Bowling Green uses small ball
to edge Ohio
By Phil Stanton
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Get the leadoff hitter on and
get him home.
That’s the philosophy that third-seeded Bowling
Green used in its 5-4 win over No. 6 Ohio in the first game of
the 2008 Mid-American Conference Tournament at VA Memorial
The Falcons (32-18) won their 12th
consecutive game and will play the winner of No. 2 Eastern
Michigan and No. 7 Western Michigan on Thursday, while the
Bobcats (27-29) meet the loser in an elimination game
Frank Berry (7-1) was strong on the mound for the
Falcons, going 7.1 innings with six hits, two earned runs, two
walks and no strikeouts.
“Everything was working today, my slider, my
changeup, my fastball,” Berry said. “I felt really good today. I
had a lot of pop on my fastball. I was hitting my spots and
(catcher) Ryan Schlater did a good job back there. Early on, I
was getting behind, but then as the game went on I started
getting ahead and I think that’s what helped me. That’s my game.
That’s how I pitch.”
He allowed only one of eight possible leadoff
hitters to reach base.
“That’s always key,” Berry said. “When I run into
trouble, it’s usually when that leadoff batter gets on. My goal
today was to make sure I don’t walk that leadoff batter and
that’s what I did.”
He had 14 groundball outs, including a double
play in the fifth to squelch an Ohio rally.
“That’s what kind of pitcher I am,” Berry said.
“My defense is always great, they’ve always got my back. I’m a
groundball pitcher. They know that and that’s what happened.”
BGSU got it leadoff man on four times and each
one scored. The Falcons started the scoring in the bottom of the
first as Ryan Shay lined the first pitch down the left field
line for a double, moved to third on a groundout to second by
Andrew Foster and came in on a sacrifice fly by Brian Hangbers
to make it 1-0.
Logan Meisler led off the second with a base hit
up the middle, advanced to second on a walk to Mark Galvin, was
sacrificed to third by Chris Gacom and scored on a groundout by
Marty Baird to push the score to 2-0. Ryan Schlater started the
third by reaching on a bunt single, moved to second on a base
hit by Shay, advanced to third on a bunt single by Foster and
scored on a one-out base hit by Derek Spencer to make it 3-0.
“We wanted to try to get Frank a lead early and
try to get him to relax,” said BGSU head coach Danny Schmitz. “I
knew both clubs were going to be a little pumped up for the
first game of the tournament. We felt if we could go ahead and
get Frank a lead, maybe we could get to relax a bit. I thought
he did a great job today.”
The Bobcats broke through in the fourth as Matt
Stiffler led off with a double off the wall and came around on a
pair of groundouts to make it 3-1.
BGSU added another in the sixth as Chris Gacom
had a leadoff single, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced
to third on a double play and scored on a base hit by Shay to
increase the lead to 4-1. The Falcons added one more in the
seventh on Derek Spencer’s 10th home run to push the
lead to 5-1.
Shay went 3 for 4 with a walk, one run and one
“Today we knew the wind wasn’t going to help us
that much,” Shay said, “so we concentrated on hitting down
through the ball, doing small ball, doing those things that got
OU made it close in the last two innings. The
Bobcats loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but got
just one on a groundout by Marc Krauss. Gauntlett Eldmire
crushed a two-run homer in the ninth, but Kevin Leady rebounded
to retire the next three Bobcats to earn his third save.