BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — For the second straight day, the Bowling Green State University baseball team defeated Western Kentucky University by one run. The 3-2 win at Nick Denes Field on Saturday afternoon moves the Falcons to 2-0 on the young season.
Making his first appearance in a Falcon uniform since the 2011 MAC Tournament, redshirt junior Mike Frank went five solid innings to start the game. The only run that he surrendered on the afternoon was a leadoff home run in the second inning.
WKU's home run came on the heels of T.J. Losby's solo home run to left field to get the scoring started in the top of the second inning. The home run was Losby's fourth career, and first of his young season.
In the top of the third, freshman Trey Keegan notched his first career hit, when he singled up the middle off left-handed hurler Tim Bado.
The starter Frank pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth to keep the game tied at one. With two runners on and nobody out, junior catcher T.J. Losby picked off the WKU runner at second base, with shortstop Brian Bien applying the tag. Frank would then get a fly out and a ground out to end the inning.
Patrick Lancaster's double with two outs in the top of the sixth snapped a streak of 11 consecutive batters retired by Hilltopper pitchers. Lancaster would beat the throw home on Jeremy Shay's single to right, giving the Brown and Orange a 2-1 lead.
WKU would respond in the home half of the sixth. With two out and runners on second and third, WKU's Devin Kelly would single to shallow right field. Charging the ball, Lancaster would field it and throw towards home. On the receiving end, Losby caught the ball, and dove back to the plate to beat the runner home and keep the score tied at two.
The Falcons immediately responded in the top of the seventh, again with two outs and nobody on. Freshman Matt Smith drew a walk, which was followed by a Keegan single up the middle. In similar fashion to Friday, Bien would poke a single—the eventual game-winner—up the middle. Smith would come around to score his first collegiate run, giving the Falcons the 3-2 lead.
After the first two runners reached base against Brett Fitzwater, the Falcons would go to junior RHP Ethan McKenney to put out the fire. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, McKenney proceeded to get a strikeout and groundout to hold the lead at 3-2.
The Hilltoppers would get a one-out base runner in the bottom of the eighth, a double off the bat of Ryan Huck. Following a wild pitch that moved him to third, McKenney would get a huge strikeout, getting the batter to look at it on the 3-2 count. The junior righty would get a ground ball to short to end the inning, keeping the score at 3-2.
McKenney would complete his three inning save with three straight groundouts in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Falcons the victory.
The Falcons and Hilltoppers will meet in game three of the series tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch coming at 2 p.m. EST/1 p.m. CST. Trevor Blaylock will get the start for the Falcons.
*Freshman Matt Smith made his first career start on Saturday. He also scored his first career run—the eventual game-winner in the top of the seventh.
*Freshman Trey Keegan notched two hits on Saturday afternoon, including his first career hit in the third inning.
*Freshman Brett Fitzwater picked up his first career win. The outing was also Fitzwater's first career appearance.
*A year after starting a team-high 13 games, junior Ethan McKenney notched his first career save on Saturday.
*Saturday was RHP Mike Frank first appearance since May 26, 2011 in the MAC Tournament.
*The 2-0 start by the Falcons marks the first time since 2006 that a BGSU baseball team has begun the season 2-0. That 2006 squad started the year 6-0.
*The two one-run differentials to begin the season are the first time that has occurred since 2006 vs. Murray State to open the season.
*Head Coach Danny Schmitz is now just 10 wins away from 600 career wins after Saturday's win. His career record is now 590-550-5.