11:21 a.m. -- What a day yesterday was! You got a thrilling BGSU victory of those Ball State Cardinals, 6-4, and then a chance to rest ALL day afterward. Personally, I had a surprise visit from the girlfriend so I enjoyed some good company, some Olive Garden and a nice walk through the east side of Chillecothe, Ohio.
Despite the warnings I received on the town, it actually is pretty nice. Down the main strip (I believe its Rt. 105 or 159) there is a strip mall on each side of the road totalling maybe 25+ stores including a JCPenny's, Sears, Show Dept., Champs Sports and a nice variety of places that any small town could want. Of course, no town is without a WalMart and this includes Chillicothe... and a Super Walmart at that! :)
The city is a pretty busy place. Traffic through the town has been pretty constant and the demographic here is of an older age group, but that just means its a nice, quiet town. This could just be the economically-challenged GA in me talking but there are plenty of places to eat with lots of variety. Ponderosa Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Rooster's (very similar to BG's Frickers), Donato's Pizza (yummmm), Tumbleweed Steakhouse, NY-Penn Station... I could go on and on. Lots of options and all I can say is that we better keep winning so I can try as many of them as possible!
The weather down here has been pretty hot and muggy. Yesterday's game was probably the nicest time slot we could have asked for just because it topped out at 75 degrees by the end of our game. I went out for a job through the town this morning at about 9:15 a.m. and I can tell you its already that hot and far muggier than yesterday. Could make for an interesting day of baseball for all.
The guys are very relaxed and are having a very laid-back approach to today's game with Central Michigan (4pm). Well, the exception being Kevin Leady who at breakfast this popped a single smile and then put his game face back on as he exited with breakfast... but that's just Kevin. I've seen a couple of the guys out in the hottub resting the muscles and relaxing. Others have their families in town and have been spending time with them over dinner. As long as they are on the bus for team meal, the game and are ready to play Coach Schmitz is fairly lax with what the players do in their spare time. Don't let that fool you though, these guys are ready and anxious to WIN, and WIN IT ALL!
In speaking of the parents, they have come out in full force and have created one of the largest fan followings among all the participating schools in this tournament. I've already had comments from others in the stands such as "You're fans are WAY too peppy for a 9 a.m. game" or "Wow, are your fans always this supportive?" ... and all I can do is smile and know that BGSU perhaps has the best fans in the MAC. Thank you to all the friends, family, significant others and fans that have made the nice three-hour trip to Chillicothe to support the team!
The bus for team meal is leaving in 15 minutes and from what I hear its a buffet. This could get dangerous and there is a chance I will need to take a second jog to burn off what I intend to put on at said buffett. More updates to come later today...
1:00 p.m. -- That buffett was rediculous. Ponderosa Steakhouse has definitely killed off any workout that I had already partaken in and there may be a need for a second workout to work off what I have just devoured. Fish, chicken, meatloaf, pork, steak, salad, and a HUGE dessert tray were just a few of the options out there. There may be a small "food baby" brewing in my belly.
Now I believe it is nap time and a time to tie up a few loose ends from the media stand point before we get on the bus at 2pm. Gametime is 4pm (as long as the game prior to us doesn't run long). GET READY! ITS GO-TIME!
3:12 p.m. -- The team is out here at the stadium and we are waiting for the conclusion of the Ball State and OU game. I don't know about how the coaches interact, but the SID (sport information department) community is showing that we are pretty friendly group when it comes to our down time. Despite the fact that in about an hour we will be mortal enemies, the CMU SID (Mike Boseak) and I have been talking baseball, work and other things completely irrelevant to anything but all good talk. We're enjoying the time we get to be friendly because when that first pitch is thrown, I'll be sportin' my mean mug!
3:28 -- There are two down in the bottom of the ninth of the OU/Ball State game. Ball State leads 13-7 and now we just wait for the inevitable. Abother crop of SIDs swung in and now me and the Eastern Michigan guys are just sitting and shootin' the breeze.
BGSU players are patiently (or impatiently) waiting for their turn, but maybe for the better they wait. Its 89 degrees here now, very muggy and the turf MUST be at least 15 degrees warmer. Yes that's right, imagine playing on the surface of Doyt Perry Stadium. Thats what these guys play on this weekend and its VERY warm. BG will be sporting the brown unis today, so hopefully it won't play into any fatigue they may encounter. The boys are still loose, but they want this game bad. 30 game faces came off this bus and they won't be satisfied with anything less than a win!
4:00 p.m. -- Ball State and OU is FINALLY over and the BGSU/CMU game has been delayed to 4:30 p.m. for the new first pitch time as a result. What an end to the Ball State game though... OU comes from five runs down and makes it a three-run game. With two runners on for their slugger Eldermire, the Cardinals counter by bringing in MAC Player of the Year, Kolbrin Vitek to get the final out, striking out Eldermire to end the game.
Still trying to see where I'm located with the influx of media and broadcasters flowing in and out of the already cramped pressbox. Falcons are taking infield currently and now more than ever they look like they mean business. Time to wait and see how this will work out. We're all very anxious. I believe the next two games, which feature two of the strongest teams on each side of the bracket, will determine who you see in the championship game. After Bowling Green, EMU and Toledo will face off... and I can't tell you how many people want the Eagles to play spoiler for the second time this tournament.
4:29 p.m. -- The game started just a few minutes earlier than reported, but I'm sure no Falcon really is arguing that decision. I can't tell you as a baseball guy and a Falcon fan what kind of excitement is flowing through my body right now. I'm just as pumped as the guys are! HERE WE GO!!! (Leady induces the leadoff man to chop to Duncan at first for the first out of the game)
Meisler - 2b
Blanton - cf
Vaughn - lf
Berti - ss
Galvin - rf
Duncan - 1b
Pitzulo - dh
Schalter - c
Starting pitcher: Kevin Leady (8-2)
Matt Faiman - rf (.309)
Brendan Emmett - dh (.299)
James Teas - 3b (.402)
Nate Theunissen - 1b (.405)
Dale Cornstubble - c (.323)
Billy Anderson - cf (.314)
Scott Phillon - lf (.314)
Robbie Harman - ss (.289)
Starting pitcher: Bryce Morrow
4:41 p.m. -- After one inning, both starting pitchers have given an indication that this may be a pitcher's duel. Both Leady and Bryce Morrow have struck out one and kept the other side scoreless and hitless. I know it's only one inning, the game is young and its bound to change but I like how this game is shaping up!
4:50 p.m. -- Two errors by Logan Meisler at second base (both on throws) have allowed two runs to score here in the top of the second. Perhaps I was wrong on how I like this game shaping up. Ok, I WAS wrong on how I like how this game is shaping up. As I type, Robbie Harman belts a double that hits the turf in front of Dennis Vaughn to score another. 3-0 with no outs in the top of the second.
4:54 p.m. -- Double by Matt Faiman scores two more. Ross Gerdeman heads to the bullpen to begin warming up and BG records its first out on a sacrifice bunt that moves Faiman to third.
5:00 p.m. -- The top of the second is finally over, and not soon enough. What may have been a tough-to-turn double play (6-4-3) didn't end well when Meisler's throw sailed high again and allowed a sixth run to score. 6-0 but BGSU is up to bat.
5:08 p.m. -- Bowling Green bats weren't active in the bottom of the second, but more importantly in this GA's mind is the fact that Kevin Leady just retired the Chips in order to start the third inning. That will definitely get the senior hurler some confidence back in himself as well as his defense. The left side of his infield put away ground outs while left fielder Dennis Vaughn fielded a pop fly down the line in a shady left field as well. Falcons back up and they are looking for their first hits in this inning.
5:12 p.m. -- Bats remain silent. Schalter threatened with a long slicing shot that went wide of the right field line... but just a long strike. Otherwise, Morrow is looking really solid.
5:22 p.m. -- Leady got himself into some trouble in the top of the fourth, but just as the senior tends to do he gets himself out of a jam with an inning-ending strikeout, the second he has on Nate Theneunissen. Still 6-0 after 3.5
5:25 p.m. -- Bowling green got its first baserunner of the day when TJ Blanton was hit (grazed) by a pitch, but a pair of 5-4 putouts ended any kind of momentum that the Brown and Orange were attempting to mount. Leady back out onto the mound. The real question will be how long will they let him go still being down by 6 runs... keep in mind if the Falcons lose today, they will have to play two games tomorrow (9am and 4pm) to advance to the championship round.
5:35 p.m. -- For the third straight inning the Falcons have gotten out of a bit of trouble, though this time they allowed one run in the inning and now CMU has a 7-0 lead after a big RBI double by a Chippewa player. BGSU is still looking for their first hit of the game as we head into the bottom of the fifth inning.
5:38 p.m. -- And there it is, BG's first hit. Jon Berti hit a grounder that tailed the first base line. CMU first baseman Nate Theunissen tried to smother it but somehow if found a hole through his jersey and Berti's speed stretches it into a double. After a passed ball Mark Galvin blasts a single through the middle and BGSU is on the board!!! 7-1 the score but there is still a runner on and no outs.
5:43 p.m. -- Only because I'm an easily irritable guy, I have to comment about how the CMU color analyst radio guy thinks he is an umpire with all of his hand signals and gestures that only am umpire would make. While not on the air, you can see this guy give the big "strike 3 punchout" and when he mistook a long double off the wall for a home run, he starting winding his hand in a circle, signaling home run. It's fairly humorous at times, but after about three or so occasions, its now kind of annoying. Oh, Bowling Green threatens but CMU is playing pretty good 'D' and has escaped the inning with the minimum amount of damge. After five inning, the score CMU 7, BGSU 1.
5:48 p.m. -- CMU has tacked on another run, this by clean play and a couple of hits, to extend their lead back to seven. Don't look now but Logan Meisler has starting off their half of the sixth inning with a leadoff single to center. Heart of the order coming through for Bowling Green and they are getting to Morrow for the third time tonight... anything can happen!
6:06 p.m. -- The Falcons leave two runners stranded and Morrow strikes out a pair of BG'ers (one fairly controversial call regarding how wide the outside black of the plate is) but the Falcons can't take advantage of a couple runners and still are down by seven runs after six and a half.
6:25 p.m. -- Bowling Green has had a few chances and a few base runners but haven't been able to put any runs across the plate. Patrick Martin (Oregon, Ohio / Clay High School) has come into the game to relieve Kevin Leady and has retired one Chip and walked another here in the top of the eighth.
6:42 p.m. -- Martin retired the Chips in the eighth and after hitting a batter in the ninth, Danny Schmitz has turned to freshman Michael Frank to finish this game out. Andrew Kuns and Matt Vannett have entered the game at first base and catcher, respectively. Denny Vaughn sports some leather and some legs after tracking down a deep fly ball in the leftcenter field gap, fielding it at the warning track for the first out of inning.
6:50 p.m. -- The Falcons took care of business with Frank retiring the Chips and now leaving it up to the Falcon offense to mount a cataclismic comeback. David Borcherdt has come into the game to pinch hit and draws a leadoff walk to begin the inning on Morrow, who is on to attempt his second complete game of the season.
6:54 p.m. -- Unforuntately the comeback was not meant to be. BGSU couldn't find a hole in the outfield to be had and after Borcherdt reach base a fly out, a strike out and a game-ending ground out ends the game, 8-1 in favor of CMU.
The Falcons and the Ball State Cardinals will now meet in an elimination game tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET