Kiley Sosby v IPFW - March 23 2016 - Ruben Kappler photo
Ruben Kappler, BGSU Marketing & Communications
Kiley Sosby went 2-0 with an ERA of just 0.58 last weekend (photo by Ruben Kappler)

Softball BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (BGSU Athletic Communications)

Falcons Travel to Charlotte for First Pitch Classic

BGSU to play five games in this weekend's event in North Carolina

LEADING OFF
• The Bowling Green State University softball team, having won four consecutive games to begin the 2017 season, heads to Charlotte for five more games this weekend. Head coach Sarah Willis and the Falcons will compete in the Charlotte First Pitch Classic, joining Canisius, St. Bonaventure and the host school in that event.

• The teams will begin the weekend by playing a round-robin format, with the Falcons meeting Canisius and Charlotte on Friday (Feb. 17) and SBU on Saturday morning (Feb. 18). Then, each of the four teams will play one more game on Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday (Feb. 19). BGSU's opponents and start times for the final two games will be determined by results from the round-robin portion of the tourney.

• The First Pitch Classic is the second of six tournaments in as many weekends for the Falcons. BGSU went 4-0 in Cleveland last weekend, and the Brown and Orange will participate in tourneys in Lafayette, La.; Louisville, Ky.; Oxford, Miss.; and Bloomington, Ind.; before Mid-American Conference play begins on March 24.

BGSU SOFTBALL LINKS
NOTES/WEB SITE: BGSU (PDF Notes) | Canisius | Charlotte | SBU
BGSU 2017 Quick Facts

CHARLOTTE FIRST PITCH CLASSIC
(live stats will be available for all games; live video [fee required] will be available for all games involving Charlotte – any available links for BGSU's games will be available right here at BGSUFalcons.com)
Friday, Feb. 17

Bowling Green vs. Canisius, 10:00 a.m.
Canisius vs. St. Bonaventure, 12:15 p.m.
Bowling Green at Charlotte, 2:30 p.m.
St. Bonaventure at Charlotte, 4:45 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 18
Bowling Green vs. St. Bonaventure, 10:00 a.m.
Canisius at Charlotte, 12:15 p.m.
Semifinal-Round Game, 2:30 p.m.
Semifinal-Round Game, 4:45 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 19
Consolation Game, 10:00 a.m.
Championship Game, 12:15 p.m.

NOTING THE FALCONS
• The Falcons got the season off to a successful start, going a perfect 4-0 at the CSU Dome Tournament, hosted by Cleveland State. BGSU's start is the program's best in over a decade, since the 2006 team began the season with six consecutive wins.

• Through four games, BGSU has outscored the opponents, 24-2. The Falcons had at least eight hits at the plate in each of the four wins, while BG pitching allowed only 11 total hits on the weekend.

• The Falcons downed host CSU by a 7-1 score on Saturday morning (Feb. 11), then posted an 8-1 victory over Niagara that afternoon. Redshirt junior Aspen Searle, who missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, homered in each game and had a total of four hits and five RBI on the day.

• Both BG pitchers on Saturday, sophomore Kiley Sosby and senior Briana Combs, fired a complete-game two-hitter. Sosby had nine strikeouts, tying her career high, in the CSU game, while Combs retired 16 consecutive batters after allowing a run-scoring single in the first inning vs. Niagara. Combs surrendered two hits in that opening inning, then did not allow another NU baserunner until the seventh.

• In her first collegiate games, freshman Kendyl Wheeler went 5-for-7 at the plate, scoring three runs.

• BGSU put the leadoff hitter on base in each of the first three innings vs. CSU, and in each of the first five frames vs. NU.

• The three first-year Falcons who made plate appearances on Saturday – Wheeler, fellow freshman Logan Everett and junior transfer Laine Simmons – each had a base hit in their first official BGSU at-bat. Wheeler was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate against CSU, including a double in her first AB. Simmons singled in the second inning of the CSU game, while Everett led off the second inning of the NU game with a single.

• On Sunday (Feb. 12), Falcon pitchers fired a pair of shutouts, as BG downed Canisius, 8-0 in five innings, and Robert Morris, 1-0.

• Sosby threw a two-hit shutout vs. Canisius, tying her career best with nine strikeouts for the second-straight outing.

• Redshirt junior Chelsea Raker homered in the first inning and doubled in the second against CC. She had five RBI after those two at-bats.

• After Raker walked to lead off the home half of the fifth inning, senior Haley Schrock clubbed a two-run walk-off (Schrock-off?) homer to left to give BG an eight-run lead.

• Raker now has 13 career homers, trailing only Searle (16) among current Falcons. Schrock's homer in Cleveland was the fifth of her career, while sophomore Hannah Giammarino blasted her second career round-tripper on Saturday.

• Against RMU, runs were much harder to come by, but BG had three-straight singles in the third inning, with Searle's hit plating sophomore Alex Sorgi with what proved to be the winning run.

• Sophomore transfer Meredith Miller scattered five hits en route to a complete-game shutout win in her Falcon debut. It was the first complete game and the first win of Miller's collegiate career. She appeared in eight games, starting one, as a freshman at Southern Miss last year.

• The Falcons had a total of one shutout during all of the 2016 season, but posted two in as many games on Sunday.

• Sorgi had her first hit as a Falcon in Saturday's second game, and now has a three-game hitting streak. She was primarily used as a pinch-runner as a freshman, with just eight at-bats in the 2016 season.

• The Falcons outhit the foes, 35-11, and BG had a team batting average of .337 on the weekend. BGSU batters were retired in order just four times – once in each game – during the entire weekend.

• Falcon opponents hit just .125, and the BG pitching staff had an ERA of 0.54 in the four games. All three Falcon pitchers to see action had an ERA of 1.00 or lower.

• Eight BG hitters are batting at least .300 after one weekend, and six players have a slugging percentage of .583 or higher.

• Newcomers are ranked one through three in terms of batting average, with Everett hitting .600 in five at-bats. Wheeler is batting .500 and Simmons .429. Wheeler went 6-for-12 in Cleveland, while the catching platoon of Everett and Simmons combined to go 6-for-12 as well.

• Eight players – Giammarino, Raker, Schrock, Searle, Sorgi, Wheeler and juniors Kayla Gregory and Katie Hinkle – started all four games last weekend, while Everett and Simmons each made two starts in Cleveland.

• Sorgi scored a team-high five runs, while Searle touched the plate four times and three other Falcons scored three runs apiece. Raker had seven RBI and Searle six.

• Miller has an ERA of 0.00, while Sosby is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.58 and an opponent batting average of .103. Combs has a 1.00 ERA and allowed opponents to hit just .091 against her.

• Willis and her staff – assistant coaches Katie Reiff and Lauren Gambone, volunteer assistant Lyndsey Clark and alumnae coordinator Kolleen Kopchak – welcome back 12 letterwinners, including five starters, from a year ago.

• BGSU was picked to finish sixth in the Mid-American Conference East Division according to the MAC's preseason coaches' poll.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS
• Canisius, like BGSU, opened the season in Cleveland last weekend, going 2-2. Sophomore Lauren Castro was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week after hitting .545 with four doubles, while junior Madi Weathers was the MAAC's Pitcher of the Week after picking up a pair of saves.

• Canisius finished with a 23-32 overall record a year ago, and the Golden Griffins went 13-7 in MAAC play. Coach Kim Griffin's team was picked to finish fourth in the MAAC this year.

• Charlotte is 1-3 on the year, heading into a Wednesday doubleheader vs. Gardner-Webb. The 49ers defeated Longwood, but lost to Presbyterian, Ohio and host South Carolina at the Carolina Classic last weekend. Emma Ocker is hitting a team-best .357, while Haley Wiseman threw a complete game in each of her three starts last weekend. She is 1-2 with a 2.03 ERA heading into Wednesday's action.

• Charlotte head coach Aimee DeVos, in her 23th season at the 49ers' helm, welcomed back 13 letterwinners from a year ago. The 2016 team went 32-23 overall and 11-13 in Conference USA.

• St. Bonaventure opens the 2017 season in Charlotte this weekend. Head coach Mike Threehouse returns 17 letterwinners, including five positional starters from a year ago. The 2016 Bonnies finished 15-32 overall and 8-14 in Atlantic 10 Conference action.

THE SERIES
• BGSU leads Canisius, 2-1, in the all-time series between the teams. All three prior meetings have come in Cleveland, with the Golden Griffins earning a 4-2 victory three years ago (Feb. 9, 2014). The Falcons, however, scored 10 runs in the first inning en route to a 16-1, five-inning win the following year (Feb. 8, 2015). Then, last weekend, BGSU picked up an 8-0 win on Sunday inside the Krenzler Dome.

• The Falcons also lead St. Bonaventure, 2-1, in that series. All three previous meetings came in Charleston, S.C., during a five-day span in early March of 2007. The Brown and Orange picked up a 2-0 win as part of Charleston Southern's tournament (March 3, 2007), and the teams split a doubleheader four days later. BGSU dropped the first game of that twinbill, 4-2, but bounced back to win the nightcap, 1-0, as Emily Gouge threw a no-hitter.

• The Falcons and Charlotte have never met on the softball diamond.

COMING UP...
• Following the five games in Charlotte, the Falcons will head to Lafayette, La., to take part in the Mardi Gras Invitational (Feb. 23-25). BGSU will play a total of five games in that tourney, which also includes Bradley, Drake, Maryland and nationally-ranked Louisiana.
 
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