Baseball Pre-Game YSU

Baseball by James Nahikian, BGSU Athletic Communications

Falcons Conclude Home Schedule With Critical Series Versus Kent State

Kent State University (36-11; 17-4 MAC)
May 13-15 | Steller Field | Bowling Green, Ohio
Friday, May 13 | 3:05 p.m. | LIVE STATS | AUDIO (Todd Walker)
Saturday, May 14 | 1:05 p.m. | LIVE STATS | AUDIO (Todd Walker)
Sunday, May 15 | 1:10 p.m. | LIVE STATS | AUDIO (Todd Walker)
Kent State – the top team in the Mid-American Conference – has won four-straight games, and 15 of its last 16 ballgames. The Golden Flashes have not lost a MAC series this season, and will enter play this weekend with a 36-11 record (17-4 MAC). The Golden Flashes are a complete team, as they own a .294 batting average and a 2.94 team ERA. Kent State has six players with an ERA below 3.00. Eric Lauer – a projected first-round pick by many experts for the upcoming MLB Draft – has been the most dominant starter in the conference. He owns a 0.90 ERA, and has struck out 96 batters in 80.1 innings of work. Seven players are hitting over .300 for Kent State. The Golden Flashes are averaging over six runs and 10 hits per game.

"This is a huge weekend for our baseball program," said head coach Danny Schmitz. "We are wrapping up our home schedule, and we are battling for a spot in the MAC Tournament. This series will go a long way in determining if we make the tournament. Kent State is a great team – there's no doubt about it. We are going to have to play our best baseball of the season in order to win games. Also, we are really excited to honor our five seniors. They have meant a lot to our program and baseball family, and it will be a special day for all of them."

With only six Mid-American Conference games remaining on the schedule, the Falcons find themselves battling for their MAC Tournament lives. At the moment, Bowling Green is on the outside looking in, as the Falcons sit in ninth place. The top eight teams earn a spot in the annual conference tournament, which is held in Avon, Ohio at All Pro Freight Stadium. BGSU is ahead of Buffalo (6-15 MAC) and Ohio, who is also 6-12 in the MAC. But the Falcons beat Ohio twice this season, and own the tiebreaker. The Falcons are two games behind Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Toledo. All three of those schools are 8-10 in conference play, and would make the MAC Tournament if the season ended today.

On Sunday, May 15, the Falcons will be honoring their five senior student-athletes. Kory Brown, Devin Daugherty, Tyler Greiner, Andrew Lacinak and Matt Smith will all be playing their final games at Steller Field this weekend, and will be honored in a ceremony before Sunday's game. The ceremony will start at approximately 12:40 p.m. Below are brief bios on each of Bowling Green's five seniors.

Kory Brown
Transferred from BGSU after playing two seasons at Muskegon Community College … named a team captain in both of his seasons in the Orange and Brown … hit .293 across the 2015 season … has started 47 games for the Falcons this season – all in centerfield … an outstanding student – named BGSU's Junior and Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year over the past two years at the annual Ziggys Award Show.

Devin Daugherty
Typically Bowling Green's first pitcher out of the bullpen each weekend, Daugherty has been one of the conference's elite relief pitchers this season … owns a team-low 2.98 ERA, and has registered a team-high 41 strikeouts this season … also leads the pitching staff with 26 appearances, which is three away from tying the single-season program record … named a team captain for the 2016 season.

Tyler Greiner
Splitting time at catcher with Justin Mott … has really picked up his play as the season has gone on, and is leading the team in conference play with a .364 batting average … hitting .262 on the season with 16 starts and 25 appearances … clubbed a big three-run home run in a series-clinching win over Toledo on April 3 … played an important role in last year's MAC Tournament, as he went on to start all four games for the Falcons at first base.

Andrew Lacinak
Been a part of the weekend rotation at Bowling Green for three seasons now … thriving in the role of Sunday starter this season, and has posted a 4.50 ERA … second on the team with 62.0 innings pitched in 2016 … hurled a season-best eight innings in a win over Toledo on April 3 … has been able to go deep into games this year, having pitched at least six innings five separate times.

Matt Smith
Hitting a team-best .296 this season, and has been the catalyst for the Falcons offense all season long … leads the team in runs scored (26), hits (56) and total bases (67) … led the league last season with a .398 average in conference play … hit a walk-off home run against Buffalo at Steller Field to clinch the Falcons a spot in the 2015 MAC Tournament … named a captain prior to the start of the 2016 season.

On April 24 in a series-clinching win at Ball State, Tony Landi recorded his eighth save of the season, which tied the program record for most saves in a single season. Landi – who has posted a 3.45 ERA this season – has been phenomenal in 2016. His 0.69 ERA in conference play is the best on the team. In his 13.0 innings of work in MAC play, Lanid is holding opponents to a .103 batting average. Prior to his appearance on May 6 at Florida State, the right-hander had made 13-conseutive appearances without allowing a single run. Earlier in the season, Landi made eight-straight appearances without surrendering a hit.

Legendary Falcon pitcher Nick Bruns – who threw a complete game shutout in the 2013 MAC Championship Game – also set the single season appearances record across that season with 29. Currently, senior Devin Daugherty has appeared in 26 games. Daugherty – who is typically the first pitcher out of the bullpen each weekend – leads the team in ERA (2.98) and strikeouts (41). The native of Wooster, Ohio also leads the team in wins with four, and has been able to register two saves. Daugherty has pitched in 10 of Bowling Green's 16 wins this season.

Senior captain Matt Smith is the only Falcon to have played in all 48 games this season. He also leads the team in starts with 47. Smith has had a ridiculously strong second half of the season. After 24 games, Smith was batting .202 on the year. Currently, the Johnstown, Ohio native owns a team-high .296 batting average. Over the last 24 games of the season, Smith has recorded 37 hits, and owns a .370 (37-for-100) batting average. Smith has also recorded a mind-boggling 13 multiple-hit games across the second half of the season, and recently experienced a 13-game hitting streak. Smith has notched at least one hit in 17 of Bowling Green's last 19 ballgames.

Earlier in the week, on May 11, freshman R.J. Williams hit a two-run home run versus Youngstown State. The homer marked Williams' second dinger of the season, as he hit a three-run shot against Ohio on April 17. Two games prior to his home run against Youngstown State, the Pickerington, Ohio native went 3-for-5 in a loss at No. 8 Florida State. Williams is hitting .262 on the season to go along with his two home runs. The freshman is also leading the team in on-base percentage (.404).

Skipper Danny Schmitz picked up his 675th-career win, and 350th-career MAC win, as Bowling Green clinched a weekend series over Ohio with a 6-2 victory on April 16. Schmitz, who is in his 26th season at the helm of the program, is the conference's active leader in total wins and conference wins. Schmitz sits third all-time, as well, in both categories. Only Fred Decker (Western Michigan – 791 total wins, 401 MAC wins) and Joe Carbone (Ohio – 689 total wins, 368 MAC wins) have won more baseball games within the Mid-American Conference than Danny Schmitz.

With the addition of 2014 BGSU graduate Jeremy Shay as volunteer assistant coach in the offseason, head coach Danny Schmitz's staff is now entirely made up of former Falcons. In fact, all three of Schmitz's assistants played for him during their careers at BGSU. All three also won a championship under Schmitz's guidance. Rick Blanc – who enters his 9th year on staff – was a part of the 1998 squad that won a MAC Tournament title, and participated in NCAA Regionals in Coral Gables, Florida. Ryan Shay – who completed his first season on staff in 2015 – won back-to-back MAC regular-season titles as a player in 2008 and 2009. Shay's brother, Jeremy, enters his first year on the coaching staff. Shay was a part of the 2014 team's Cinderella run late in the season that was capped by a MAC Tournament title and a birth in the NCAA Regionals in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Bowling Green State University baseball program announced the addition of five student-athletes during the early signing period. Alex Brinkman (RHP – Anna, Ohio – Anna), Damon Egnor (RHP – Paulding, Ohio – Paulding), Colton Flaherty (C – Newport, Michigan – Jefferson), Chandler Stillings (LHP – Findlay, Ohio – Findlay) and Jake Wilson (OF – New Lowell, Ontario, Canada – Nottawasaga Pines Secondary) will arrive on campus and join the program in the fall of 2016 as freshmen.  

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