11:20 a.m. -- Here it is folks, the final day of the 2010 MAC Tournament! As said in one of the best kids baseball movies of all-time, "Rookie of the Year", -- "this one is for the alllll the marbles... the whoollllleeee enchilada.... the whooolllle kit-and-kaboodle..." (as said by John Candy's character as the radio announcer in the movie). The winner of the re-rematch between BGSU and CMU will go on to play in the MAC Tournament Championship tonight against either Eastern Michigan or Kent State.
Once again, the team is loose as loose can be. You can only imagine the thrills running through everybody's veins upon defeating CMU yesterday, 8-3. Even at 10:30 last night when all the players are receiving treatment they were all talking about how badly they want this game and this tournament. This morning the same emotions were visible. Both teams' fanbases have filed in and the support for both teams is pretty impressive.
Without further ado (if that's how you spell it), let's get to those lineups beginning with the visiting team YOUR BGSU Falcons:
SP: Brennan Smith
Central Michigan lineup:
Starting pitcher: Trent Howard, LHP (4-3, 3.52)
11:34 a.m. -- We are underway here in Chillicothe on what is a somewhat cool and breezy morning, however its going to get quite uncomforatable based on morning weather reports. It is supposed to get to be a very muggy 89 degrees at some point. BGSU coaches are very glad to have the early game based on temperatures and the fact that if they win they will face off against a very depleted pitching staff for whoever it is and a team that is now playing back-to-back games in the heat after BG gets to take a nice 2 1/2 hour break (should they beat CMU).
On the field... BG's top two hitters record outs but Denny Vaughn keeps swinging a hot stick with a two-out single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch in the dirt by Howard but Spencer gets jammed and pops out to Theunissen on first base to end the inning.
Early scouting report on Howard (in this wannabe baseball analysts' mind): He doesn't seem to want to blow away people with any overpower stuff but he does have some devastating movement on his pitches. He has gotten all four batters he's faced thusfar to chase something outside of the strike zone that has broken down and away from left-handed hitters. He probably tops out in the high 80s or low 90s, but like I said, his job today will be to keep the Falcons off-balance. Bowling Green will have to have superior plate-discipline and take Howard deep into counts to force a high pitch count and tired him early. Hopefully by that time they will be able to capitalize on some hanging breaking pitches and get up early.
11:55 a.m. -- Bowling Green finds themselves down early after a walk and two wild pitches put a Chip runner on third, perfect position for a Nate Theunissen sac fly that scored a run. After walking his third batter of the inning, Smith allowed a two-run triple to give CMU a 3-0 early lead.
Smith thus far is struggling with his command, mostly low. Brennan is running on two days rest right now, something he hasn't done in the last two years. He will likely be on a short leash today with this being an elimination game and a rested Chuck Wooten, Ross Gerdeman and Michael Frank in the bullpen.
Unfortunately for BG in this mini-series between CMU and BGSU dating back to their first meeting this season, the first team to score is the team to win. That stat needs to change.
12:09 p.m. -- BG has made a call to the bullpen after Smith just seemed to not be able to find his rhythm. The nod now goes to Michael Frank, the Falcons traditional Day 2 starter for much of the season.
On his first batter he forced a 6-3 putout that scored a run after Smith allowed runners on second and third. After the ground out that scored a run (4-0, CMU), Frank has walked Emmett to put runners on the corners.
12:17 p.m. -- Frank has gotten the Falcons out of trouble, for now. After the 6-3 putout, he enduced a weak pop out to Meisler at second and a line out to right field that Galvin tracked down and fielded for the third out.
Time to get the sticks working!!!
12:24 p.m. -- Good news/bad news. Bad news is that the Falcons couldn't capitalize on a two-out double by Meisler. However, good news is that a rocket off of the bat of Dennis Vaughn clipped the pitching hand of CMU starter Trent Howard. I never wish injury upon anybody but if it is deemed that Howard can't pitch after favoring his hand coming off of the field, maybe better for the Falcons. Still 4-0 after 2 1/2.
12:31 p.m. -- T.J. Blanton just made a spectacular catch in left center field laying out and getting a face full of pellets while making an extra-base saving catch. The Falcon defense has answered the call to back up their pitcher.
On an update for CMU pitcher Trent Howard, he has come back out on the hill and doesn't appear to be having any issues with his pitching hand which was hit by a Dennic Vaughn grounder up the middle. Concerns still linger for the CMU radio crew about his ability to grip his curveball, but as I type, he strikes out Jon Berti with an off-speed pitch to retire the Falcons in the fourth.
12:42 p.m. -- Thus far, both teams are guilty are getting some good contact on the ball but hitting it directly to a fielder somewhere between the lines. For the most part aside from the three-run first inning, both teams have settled into a groove and this game has been moving right along. It's still 4-0 in the top of the fifth and BG again isn't able to find a hole to put the ball in. Howard still looks good out there on the hill for CMU, cruising through this BGSU lineup.
However, BG is now making him work and he is going deeper into counts more now than ever in this game. Hopefully the Falcons can find another hanger to take advange of.
12:59 p.m. -- BG bats have remained silent, but CMU has come out in the fifth with some fire coming from their sticks. After a hit batter and single by Theunissen, a hot shot to short handcuffed Berti and took an unfortunate hop giving the runner a chance to score and make the score 5-0. BGSU cautered the bleeding and kept the score at that.
They threaten now with a runner at second and no outs. It's time wake up the sticks!
1:10 p.m. -- FALCONS ARE ON THE BOARD!!! T.J. Blanton doubled to left field to start the inning off, but in typical BG fashion its two-out hitting that gets it done! Jon Berti hits a liner in the gap. Berti ran through the stop sign of Danny Schmitz and turned a doule into a triple sliding into third base safely. The run gets BGSU on the board, 5-1.
The triple by Berti also gives him a share for the all-time record for triples in a season with six. He and teammate Logan Meisler have a share of the record with Larry Ardnt, set in 1982.
The Falcons can't bring in Berti, but at least they have something to show for their effort in the sixth. 5-1, CMU
1:22 p.m. -- Mike Frank has done a masterful job on the mound and kept the Chips at bay with the bats while getting some great help from his 'D'. Now BGSU is threatening AGAIN after a seeing-eye single to center by Pitzulo and a walk drawn by nine-hitter Ryan Schalter. I think Howard may be hitting his wall here. His stuff isn't as sharp as it was even an inning ago. Action in the CMU bullpen as Deidrich Enns (MAC Freshman of the Year) down in the bullpen for CMU. It's gettin' crazy here now!!
1:25 p.m. -- OH YEAH BABY! TJ Blanton comes through with his second double of the day painting the left field line. One run comes around and Schlater rolls into third base. Runners at second and third with only one out and now a visit to the mound for CMU! 5-2, game now!
1: 27 p.m. -- On the first pitch, Vaughn lofts an outside pitch to deep left field. Phillion in left makes a leaping catch while fighting the sun that perhaps save a second run from coming home, but the fly out is enough to being home BGSU's third run of the game and just like that the Falcons are a serious threat to get right back into this one.... 5-3 the score. Runner on second, two out and Derek Spencer to the plate!
Pitching change for the Chips... coming in now is Enns, the MAC Freshman of the Year who has had a great season coming out of the bullpen for CMU. A lefty, he throws heat and has a great combo of off-speed stuff too. He pitched three innings in the Chips opening game of the tourney and hasn't seen action since.
1:38 p.m. -- Derek Spencer made the entire stadium gasp with a deep fly ball into center field that many thought was a goner for sure. However gravity has its way and bring the ball back down to the turf and into glove of Billy Anderson to eliminate the BGSU threat. After 6 1/2, BG now only trails by two, 5-3.
1:43 p.m. -- Pitching change for the Falcons after Frank allows two baserunners before recording an out here in the bottom of the seventh. Now on the hill, Ross Gerdeman.
Gerdeman makes an immediate impact and while Cornstuble gave himself away showing bunt early, Ross gets him to bunt right back to him and he fires to third to get the force out! Runners on first and second still with one down. How about a nice inning-ending DP??? What do ya say!?!?!
1:47 p.m. -- I think I'm baseball's Nostradomus. Guess why? Inning-ending double play, 4-6-3 tailor made! Thata boy Ross! Way to get the Falcons out of an early jam and give it up to the bats. Top of the 8th we go!
1:55 p.m. -- WE'RE ALL TIED UP!!!!! WOW! Jon Berti leads off with a single to center and Galvin gets clipped by the next pitch from Enns. With two on, Duncan tries to put down a SAC bunt, but Enns tries to go to third and throws it away! On their horses, both Berti and Galvin score and we're all tied up!!!!!!
2:04 p.m. -- FALCONS TAKE THE LEAD!!! After Meisler was walked and Blanton was hit by a pitch, it loaded the bases for Dennis Vaughn. He plants a single through the right side and two runs score on the hit. The throw to the plate was high and heads up base running and Cornstubble drop allows a third run to score, yet Vaughn was caught leaning on second base for the third out. THREE RUNS! 8-5 FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2:22 p.m. -- The Chips won't go down without a fight. The Falcons let Ross Gerdeman attempt to go the duration of the game but the young sophomore from Fort Jennings, Ohio allowed the first two hitters on base with back-to-back singles. Now pitching for the Falcons, Patrick O'Brien. He has been solid and has certainly earned his chevrons as the team's closer this season. He will look for his 7th save here. Three outs away!
2:28 -- CMU's Teas singles down the left field line and allows one run to score. 8-6 the score. Nobody said this would be easy. Now CMU belts another single to center field, 8-7. Leady warming up in the pen.
2:31 p.m. -- O'Brien strikes out Billy Anderson to get the first out. Now the double play is in order. My heart is pounding out of my chest.
2:33 p.m. -- Phillion hits a deep fly to center field... caught by Blanton... sacfrice scores the tying run. With bases loaded and now two down... Ricky Clark gets handcuffed but floats a looper into right field, over the head of a helpless Logan Meisler and the Chips somehow, come from behind and will score the game winning run. Final score: 9-8 Chips win