13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
The Bowling Green State University softball team defeated Eastern Michigan on Sunday (April 27) afternoon, taking the second game, 3-2, to earn a weekend series split. The Falcons (21-28-1, 7-11) took an early 2-0 lead and never looked to earn a Mid-American Conference split against the Eagles (12-32, 3-13) at Meserve Field.
"Today was a hard-fought game and was proud of the way we rebounded from yesterday," Falcons head coach Shannon Salsburg said. "Eastern is a feisty team and they played tough."
The Orange and Brown collected only three runs on six hits in the game, but it proved to be just enough as sophomore Braiden Dillow and junior Jamie Kertes combined to strikeout 12 EMU batters on the day—including a career-high eight strikeouts for Dillow. The pitching duo, for the game, allowed just five hits and two unearned runs to help the Falcons snap a seven-game losing streak.
"I thought Dillow threw an excellent game." Salsburg said. "She had control of the zone as Stratton called a great game."
Bowling Green was led offensively by freshman Aspen Searle, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the game. Senior Katie Yoho also collected two hits, going 2-for-3 with a run score. Freshman Chelsea Raker (1-for-2, RBI) and senior Erika Stratton (1-for-3) also added a hit each in Sunday's win.
After Dillow (9-8) tossed two scoreless innings to begin the game, the Falcons scored the game's first run in the home half of the second frame. Chloe Giordano led off the inning with a walk. Dillow, who pinch ran for Giordano, eventually crossed home plate on a two-out RBI single ripped through the left side of the infield to hand BGSU an early 1-0 lead.
Dillow, meanwhile, cruised through Eastern Michigan's lineup by retiring six consecutive batters—including four strikeouts—to keep the Eagles scoreless through three innings. The Falcons backed Dillow's efforts by doubling their lead in the bottom of the third.
Yoho led off the inning with a single to left field and reached third base on a throwing error by Easter Michigan's catcher as Yoho attempted to steal second base. Stratton, who already broke her previous-best 17 RBI in a single season earlier this year, followed with an RBI single to left field for her 28th RBI to give the Orange and Brown a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles came back in the top of the fourth inning to cut the lead in half. Eastern Michigan led off the inning with a single and quickly reached third base on a Falcon error, which eventually allowed EMU to plate their first run of the game.
With the Eagles threatening to tie the game, Dillow struck out her fifth and sixth batters of the day to end the inning, keeping the game at 2-1 in favor of the Falcons.
The Falcons bats again followed Dillow's performance in the circle with another run in the bottom of the fourth. Haley Schrock, who leads the team with 26 walks, led off the inning by drawing four balls to get base. Searle quickly followed with a single to right field and advanced to second on the throw by Eastern Michigan's outfielder to place runners on second and third with no outs. After the Eagles forced a fly out, Raker stepped to the plate and delivered with a sacrifice fly ball to left field, scoring H. Schrock from third base for a 3-1 lead.
The Eagles again capitalized in the top of the sixth on a Falcon error that allowed Eastern Michigan to cut the lead to one for the second time in the game. A throwing error allowed the Eagles to round the bases in the top half of the frame to cut the lead to 3-2, but could never tie the game thanks to strong relief work by Kertes.
Kertes came into the game in the sixth inning after the Eagles threatened to tie the game with runners in scoring position against Dillow. Kertes came in and tossed a relentless 1.2 innings of work in the circle. The junior struck out four of the five batters she faced to earn her fourth save of the season.
"Kertes came in a shut Eastern Michigan down," Salsburg said. "Kertes threw well and faced a few batters that had success against her and rebounded today."