Bowling Green is in first place of the MAC East today at 14-7 in MAC play, just like they were predicted to be by the MAC coaches in a preseason poll. If you were to ask coach Schmitz however if he thought his ballclub would be right here a month ago, he would surely shake his head no. What has happened on the field for the two-time defending MAC regular season champions is something that has to be talked about.
Only five short weeks ago, Bowling Green suffered the worst defeat in the history of the program, getting demolished by a surging Ball State team 32-10. The only reason Bowling Green even reached double digits that day was because walk-on freshman Michael Fahle hit a grand slam in his first ever at-bat during the ninth inning of that game. The loss put Bowling Green at 2-6 in MAC play and on the outside looking in for the MAC postseason tournament and well out of the picture for a third straight MAC title.
After the game that Saturday afternoon, the players at Bowling Green knew something had to change. They had a meeting after the game with the coaches, and then had a player’s only meeting. Things had to change; this was no way to play ball for a team with as much talent as the Falcons.
This wasn’t going to happen at Bowling Green; this wasn’t going to be the way the Seniors at Bowling Green went out. They wanted the freshman to experience what they had experienced in previous years.
Senior Derek Spencer took the rest of the season as a challenge, “We met with the guys and let them know that we had to go out and work hard, we could play better ball”. It was a wake-up call, and with this much veteran talent it was time for the club to suck it up and play like the team everyone expected them to be.
Then something happened. The next day Bowling Green belonged on the same field as Ball State. Suddenly the same team that had been outscored 44-16 during the first two games took the field Sunday on a mission. Led by Senior Kevin Leady and his stellar pitching effort the Falcons beat Ball State 8-2 in a game that would start the ball running on their current tear.
Since then Bowling Green has won 16 of their last 18 games and put themselves in a position to be part of the biggest weekend series of the MAC conference so far this season. That series is this weekend in Kent as the Falcons take on Kent State, second in the East by one game, with a game on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This series is pressure packed and there will be tons of excitement surrounding it, but with the ups and downs this team has already faced they should be ready to take on the challenge.
Adding excitement to the series this weekend, the two teams are battling for the ‘Centennial Cup’, which is a trophy between the Bowling Green and Kent State athletic departments. Every time the two schools played each other in a sport over the past year the winner earned points for their school. At the moment Kent State leads Bowling Green by three points, but with a sweep of the Golden Flashes the standings would be tied and brought to an even 9.5 points.
Game one is scheduled for 3:00 P.M. Friday afternoon at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.