Friday, May 28, 2010

2010 MAC Tournament - Day 4

8:11 a.m. -- Man what a crappy day outside we woke up to. It was actually POURING from about 5 a.m. to about 8 a.m. this morning and just now has it downgraded to a slight drizzle. On the plus side, it's really cool (in temperature) and the heat won't be getting to anybody in game one today.

To recap last night, there wasn't much to be said between coaches, players and staff alike. Of course our illustrious equipment manager, "Scooter", has full confidence that the Falcons are winning two today to stay alive and advance to Championship Day, but we all admit its going to be a long road ahead and whoevers bullpen is the strongest will prove to guide their team to victory. The message from the coaches last night was, "This is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. You know what we have to do now." And so it shall be...

BGSU has to win two games today to advance to the championship round, where they will have to win two more games to win the MAC Tournament title. Ball State is first on the docket this morning, and we are still scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Today starter is Cody Apthorpe (2-2, 3.62)and will face off against BSU's Brad Piatt (3-4, 7.62). Below are the starting lineups for today:

BGSUMeisler - 2b, Blanton - cf, Vaughn - lf, Spencer - 3b, Berti - ss, Galvin - rf, Duncan - 1b, Pitzulo - dh, Schalter - c

Ball State
Baumet - ss, Beemer - rf, Vitek - dh, Dygert - c, Nielsen - 1b, Claypool - 3b, Elliot - cf, Widau - 2b, Chenoweth - lf

23 mins to gametime baby!

9:03 a.m. -- The rains have stopped here in Chillicothe and although it is still pretty much and cool its a good day for baseball. The field turf is great for days like these since it soaks up water, or perhaps drains it, so that there is nothing to worry about after a hard rain.

After two batters, Bowling Green has taken advantage of a BSU error by Baumet at short and Blanton stands on second to put the Falcons in scoring position early!

9:09 a.m. -- Baumet made up for his early error. With a hit and run in effect, Spencer put a good stick on the ball but Baumet made a leaping grab to snare away a base hit from Spencer and a run from the Falcons. After a half inning, its still scoreless and its freshman Cody Apthorpe's turn to run the show from the hill!

9:17 a.m. -- The Cardinals go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first with some pretty good pitching from Apthorpe. His outfield was tested early with a deep fly to Blanton in center and Mark Galvin having to make a sliding catch in right, but a good start for the freshman who has truely earned his way into the starting rotation.

Jon Berti led the top of the second off with a single deep in the hole to short. No shortstop is going to get the speedy Berti on that play. Then the sophomore swipes second on his 28th steal of the season. It probably one of the closest plays at second on one of Berti's steals that I've seen this year but I think he got the outside of the bag before the tag came down.

9:23 a.m. -- Let me just say one thing that has been on my mind all season long... Matt Pitzulo is a machine. With runners on first and third, the freshman has just belted his 13th double of the season splitting gap in left center. Berti scored from third easily on the play. Duncan on his horse all the way from third base had a really good read on the ball dropping in the gap and beat the high throw to the plate. Now after the two-RBI double by "The BG Machine", it is 2-0 Falcons.

9:28 a.m. -- As an aside, it must be oldies day here at VA Memorial Stadium. About 80% of today's jams have been some of the best of the 1950's and 60's. This guy doesn't complain as someone that was brought up on the Golden Oldies... and if it weren't for the fact that I'm not in my home press box I most likely would have been singing and dancing to the Beach Boys that they were just playing.

9:41 a.m. -- The Falcons are really starting to get to Piatt. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Derek Spencer and Jon Berti have hit back-to-back two-baggers to left field giving the Falcons another run on the board, 3-0. Berti's shot was a liner that smack the left field wall on the fly. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a dent or permanent marking in the padding of that wall out there!

9:44 a.m. -- How about a THIRD consecutive double for the Falcons, this time by Mark Galvin!! Berti stole third on the prior pitch right before Galvin knocked a double down the left field line and scored the Falcons' fourth run of the game! Falcons offense has found their stroke today!

9:49 a.m. -- Cody Apthorpe is perfect no more. With one swing of the bat the Cardinals took away the no-hitter and shutout after a Baumet blast over the left center field fence. 4-1 Falcons.

9:57 a.m. -- Apthorpe has just gotten himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third inning after giving up the solo homerun to make it a 4-1 game. With the bases juiced after walking two batters and giving up a base knock, the freshman struck out Ian Nielsen on a high fastball on an 0-2 count to end the inning. He was immediately greeted by "team spark plug" Kevin Leady for a slap on the behind and words of encouragement as they both went back into the BGSU dugout. Apthorpe is going to be fun to watch in the coming years!

10:02 a.m. -- How about the showers of doubles the Falcons are putting on the Cardinals?! Ryan Schalter hit the Falcons fifth double (they have six hits to this point) off of new BSU pitcher Heath Riley to set up for a RBI-single by Logan Meisler (now seven hits) to put the Falcons up 5-1 in the top of the fourth inning!! The Ball State dugout has quieted down exponentially in comparison to the start of the game.

10:16 a.m. -- Apthrope gets himself out of another jam stranding BSU runners on both first and second in the bottom of the fourth inning. After four, he has allowed only three hits, but his three walks and hit batsman is hurting him and his pitch count. He is currently at 71 pitches which isn't great for four inning of work. The most pitches he has ever thrown in a game is 82 against Dayton earlier this season in their win over the Flyers.

10:35 p.m. -- Apthorpe is now pitching lights out and the offense is taking it to the Ball State pitchers. Insert who you will, but BGSU has now slammed back-to-back doubles AGAIN and has put two more runs on the board. The Falcons are really taking it to the Cardinals now and I'm LOVIN' IT like McDonald's! 7-1 Falcons in the top of the 6th!

10:51 a.m. -- Ball State cut into the BG lead with a run by way of a sacrifice fly in the top of the 7th and now Bowling Green has decided to go to its bullpen. After a steller run on the hill, Cody Apthorpe's day is done after going 6.0 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs with five walks and three strikeouts. Now on the hill, sophomore righty Ross Gerdeman.

10:55 a.m. -- Aside from grazing a Ball State Cardinal, Gerdeman pitches a really nice seventh inning and walks away unscaved. Top of the 8th ... 7-2 BGSU!!!

11:11 a.m. (make a wish!) -- Gerdeman stayed in for the eighth but got himself into a bit of trouble allowing a two-run double to cut into the lead further, 7-4. Nick Bruns came in and smoked the next two BSU hitters to end the threat with some good D behind him. We'll soon turn over to the bottom of the ninth! Patrick O'Brien to enter for the Falcons to close out the game.

11:46 a.m. -- And that will do it folks... O'Brien comes in and pitches a flawless ninth inning to seal the win for Bowling Green, 7-4, over the BSU Cardinals. The Falcons advance and the Cardinals will go home packing. Bowling Green now advances to the 4pm game after achieving their 30th win of the season. They will play the Central Michigan Chippewas at 4pm. Should Bowling Green win, they will play CMU again tomorrow to earn the right advance to the Championship game. We all know what happens if they lose again...

The full recap will be provided here in the coming hour.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4:01 p.m. --

Game #2 ~ #5 BGSU v. #1 Central Michigan

After a couple hours of rest the Falcons are back at it again. Getting the start for the Falcons is another freshman, this time Nick Bruns. If you recall, Bruns has been used in two relief appearances already in this tournament but has pitched so well that he has earned himself a start. He is a guy that plays with a ton of passion and his energy alone can fuel him through five innings!

Setting the lineups for both teams:

Meisler, 2b
Blanton, cf
Vaughn, lf
Spencer, 3b
Berti, ss
Galvin, rf
Duncan, 1b
Pitzulo, dh
Schlater, c

Matt Faiman, rf
Brendan Emmett, dh
James Teas, 3b
Nate Theunissen, 1b
Dale Cornstubble, c
Billy Anderson, cf
Scott Phillion, lf
Ricky Clark, 2b
Robbie Harmon, ss

4:15 p.m. -- T.J. Blanton scored today's first run and put the Falcons up 1-0 early after his double into the right-center field gap put him on second. Dennis Vaughn singled to left, but it wasn't enough to score Blanton from second. But a balk call on CMU starting pitcher Zach Cooper advanced both runners and scored Blanton.

However, as I type CMU catcher Dale Cornstubble blasts a homer into the trees beyond left field, a solo shot that ties the game at one.

4:34 p.m. -- Still nodded up at one, both pitchers appear to be getting into a bit of a groove. Although our third base umpire today (Mike Duffy, no relation to 'Duff-Man' of The Simpson's) has called a balk on each pitcher today. Apparently the balk called on CMU was warranted as he flinched with his glove but even the CMU radio guy I'm sitting next to doesn't know what the heck Bruns did to receive his balk. I personally think he just has "Jerry West-syndrome" and likes the sounds of his own voice.

4:57 p.m. -- Oh the life of a GA taking summer classes. The beauty of baseball is that you can SID, watch the game AND do your homework that you forgot about for your summer class all at the same time. But I digress...

The activity had been pretty slow on the field. We've seen both pitchers lose some of the gas in their tanks, so this one is going to be decided by the bullpens. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Falcons tried a double steal with two outs and Jon Berti at the plate. I'm not sure if it was a missed sign but Blanton was pegged at third without contest to end the inning.

Patrick Martin is on the hill in relief for Bowling Green, taking the place of Nick Bruns who gaves three quality innings of work. You can tell he was gassing it up, but paying the price with fatigue setting in. Let's see how the R-So. lefty handles this.

5:15 p.m. -- Bowling Green has taken advantage of a CMU miscue. After a pair of BGSU runner reached (Berti and Galvin), Cooper tried picked Berti off at second but nobody was home! The ball rolled into center field and both runners advanced. With Duncan at the plate, he accidentally made contact with a high fastball from Cooper, but it was perfectly placed between first and the pitcher to give Berti enough time to fly home and score the go-ahead run. Matthew Pitzulo then hit a fly ball JUST deep enough to left field that plated Galvin on a sacrifice fly.

Bowling Green now has the momentum and Patrick Martin has a two run cushion to work with as we head to the fourth. 3-1 Falcons!!!

5:24 p.m. -- There, my homework is now done and I can give my full attention to the game. Perhaps it was just meant to be that the broadcating equipment I brought to the game to do the broadcasts doesn't work, or else this assignment would be later than it already was!

We're in the bottom of the fifth and BGSU still has a 3-1 lead. Blanton walked and Vaughn sacrifcied him to second. One down... here we go Falcons, here we go! (clap clap!)

5:32 p.m. -- On a bang-bang play at third, the Falcons got the benefit of the doubt play when Blanton went to third on a grounder in the infielder. With Blanton on third and two down, Berti grounded to short and honest to goodness unless I'm regressing in my sight again I thought he beat it out (which would have scored a run) but the first base umpire Paul Lancaster banged him out and left the entire BGSU fanbase (and even some of CMU's fan) in awe. Still 3-1 after six.

5:38 p.m. -- BG catches another break. Runners at first and second with one down and a grounder to third was fielded and thrown to second in an attempt to turn a double play. The CMU runner went in hard at second. He was called out at second on the turn and then the batter was called out due to runner's interference at second with Meisler making the turn.

This is the second time this crew has made that call this tournament, most recently earlier today when Toledo beat Kent when Kent was guilty of the interference.

However, more humorously a new phrase has been used that I may have to incorporate into my repitoire. I think it's from the BG side but is not a BG fan saying but CMU manager Steve Jaska is wearing #22... so whenever he goes out to argue a call (which he has a couple times today) he is referred to by someone as "Tooty-two"... and I like it!!!

5:44 p.m. -- Still here in the sixth inning the Falcons have forced CMU to go to the bullpen. Cooper looked like the single up the middle he allowed to Galvin caught his finger while passing by, so he has departed and on the hill now for CMU is Jake Sabol.... fresh meat!!

5:50 p.m. -- Fresh meat indeed! Matthew Pitzulo absolutely CRUSHES a Sabol offering to dead center and it clears the batters' eye nearly 400 feet away!! Two-run jack is Pitzulo's fourth of the season and man, what timing for it! 5-1 BGSU on top! after six.

6:01 p.m. -- Patrick Martin gets out of a jam allowing two runners on with two out, but he gets CMU 5-hitter Nate Theunissen to strike out swinging to set up the Falcons offense to explode again.

Oh yes, I said explode. T.J. Blanton and Denny Vaughn go yard BACK-TO-BACK for a pair of solo jobs and they extend their lead 7-1. Both were no doubters and split the gaps in left and right fields, respectively. BGSU is taking advantage of the tail end of the CMU bullpen now!

6:06 p.m. -- Mark Galvin would have hit BG's THIRD home run of the inning, however VA Memorial Stadium has a piece of signage that extends the hieght of the wall by about 4 feet and that small wall robbed Galvin of a homer, but puts runners on second and third with one out.

6:20 p.m. -- Unfortunately, BGSU cannot bring home either of the two runners home that they had on board. CMU has "chipped" into the BGSU lead with a two-run homer from Scott Phillion to make it a 7-3 game. Patrick Martin still on. Aside from that one batter, he has looked solid.

6:33 p.m. -- Patrick O'Brien on to put the nail in the coffin in this game. Top 9... here we go!

7:26 p.m. -- Patrick O'Brien does the job. He allows one single but rest you can sit'em down and close the books on this one. BGSU wins 7-3 and stays alive for another day! They will now play CMU again tomorrow, but the start time will depend on the result of the EMU/KSU game tonight. Should EMU win, BGSU will play at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. If Kent State wins, then EMU is eliminated and BGSU will play at 12 noon for the right to play KSU for the championship.

Time to work on the release! ROLL ALONG!!!

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