BOWLING GREEN, OHIO —- The overcast sky gathered all of the rain in the area and casted an ominous dark shadow reaching across northwest Ohio and threaten the activities at the windiest baseball field in the Mid-American Conference and the home of the Bowling Green State University baseball team-Warren Steller Field.
The start of the game between the Falcons and Eastern Michigan University began 20 minutes late because of the rainy weather but for the Eagles the wait was worth it as Eastern Michigan University held on and defeated Bowling Green State University 5-4 and took the weekend series winning two games.
After a shaky start Eastern Michigan University starting pitcher Steve Webber settled down and threw eight good innings and gave what Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander as pretty decent outing for the Eagles.
“Webber was the difference, we got to him in the first inning and boy he settled right on down after that and pitched very, very well for them,” Bowling Green State University baseball coach Danny Schmitz said after the game. “He is the player of the game.”
The Falcons scored two runs in the first inning off of Webber when Falcons left fielder Patrick Lancaster hit a line drive into the left field corner for his second double of the season, he later scored the first run of the game when Falcon shortstop Jon Berti hit a ground ball up the middle over second base and into center field.
Berti took advantage of a tremendous lead at first and easily stole his 10th base of the season; he advanced to third base when Webber got Falcon designated hitter Matt Pitzulo to ground out to second base for the first out of the inning.
Berti scored when Falcon first baseman Clay Duncan lifted a fly ball into the teeth of the west wind blowing across right field, deep enough for the run to score.
“A real quality start he gave up two runs, three hits in the first inning and he made some adjustments and he battled through it” Alexander said inside the dugout after the game about Webber’s performance. “That is what he usually been giving us except for a couple outings they have been a little rough.”
“The fastball and the change up without a doubt got me through the game” Webber said. “The wind didn’t help as much as you think it would it is more about mechanics. I know that they pound the fastball and I knew that I needed at least one off speed pitch.”
“We made a couple of mistakes and Eastern capitalized on it,” Schmitz said. “We had a chance in the ninth but could not pull it off. I guess that is way they call it a game of inches.”
“Charles (Wooten) pitched all right today,” Schmitz said. “Pat Martin came in relief and did a good job I thought the one pitch that Charles made he had a chance to get out of the inning to the leadoff hitter there and the guy did a nice job getting Eastern the 3-2 lead.”
Eastern Michigan University come back in the fifth inning by scoring two runs when Eagles right fielder Ken Battiston took a 2-2 offering from Wooten and slapped into right field scoring Eagle third baseman Ben Magsig and shortstop Tucker Rubino.
“The thing about it is we hit three balls that would have ordinarily been out normally they got hit into the wind but the guys just stay the course and they did not get frustrated,” Alexander said about the Eagle offense. “They kept saying ‘hey man we are just going to keep on swinging and get better’ intestinal fortitude that they had today and they would not be denied.”
The Falcons scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth and threaten with a runner at third with two outs but relief pitcher Kristian Calibuso put the fire out and earned his first save of the season.
Alexander went to the bullpen in the ninth and brought into the game what he thought would be in the capable right hand of Joe Battistelli but only four batters faced and 14 pitches later Battistelli made the game interesting and place the Falcon faithful and the Eagle dugout on the edge of their seat
Battistelli left the game with the bases loaded and one out Alexander saw enough he strolled out to the mound and made a call for Calibuso to put out the fire that was trying to get out of control.
The excitement level rose and that lump in the throat for the Eagle fans in the seats were the curse words that had to be silence when Lancaster hit a bullet down toward the right field corner when the ball fell just about rain drop width from the foul line causing the Eagle bench to look into the sky and think the Steller Field breeze. The next pitch Lancaster saw he took a mighty swing but missed the pitch and struck out.
With two out Calibuso threw a fastball to Pitzulo, he lifted the pitch into left field that fell into the waiting glove of Eagle leftfielder Daniel Russell for the last out of the game.
The rain finally arrive at Steller Field as the Eagles’ team bus roared away and escaped from the city of Bowling Green and north on the interstate heading back to Ypsilanti, Michigan still holding onto the lead in the West Division.
Eastern Michigan University will stay on the road this week with a Wednesday afternoon game against Michigan State University in East Lansing and the home of the best hot dogs in the Big Ten Conferences Kobs Field beginning at 3 p.m.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.