13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
Bowling Green batted around in both the seventh and eighth innings on Sunday—plating five runs in each frame—to claim a 12-5 victory over Kent State to clinch the series. The game was played at Warren E. Steller Field. With the win, Bowling Green improves to 19-20 overall and 10-8 in Mid-American Conference action. The Falcons have won 10-of-14 in MAC play after starting 0-4, and 13-of-17 overall. The Orange and Brown have also won seven out of their last eight, winning four of six MAC series' to date this season.
The Falcons got off to a quick start against Golden Flashes starter Brian Clark on Sunday afternoon, scoring two in the top of the first to take an early lead. Brian Bien led off the first with a four-pitch walk. The junior would then swipe second base off the left-hander, his 12th steal of the year. Jake Thomas would follow by ripping a pitch from Clark into the right field corner for an RBI triple, scoring Bien from second for a 1-0 lead. Thomas would come home to score on an RBI single by T.J. Losby.
Clark would settle down after the first inning, allowing just one hit over the next five innings. That would allow Kent State to take advantage of some Bowling Green defensive miscues to score five unanswered runs.
Andrew Lacinak went six innings on Sunday, allowing just two earned runs. Lacinak was able to pitch over five BGSU errors on Sunday, allowing just five total runs in his six innings of work.
The Golden Flashes would tie things up at two runs apiece in the top of the fourth, as they led off the innings with a single and double. After a sacrifice fly brought a run across, a BGSU error would allow Kent State to tie the game—an unearned run.
KSU would add single runs in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings—taking advantage of two more Bowling Green errors—to increase their lead to 5-2 as the game moved into the bottom of the seventh.
Having allowed just one hit since the first—a bunt single by Jake Thomas—Clark looked like he would be able to continue to cruise and finish off a Kent State victory. But, Trey Keegan had other plans, as he singled—his second hit of the day—to lead off the inning.
Patrick Lancaster would walk to put two runners on base with nobody out. That would be all for Clark, as Kent State would go to the bullpen for a right-hander to face Brandon Howard.
Howard would fall behind new KSU pitcher John Fasola quickly, but was hit on the back with an 0-2 breaking ball to load the bases with nobody out for the Falcons.
Logan Walker would continue to keep things rolling against Fasola, as he singled over the first baseman's head on the first pitch he saw to score Keegan and close the deficit to two runs, at 5-3.
Jesse Rait would then battle back from an early 1-2 hole in his at-bat to draw a walk. Bowling Green trailed just 5-4 and still had the bases loaded with nobody out. Kent State would go back to the bullpen for John Birkbeck. Birkbeck would come into the game looking to get out of the huge jam, but he would have to do it against the top of the BGSU order.
Birkbeck would get the only batter that he would face on a pop out to second, on the first pitch, for the first out of the inning.
Back to the bullpen went Kent State, this time for lefty Tim Faix to face left-handed hitter Jake Thomas with the bases loaded and one out. Thomas would hit a slow roller towards second base—a potential double play ball—but KSU would botch it and not record an out on the play. The game was tied at five as Howard scored from third on the Thomas RBI.
The Golden Flashes would opt to go to closer Eric Dorsch in a huge spot in the seventh inning. Dorsch would be tasked with facing the heart of the Bowling Green order, with the bases loaded and one out in a tied game.
Facing a 1-2 count, Jeremy Shay would lift a single over the drawn-in infield to score two and give the Falcons the lead for good, at 7-5.
With a 7-5 lead, Bowling Green reliever Ben Singer would come out for his second inning of work, retiring the Golden Flashes in order to keep momentum with the Orange and Brown.
In the bottom of the eighth, things would continue to go right for the Falcons, as they once again scored five runs. It was the second consecutive inning that the Falcons batted around.
In that five-run eighth, Rait would get a two-RBI single with the bases loaded to increase the BGSU advantage to 9-5. Thomas, Shay, and Losby would all add RBIs in the inning, as Bowling Green led 12-5 after eight innings.
Singer would issue a walk to begin the ninth, but close the door by retiring the next three batters for the 12-5 victory. It was Singer's third win of the season, as he improved to 3-1 in 2014 on the mound.
Bowling Green is scheduled to return to action on Wednesday night (Apr. 30), when they travel to Eastern Michigan for a nonconference matchup with the Eagles. Next weekend, the Falcons will travel to Oxford for a three-game showdown with Miami. The Falcons and RedHawks are tied in the MAC standings at 10-8.