Bowling Green claims first Mid-American title since 1999
AVON, Ohio -- Bowling Green will return the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999 following a convincing 7-0 victory against Ball State in the Mid-American Conference Championship.
Nick Bruns, named the MAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, threw a complete-game shutout for the win, outdueling Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year Scott Baker. For the tournament, Bruns compiled a 2-0 record with one save.
At the end of the game, the scoreboard showed 17 zeros. The only number that was not a zero belonged to the Orange and Brown, as they pounded out eight hits and scored all seven of their runs in the top of the fifth.
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After four scoreless innings to begin the day, the Falcons got to Baker for six runs in the fifth to knock him out of the game. Sunday was Baker’s third appearance in the MAC Tournament. Much like Bruns, he used a gritty performance to give the Cardinals a chance.
Brandon Howard began the top of the fifth with a walk. Nick Glanzman would follow that up with a sacrifice bunt, but would reach first base on a throwing error by BSU’s catcher. With runners on first and third, the onslaught would begin, as Brian Bien laid down a squeeze bunt to score Howard for a 1-0 lead. Patrick Lancaster would single to score Glanzman, and Jake Thomas would follow with a base knock to score Bien.
The Falcons’ offense would keep rolling along after a mound visit, as Jeremy Shay singled to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead. That would be all for Baker, as Ball State skipper Rich Maloney would make the move for the bullpen for a lefty.
T.J. Losby would sacrifice the runners over, and Jesse Rait would single to score another run. Logan Walker would pinch hit with the lefty in the game, and promptly delivered with an RBI single of his own. After a foul out for the second out of the inning, Glanzman would single on the infield for another run. In all, the Falcons would send 12 batters to the plate in the inning, scoring seven runs.
From there, Bruns would shut the Cardinals down. BSU would manage just three hits over the final five innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, Bruns struck out the first batter before inducing a ground out for the second out. After a Falcons error gave BSU a base runner, the Falcons were just one out away from a MAC Championship. On the first pitch, the next Ball State batter would hit a chopper to second. Howard would coral the bouncing ball, flip it to Bien at the second base bag, and set off a massive dog-pile on the mound.