The Falcon baseball team, falling 6-3 against the Dayton Flyers in seven innings on Wednesday, before losing 7-3 on Saturday against the Central Michigan Chippewas, 4-0 in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader and 6-2 in the second game of the doubleheader, extending the team’s losing streak to nine games.
“You’re not going to win many games if you don’t score,” Falcons head coach Danny Schmitz said. “That’s been our bugaboo; we just can’t score runs, and we’re struggling so much with the at-bats.”
Wednesday’s game saw Dayton grab the lead first as freshman catcher Jay Curtis hit an RBI sacrifice fly to give them a 1-0 lead in the first inning. However, the Falcons responded in the third inning as junior center fielder Jake Wilson hit a two-run home run to give the team a 2-1 lead.
The Falcons added to their lead in the fifth as senior second baseman Riley Minorik got an RBI single, but the advantage wouldn’t last long as Dayton came back in the bottom of the inning with sophomore third baseman Riley Tirotta hit an RBI sacrifice fly, followed by sophomore right fielder Michael Cleary stealing home to tie the game at 3-3. Dayton carried the momentum into the sixth, with junior left fielder Connor Wilson scoring an RBI single to take the lead, followed by junior second baseman Takahiro Yamada crossing home on a wild pitch and Tirotta driving in a run on an error. The Falcons would be unable to mount a comeback, however, as lightning and an impending thunderstorm forced the game to end after seven innings, giving Dayton the 6-3 victory.
“I thought our guys came ready to play, and we got off to a nice start,” Schmitz said. “We are still searching for ways to win close games, and it comes down to execution and making plays.”
Dayton junior pitcher RJ Wagner got the win, going three innings with one earned run allowed on three hits and no walks, as Falcons freshman pitcher Griffin Parrill was hit with the loss, going a third of an inning with no earned runs, three hits and no walks. Dayton junior reliever Tyler Jones got the save.
On Saturday, Central Michigan grabbed the lead early with a five-run second inning, punctuated by sophomore catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell hitting a two-run homer. They then added another run in the fifth as senior first baseman Evan Kratt drove in a run on a double play to make it a 6-0 game, but the Falcons got the run back in the sixth with a Wilson RBI single. Central Michigan responded with sophomore left fielder Chase Rollin knocking in a run on an error in the seventh and while the Falcons got two more runs in the ninth as senior left fielder Jeff Scott drove in a run on a double play and senior right fielder Ty Suntken getting an RBI single, it wouldn’t be enough as Central Michigan got the 7-3 win.
“The second inning proved to be the difference,” Schmitz said. “We made a few mistakes, and Central Michigan made us pay.”
Central Michigan senior starting pitcher Pat Leatherman took the win, going 6 ⅔ innings while allowing just one earned run on three hits and a walk, as Falcons sophomore pitcher Andrew Abrahamowicz took the loss with five innings pitched, allowing one earned run on seven hits and five walks.
After Friday’s scheduled game was pushed back to a Sunday doubleheader, Central Michigan took the lead first as senior left fielder David Cole came home on a passed ball in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. In the sixth, freshman designated hitter Garrett Navarra drove in a run on a sacrifice bunt and Rollin had an RBI single. Central Michigan capped off the scoring with sophomore shortstop Zavier Warren getting an RBI single as well. That would be all for the offense as Central Michigan held on to take the 4-0 win and claim the series victory.
“We gave them all four runs,” Schmitz said. “The first run scored on a passed ball and the next three scored because we didn’t make two routine plays. We gave them two extra outs and when you give good teams two extra outs, that’s not a good thing, especially when you’re struggling to score.”
Central Michigan junior pitcher Cameron Brown earned the win, going seven innings with no earned runs on a pair of hits and four walks, while Falcons freshman pitcher Tyler Hays was hit with the loss, going 5 ⅔ innings with no earned runs allowed on six hits and four walks.
The second game of the doubleheader saw Central Michigan again take the lead in the second inning, with Warren drawing a bases-loaded walk and junior center fielder Zach Gilles getting an RBI sacrifice fly, followed up with Lockwood-Powell and senior right fielder Jacob Crum each earning RBI singles for a 4-0 lead.
Senior second baseman Jason Sullivan added an RBI single for Central Michigan in the fifth to give them a 5-0 lead, but the Falcons got a pair of runs back as senior left fielder RJ Williams scored on a passed ball and senior designated hitter Anthony Smith hit an RBI single. Central Michigan tacked on a run in the ninth as junior third baseman Zach Heeke got an RBI single as they went on to win 6-2 to get the sweep.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Patty picked up the win for Central Michigan, going five innings while allowing one earned run on four hits and no walks, while Falcons junior pitcher Chase Antle took the loss, going 1 ⅔ innings while giving up four earned runs on two hits and five walks.
The series also saw the jersey retirement of former Falcon baseball player Gary Haas’ number 6, as well as a commemorative plaque in honor of former player Cory Miller, who passed away in January.
“Gary has been a very dear friend of mine for about 25-plus years,” Schmitz said. “He bleeds brown and orange and is always there to help out the program and the university in any way, shape or form, and I can’t think of anybody that is more deserving to have his number retired. … With Cory Miller, that was a really tough phone call that I got in late January, he was in my first recruiting class and was just a great young man. He was one of those guys was just a coach’s dream and had that ‘hate-to-lose, love-to-win’ attitude. … That’s why we’re dedicating the season to him.”
The Falcons will next play on Tuesday afternoon at home against the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons.