The Bowling Green State University softball team earned a split against Western Michigan University on Sunday (March 30) afternoon, defeating the Broncos by a score of 7-4 in game two. Earlier in the day, the Falcons (11-16-1, 2-2) lost to WMU (10-21, 2-2) by a score of 1-0.
Playing at Mary M. Bell Field, home of the Northern Illinois Huskies, the Orange and Brown erased an early 2-0 deficit by scoring in three consecutive innings and never looked back to take the second game of the twinbill. BGSU accumulated eight hits – including four extra base hits – and backed a strong pitching performance by junior Jamie Kertes to earn their second victory in Mid-American Conference play for the season.
"I was glad with the way we rebounded in game two with a complete team effort," Falcons head coach Shannon Salsburg said. "It was a tough opening MAC weekend and I was proud of the start."
Six Orange and Brown members accumulated at least one hit in the game, with Trista Mokienko (2-for-3, RBI), Haley Schrock (2-for-2, two runs), Madison Schrock (1-for-3, two RBI) and Aspen Searle (1-for-4,RBI) leading the way at the plate. The Falcons' extra base hits came at the hands of the Schrock twin sisters (doubles), Searle (triple) and Mokienko's homer in the second.
Meanwhile, Kertes (7-11) – who won two decisions on the day – came into relief of sophomore pitcher Braiden Dillow in the second inning and halted the Broncos to two runs in 5.2 innings of work in the circle. Kertes allowed six hits in the game while striking out an impressive six batters.
Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom half of the second, the Falcons cut the lead in half when Mokienko hit her second home run of the year to left field. The homer jumpstarted a three-inning rally for Bowling Green, as the Falcons plated five runs in three straight frames.
After Kertes worked out of a jam in the top of the third, BGSU ran off three runs for their biggest offensive inning of the game. Freshman Sami Parave led off the frame with a single through the right side before Searle drove her home with an RBI triple to right center, scoring Parave from first base to tie the game at 2-2. The inning continued as Bowling Green took the lead when Searle stole home after WMU tried to throw out Yoho at second base. Chelsea Raker, who went 1-for-3 in the game, followed with a two-out RBI single to push the Falcons' lead to 4-2.
Bowling Green's offensive splurge continued with some help from the Western Michigan defense. After H. Schrock led off the inning with a double down the left field line and advanced to third base, the freshman's aggressive base running paid off. A sharp hit ground ball by twin sister H. Schrock forced an errant throw to home as H. Schrock crossed home plate, giving BGSU a 5-2 lead.
Kertes, meanwhile, kept the Broncos' bats silent as the Carnegie, Pa. native worked four scoreless frames in the game. The Broncos scored twice in the seventh inning, but Kertes forced a ground out and senior Erika Stratton picked off the runner at first to earn the win.
In game one, Bowling Green received a gutsy pitching performance by Kertes but could not solve Western Michigan's Allyson Kus to drop a tough 1-0 decision. Kertes, who was credited with the tough loss, tossed all seven innings allowing just three hits and struck out six.
The lone run of the game came in the top of the third inning for WMU, as Melissa Palmer scored off a fielder's choice to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. The run proved to be enough as the Falcons were unable to cross the plate with Kus answering Kertes' efforts with a complete game shutout.
"Kertes was outstanding today," Salsburg said. "She really brought it today and I am proud of her."
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh inning, the Orange and Brown had a chance to tie the game but a tough call at home plate prevented the Falcons from scoring. Raker followed a leadoff single by Yoho with a sharp hit ball to center field, the ball dropped as Yoho rounded third base and headed home for the game's tying run. However, Yoho was called out as she slid past the catcher for second out of the final frame.
"I was pleased with our team effort today in a hard fought MAC doubleheader against Western Michigan," Salsburg said. "We had a complete team effort and worked together as a team."
The Falcons will be back in action against Wright State on April 2 in a mid-week doubleheader at Meserve Field. The twinbill will mark the first home game of the season for the Orange and Brown. First pitch is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.