SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Bowling Green State University softball team opens the 2013 season with a trip to Spartanburg, S.C. this weekend, facing off against George Washington, George Mason, Winthrop and Samford over a three-day stretch. The Falcons opened last season at the Tiger Invitational in Auburn, Ala., going 2-1 with wins over Wright State (13-1) and Alabama State (6-0). Bowling Green's only loss in its 2012 season-opening tournament came at the hands of Auburn, a 10-2 loss to the tournament host.
- Senior Hannah Fulk finished last season with 15 home runs and 42 walks, both Bowling Green single-season records.
- Fulk's 15th home run of the season in the final game of 2012 pushed the team's home run total to 46, falling one short of the single-season record (47) set back in 2007.
- Fulk's 42 walks also helped Bowling Green shatter the previous team single-season walk record of 156, earning 177 base-on-balls last season.
- Pitchers Jamie Kertes and Paris Imholz both finished last season with 17 wins, marking the highest combined win total for two pitchers in Bowling Green history.
- The Falcons finish the season with a record of 36-22, falling one win shy of tying the Bowling Green record for wins in a season set in 2006 and 1992.
- The Falcons enter the 2013 season with much higher expectations, as Bowling Green was picked to finish first in the Mid-American Conference East Division in the Preseason Coaches' Poll. The selection comes just one year after the Falcons were picked to finish last in the conference.
- Chelsea Cantillo enters her first season on the Falcons' coaching staff, bringing experience as a player, coach and academic advisor to the Orange and Brown. Cantillo most recently finished working as an assistant in the academic and compliance offices at Weber State, a position held since August of 2011. Cantillo, who played at the University of Georgia from 2005-07, will work primarily as the Falcons' hitting coach.
- 2012 marked the first time in Bowling Green history that multiple players hit double-digit home runs in a season. Katie Yoho (10), Andrea Arney (10) and Hannah Fulk (15).
This Weekend's Opponents
The Falcons start the 2013 season with an evening game against George Washington this Friday, a 6 p.m. start time. Bowling Green has never played George Washington, as 2013 will be the first ever meeting between the programs. The Falcons then battle George Mason at 12 p.m. the following day. Bowling Green is 3-1 all time against the Patriots, including a 5-1 win in last year's Cherry Blossom Classic on March 16, 2012. The Falcons' second game on Saturday will be against Winthrop University at 6 p.m., and will mark the first meeting between the programs since Bowling Green's 9-8 loss to the Eagles at last year's Adidas Invitational (3/9/12). Bowling Green will close out the tournament with a 9 a.m. contest with Samford University, marking the first ever meeting between the programs.
The Falcons finished last season with a record 36-22, marking the biggest improvement in DI softball in the country. The vast improvement earned head coach Shannon Salsburg MAC Coach Of The Year honors in her sixth season, marking only the fourth coach in the history of the program to win the award, and the first since 2001 (Leigh Ross). Both win totals (overall and conference) set a new career high for Salsburg, who was able to push her team past the 30-win mark for the first time since 2007, earning 15 conference wins for the first time since 2006. Salsburg heads into her seventh season with an overall record of 126-152 with the Orange and Brown, ranking third on the all-time wins list.
The Falcons return seven starters this season, including All-MAC selections Jamie Kertes and Hannah Fulk. Kertes was also named to the MAC All-Freshmen Team, earning MAC Freshman Of The Year honors in 2012. Paris Imholz also returns after a stellar season in 2012, also earning a spot on the MAC All-Freshmen Team.
MAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
MAC East (First Place Votes)
1. Bowling Green (7)
2. Ohio (3)
3. Kent State (1)
4. Miami (1)
MAC West (First Place Votes)
1. Ball State (9)
2. Central Michigan (2)
3. Western Michigan (1)
4. Eastern Michigan
5. Northern Illinois
Predicted MAC Tournament Champion: Ball State (6)