio.

Excuse me if the stat geek in me comes out for a minute, but the numbers are pretty impressive. The Falcons have at least 11 hits in all but one game since that loss (and BG actually won the only game they didn’t have 11 hits). The team is hitting .366 in the past 12 games after hitting only .303 prior to that. Only two teams in NCAA Division I have hit better than .366 this year.

And on the pitching side of things, something dramatic has changed as well. The team ERA since the loss is 4.33, which is solid but not awe-inspiring until you take into account the fact that the team’s ERA over the first 26 games was 7.11 and only two teams in the MAC have a sub 5.00 ERA on the year.

To put up those types of numbers, the whole team has to be contributing. But for my money, nobody has been a bigger and better story during the stretch than Kevin Leady. Leady was named a captain for the 2009 season but missed the entire year with Tommy John surgery. I’m sure he had plenty of sleepness nights wondering if he’d ever pitch again, and if he did, whether or not he’d be able to really contribute.

But Leady was the one that went to the mound April 11, the day after the loss. And Leady got the ship turned around. He went seven innings strong, allowed just two earned runs, and picked up the win. The next weekend, with the team going for a sweep of Toledo, he willed the Falcons to the win. It was arguably the worst hitting performance of the winning streak for the BG, but Leady gave up only one hit through the first seven innings and the team won 4-2. Finally, last weekend he went seven innings again, giving up just three earned runs in a 12-5 win over Ohio. He’s 3-0 on the mound with a 2.82 ERA in the past 20 days.

At 9-6 in league play, the final half of this made-for-TV movie is yet to be written. Five teams still have better records than BG and the Falcons trail Kent State by one game in the MAC East standings. The other four teams with better records all reside in the MAC West and since they all still have to play some combination of each other, there will be plenty of losses to go around.

If this were a made-for-TV movie though, it wouldn’t be about BGSU. It would be about some team that has never won anything. This baseball team has won two MAC regular season titles in a row. And they’ve been in this position before. They know how to win down the stretch and they have a coach who’s been there before.

So get out to Steller Field this weekend and support the Falcons. First pitch is 3 p.m. today, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. If you can’t get out this weekend, get out next weekend when BG hosts Akron or May 20-22 when the Falcons host Buffalo to round out the regular season. That series could have MAC title implications on the line. This team has been a great feel-good story and let’s help them reach the finish line!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In Their Own Words -- Debbie Bruns

In Their Own Words will be a regular feature here and it debuts this week with Administrative Secretary Debbie Bruns. Debbie began at BGSU in 1981 in the bursar's office before moving to athletics in 1989. She's been here ever since and is a great resource in the department.
Here we are nearing the end of another academic year in the life of BGSU students. This time of year is always bittersweet, as we have to say goodbye to some pretty incredible graduates. Some of them have worked within the athletics department for the duration of their time at school - as interns, student employees, and graduate students, but they all bring with them their own special traits and personalities. This is probably the most difficult time during the year for me, when we have to say some goodbyes, and send these bright young men and women on their way to begin a new chapter of their lives.

I work with our athletics director as his administrative secretary, and what is nice about that – it places me in a position where I come in contact with many of these students, some on a daily basis. You can feel good about the type of men and women that are stepping out into the world these days. They never cease to amaze me with their loyalty, dedication, morals, and yes…even their sense of humor. Rest assured, BGSU is graduating some pretty remarkable young adults.

Now it’s time to say those goodbyes, wish them success in all their endeavors, and hope they come back to visit us in the future. I’m sure we will have a new batch of eager students ready to step into the roles of our outgoing graduates. And, next year at this time, we’ll have another bunch of graduates that I’ll shed a tear of happiness for as they make their way out the doors of BGSU into a bright new world of possibilities.
-- Written by Debbie Bruns

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Blog Begins

And so it begins. As the athletic communications office at Bowling Green, we've jumped full-force into a lot of areas of social media such as our highly successful Twitter page ( Or at least I like to think it's highly successful. We've even blogged during events and on road trips and things like that, but we've never started a general blog like this. Since I started at Bowling Green in November of 2008, it's been sitting on my "to-do" list but I haven't felt comfortable about starting it until now because I had so many other things on my plate and I wanted to make sure that once we started this thing, we gave it the proper focus that it needs to be successful. So why start a blog?

Well, I think we do a pretty good job at of providing information -- from pregame and postgame stories to stats, rosters, promotions, etc. But I don't think is the right place for bringing a more personal side of things to the discussion. For me, this is the place to do it. With Twitter, we can do some of it. But 140 characters really limits personality and I'm frankly just not good enough to get all of my thoughts into that framework. So I think a blog is the perfect place for that.

Some of the blog posts may be short and some may be longer. It just depends on how the mood strikes us. Hopefully, we'll be able to get some of the other folks in the department on-board to provide their thoughts and ideas on a regular basis from head coaches providing insight on their teams to administrative staff giving us a glimpse into their world as they work countless hours behind the scenes to help our student-athletes succeed. We'll even try to get some folks from other areas of campus to talk about athletics and how they view the department. Maybe we can get some alumni to say a few words about their experiences at BGSU and how their lives were shaped by their time here.

As well, we'll provide some thoughts as we're out at games and events. It may be a quick, short comment or it may be an entire blow-by-blow blog of an event. We'll see how the blog evolves over time. In the meantime, if you have ideas or comments or would like to be involved (for instance, if there are any alumni out there who would like to provide their thoughts in a blog post), feel free to e-mail me at As I said, I want this to be something fun and something that shows the personalities of some pretty great people in our athletic department!