Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mac Opener: Northern Illinois Homestand

Well, this is not the way Bowling Green would've liked to start MAC play. The Falcons let errors both defensively and on the base paths kill their chance at winning the series this weekend versus Northern Illinois. Here are the scores of the games this weekend.

By the way, the picture for this post is of the 1959 White Sox jerseys, aka the jerseys that NIU decided to replicate this season. The only difference is the hat says NIU not SOX on the hat. It was awesome for a geek like me.

Bowling Green: 5
Northern Illinois: 6

Game 1
Bowling Green: 7
Northern Illinois 2

Game 2
Bowling Green: 5
Northern Illinois: 8

Game One
- My first thought yesterday was, "Wow, this is a better than expected attendance in the stands for the first home series of the year. People really want baseball around here, which is really nice." Ultimately though I'm pretty sure the fans would've been better off staying at home with the poor defensive performance BG put up.

- Unfortunately for Bowling Green the offense couldn't help save the defense and the ridiculous errors that occurred in the field Friday. The infield booted ball after ball, committing four errors during the game. In fact, the first five runs were unearned which in a backwards way helped Brennan Smith work his ERA down. Way too many errors for a team looking to compete for another MAC regular season crown.

- Another killer for Bowling Green is how many people they left on base. They left nine runners stranded on base Friday and pretty much just couldn't pull through. This is a team that will have to score eight or nine at least every time out if they are to guarantee themselves a win. LOB is a statistic that was way too high to win this series against NIU.

Game Two (Game 1 of the Double Header)
- First off, congratulations Michael Frank on earning your first ever collegiate baseball game. The kid pitches like Mark Buehrle, nice and fast paced and he pitches to contact. He will throw strikes so if you don't hit him early, your going to fall behind in the count. This game showed the potential Bowling Green has if they can play good defense behind the pitching staff.

- The offense can and probably will score 6+ runs every game so I'm willing to bet when BG makes two or less errors this year they will have a winning record.

- Jon Berti (three hits), Matthew Pitzulo (two RBIs), and Dennis Vaughn (two RBIs) all had great days at the plate.

- 48th round pick of the Cleveland Indians Troy White of NIU flashed some serious leather at third today, making at least three Web Gem-esque plays. He also stole a base this game. Kid projects to a second base in the majors and is a legitimate player.

- Michael Frank will be one of those consistant pitchers that BG will be able to rely on for the next four years. He might not have the best stuff on the staff, or even have close to the best stuff, but he's just a good solid pitcher who knows how to throw a good game.

Game Three (Game 2 of the Double Header)
- By far the most frustrating game I've seen in person so far. Bowling Green left 17 runners stranded on the base paths today... Seventeen! BG tagged starting pitcher Jeremy Gonzales of NIU to the tune of four runs in the first inning... then didn't score again until the 7th inning. That is frustration at its worst.

- Three more booted balls by BG and that was enough to give NIU enough chances to win the game.

- Extra innings and double headers don't mix well. I was ready for a nap during the 10th inning.

- TJ 'Towering Jacks' Blanton Blasted a ball that cleared the wall well into the fairway on the 16th hole behind the stadium was about one foot left foul pole. The fact that TJ ended up grounding out after that absolutely killed the spirit of the BG dugout.

- If Bowling Green could just convert offensively... or just play good defense for a full 9+ innings they would be such a dangerous team. Bowling Green has a chance to still win the regular season, but they have to figure out their defensive alignment... quickly.

- Troy White of NIU had a great game at the plate and justified his draft selection even more so this weekend. He was without a doubt the most impressive player on the field between the two teams this weekend.

- Right fielder Mark Galvin made some amazing catches today where he had to run full speed into the bullpen and make a catch. Once he even had to avoid a bullpen catcher.

If Bowling Green can pull their defense together, this is a team that is fixing to go on a winning streak. If the defense, mainly the infield, can't pull their act together this is a sub-.500 MAC baseball team. The club will hit the ball but at times plays defense like Jose Canseco.

What's Next?
Weekday game at Dayton and weekend series at Eastern Michigan. I'm not going to post previews for mid-week games so I can focus on the weekend series teams, but I will be posting other nuggets of statistical goodness this week so keep on the lookout.

Shameless Plug
- During any of the home games for BG, visit the 2010 Gameday Central link at the BGSU Baseball site and follow along at the bottom of the page with me as I do a live blog. We had over 20 people today!

- Also, please become a fan of Roll Along Baseball on facebook!