Thursday, March 25, 2010

MAC Preview for Bowling Green

Well, I just spent the day typing up a preview of Bowling Green for So, here is my preview of the BG baseball team for the MAC season.


Record 6-8-1

Team totals

Offense .321 AVG./12 HR/111 RBI/.395 OBP/.472 SLG

Defense 7.02 ERA/3 S/89 SO/69 BB/.315 BA

Expected rotation: Brennan Smith, Michael Frank, Kevin Leady

Key players: CF T.J. Blanton, SS Jon Berti, RP Ross Gerdeman

Weakness: Starting Pitching

Strength: Run Scoring Ability

The Bowling Green State University baseball team is coming into conference play this season trying to ready themselves for a run at a third straight MAC Regular Season crown. Going into MAC play, the Falcons are 6-9-1 with a weekend sweep of Eastern Kentucky being the bright spot so far. The offense has been what has powered Bowling Green so far and kept the team in almost every game. Getting On-Base has not been a problem for Bowling Green, maintaining a .395 OBP with the team batting average being a superb .321. Along with those stats the Falcons have amassed a gaudy .472 slugging percentage. Stud senior T.J. Blanton has six of the nine home runs hit so far by the Falcons along with a team high 19 of the 111 RBI’s recorded.

Unfortunately for Coach Danny Schmitz, the pitching staff has staggered through the non-conference portion of the schedule. While reliever Ross Gerdeman has amassed a 1.42 ERA over 19 innings pitched, the team as a whole have combined for an underwhelming 7.02 ERA. The staff have struck out 89 and walked 69 in 132 innings pitched and given up a .315 BAA.

Bowling Green has played a tough non-conference schedule so far, going to Kentucky on three separate weekend series to play Louisville, Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky. The team lost the first six games of the season before going down to Florida during spring break, where they were able to defeat Northeastern for the first win of the season. The squad was only able to play five games out of the eight scheduled due to rain, but went 3-1-1 over those five games.

Offensively the Falcons should be able to slug it out with any team that comes their way in-conference, they have scored seven or more runs in 10 of the 16 games played so far. T.J. Blanton is a player to look out for and will be in contention for player of the year in the MAC conference. The senior belted four home runs in the Eastern Kentucky series, all on the same day during a double-header. The 2009 Academic All-MAC selection has a .895 slugging % so far and is hitting .456. Speedy lead off hitter Jon Berti leads the team with 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts, with Blanton the only other player on the team who has attempted to steal more than three stolen bases, swiping seven bags in nine attempts.

If Bowling Green is to win their third straight MAC Regular Season title, it is the pitching staff that will be the key for that is the most glaring weakness. The starting rotation consists of Brennan Smith, Michael Frank, and Kevin Leady, whose combined average ERA is a 7.10 over 63 innings pitched. The bullpen is led by Ross Gerdeman and Patrick Martin who have given up a combined seven runs in 31.2 innings of relief. For as potent as the bats have been for Bowling Green, the pitching has been just as shaky having allowed a .408 OBP and collected a WHIP of 1.81 so far.

Expectations for the season are to keep the ball rolling and win yet another regular season crown. However, with teams like Kent State in the mix this year will be a tough one. The team has the offense to compete in the MAC, but it will be the pitching that will determine fate of this year’s team.

-David Arnold