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Miami baseball swept by Bowling Green in the first of two MAC series at home

The RedHawks fell in their first conference series against Bowling Green last weekend
The RedHawks fell in their first conference series against Bowling Green last weekend

The Miami University RedHawks baseball team (5-9, 0-3 in MAC play) will meet the Central Michigan University Chippewas (3-14, 0-3 in MAC play) this weekend in Oxford. 

Last weekend, the RedHawks entered the first conference series for the 2024 season against the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Falcons. The series against a team ranked lower than the RedHawks in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) preseason poll took an unexpected turn. The games concluded with a surprising three-game sweep for the Falcons at McKie Field.

Game 1: 17-16 loss

If there were a game that showcased the RedHawks’ resilience as well as their faults, it was this one.

Through Bowling Green’s first six times at the plate, the RedHawks found themselves down 10-1. 

A team that had blown the doors off the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies in the run column the weekend prior had only amassed one run after more than half of the game had been played.

But five innings is not when the game ends. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the RedHawks put up a 10-spot. 

First-year outfielder and infielder Ryan Novak was brought home by junior catcher David Novak to begin the surge.

David Novak was then moved to second on a Tré Keels walk, and redshirt junior shortstop Dillon Baker advanced everyone a base. 

Redshirt sophomore Evan Appelwick, who had scored the RedHawks’ single run on a blast over the fence, hit a sacrifice fly ball to add a run, and junior designated hitter Ty Batusich added an RBI on a single. unior outfielder Zach MacDonald then cleared the bases and made the score 10-7. 

The RedHawks found themselves with the bases loaded again, and after a hit-by-pitch to make the game 10-8, Keels sent a ball off the center field wall, clearing the basepaths and giving Miami the lead.

After an hour and 37-minute rain delay, the game resumed, and Miami continued where it had left off, scoring another four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

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But the Falcons did not go away, coming back from down 15-10 to up 16-15.

The RedHawks tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, but an RBI double in the top of the ninth and no score in the bottom half of the inning gave BGSU their first win of the series.

Game 2: 12-1 loss

The second game after a heartbreaking Friday afternoon loss was far less eventful and one the Miami offense will not want to remember.

The RedHawks scored one run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly ball off the bat of Keels, which was all the offense the bottom of the McKie Field scoreboard saw.

BGSU scored two runs in the second and third innings and piled on with one run in the top of the fifth, five in the sixth and a single run in both the seventh and ninth innings.

The result wasn’t a matter of not converting with men on base, either. The Falcons ended the game with 12 hits, while the RedHawks finished with three. 

Bowling Green’s starting pitcher, Nic Good, a left-handed junior from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, threw seven impressive innings, allowing only one hit, one run and two walks with seven strikeouts. Coming into the game, he had an 8.74 earned run average and decreased it by almost three full ticks when he left the mound.

Batusich, Zaborowski and David Novak registered the three Miami hits.

Game 3: 14-10 loss (12 innings)

The third and final game was spent trying to salvage a win from an already lost series for the RedHawks, and they came out flat.

Miami did not register a run for four innings, while the Falcons scored five in the first, two in the third and two in the top of the fifth.

It took until the bottom of the fifth for the RedHawks to score runs, plating three. Then, the pitching staff went to work, shutting down Bowling Green’s hitters for three straight innings while the offense added another five runs.

Going into the ninth inning, the RedHawks were down 9-8. The Falcons added one run in their half of the inning, but the offense came ready to play.

Junior outfielder Anthony Zarlingo started the rally with a double. MacDonald took a hit-by-pitch, and Ryan Novak hit a ball through to left field, giving Zarlingo the green light to head home and cut the Falcons lead to one. But, an interference call on a short ball to third by the shortstop Baker led to no outs being called on the play, allowing MacDonald to score and tie the game.

The game went to extra innings, with both teams going scoreless in the 10th and 11th, but Bowling Green scored four runs in the 12th, which sealed the deal.

The RedHawks came into the series with a 46-19 record against Bowling Green at home, but the unprecedented sweep leaves them with three more losses and a 5-9 record.

Previewing Central Michigan

The Chippewas are 3-14 so far in 2024, with their three wins all against Stephen F. Austin State University. But since their last win on Feb. 20, they’ve lost 11 straight, including a 19-0 loss to Oklahoma State University and a defeat to Kent State University in seven innings, 17-2, coming on March 9.

Central Michigan’s best hitter is Jacob Donahue, a senior outfielder who was named to the all-MAC defensive team last season as one of six players to achieve a 1.000 fielding percentage in the conference. 

Donahue is the only player to have started in at least 15 games and stay above a .800 OPS on the Central Michigan roster.

The Chippewas have only five home runs overall, compared to two players on the RedHawks (Zaborowski and MacDonald), who have four individually and a team total of 16.

The RedHawks' pitching will be the group to watch. Coming off a series where the offenses could do almost anything at the plate, bouncing back on the mound and finding consistent location and control will be a huge key to a series win.

The first game of the three-game series begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, with the other two games starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.