Bowling Green State University baseball has announced the release of its 2010 Falcon baseball schedule which features matchups with teams in the Big East, SEC and Big Ten conferences. Those games compliment a full MAC schedule. A total of 37 of 56 games will be played outside of the state of Ohio.
The Falcons will waste no time in finding tough competition to groom them for the upcoming season. To begin the 2010 campaign, Danny Schmitz will take his team on a road trip to the Bluegrass State for six games to begin the season.
The Falcons start the year Feb. 19-21 in Louisville, KY to open the season against the defending Big East regular season and tournament champion Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals finished 2009 just three wins short of 50 for the
season and defending their home field with an 81 percent success rate. The Cardinal pitching staff led the Big East in team ERA (4.32) as well as in homeruns (85) and total bases (1,124). Last year UL swept BG in a three game set by a combined score of 33-12.
The road trip through Ohio’s southern neighbor continues with three games against the University of Kentucky. Though UK baseball finished fifth in the SEC East Division, College Baseball Newspaper has tabbed the Wildcats as having the sixth-best recruiting class in the nation, an honor the program has received two years in a row.
To open the month of March the Falcons will head further south to the former home of the Cleveland Indians spring training program, Winter Haven, Florida. The Falcons will spend nine days (March 5-14) in Winter Haven and play as many games during that span. Only two of the eight opposing teams return for this year’s Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational with Indiana and Sacred Heart, but six very skilled teams will visit to provide the Falcons some tough competition.
The Falcons will take the field against Northeastern, who finished the 2009 season with a 28-25 overall mark, to open their slate during the invitational. The next three days will feature match ups against Rhode Island, Butler and Sacred Heart. Those three teams sport a combined record of 77-89-1 from a season ago with Rhode Island garnering the most success following a 37-20-1 campaign a season ago. After enjoying an off-day at the mid-way point of the week long trip, the Falcons will head back into battle against the Ivy League’s Yale University for a double-header against the Bulldogs. North Dakota State and Indiana will round out the schedule for the duration of the tournament before the Brown and Orange return to Bowling Green.
Last year, the Falcons finished 5-3 during their stay in Winter Haven with signature wins over Bradley in extra innings and against 2010 recurring opponent Eastern Kentucky University. Of the two teams that the Falcons will play in back-to-back years in the tournament, Indiana and Sacred Heart, the Falcons were 1-1 in games against those opponents having lost to the Hoosiers 15-7 and defeating the Pioneers in a pitcher’s duel, 1-0.
Bowling Green will bring baseball back to northwest Ohio when they open their home schedule with a local rival in the Findlay Oilers. The Falcons will engage in a battle for I-75 South on March 16 at Warren E. Stellar Field for the home opener. Bowling Green has won their last ten home openers at Warren Steller Field and has not lost since a 7-6 defeat to the Wright State Raiders in the 1999 season opener.
Schmitz and Company continue to yield southern hospitality as the team travels east straight from EKU to play another Big East team in the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Mountaineers finished third in the Big East last season and only lost five games at home. The Falcons had not played a Big East team since 2008 when the Falcons fell to Villanova 10-8 in Bradenton, FL. This year, the teams will meet at a neutral site at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Of the early non-conference schedule, head coach Danny Schmitz said, “This is probably the toughest schedule we’ve put together. It is a schedule that we wanted to challenge our team with. We’re doing that for a reason. We have to get ourselves ready for conference play because the Mid-American Conference is an outstanding baseball conference.”
Schmitz continued, “We have high expectations [of the players]. You still have to earn it each day you cross the white lines. This schedule is going to be very, very competitive. We hope our kids are going to be up to the task.”
With their return back to Falcon country, BGSU will open its conference slate with MAC West foe Central Michigan on March 24. It will be the only time the Chippewas and the Falcons will play in 2010 but will ready Bowling Green for a home weekend set with Northern Illinois beginning two days later.
Bowling Green will step out of conference again to play Atlantic-10 power house Dayton for a single showdown to close out the month of March. The Dragons and Falcons have had three of their last five matchups cancelled due to weather since 2007. In those two matchups, the Dragons have come out on top both times. In their lone matchup in 2007, the Falcons took the Dragons to 12 innings before losing 8-7 in an extra-inning thriller.
The next four contests between April 2 and April 6 will take the Falcons into Michigan for a three-game series against Eastern Michigan. BG will then hop on the bus to East Lansing, MI. for its first contest with a Big Ten opponent in the Michigan State Spartans. Since 2001, Bowling Green has a 15-19 record when playing in the state of Michigan with nearly as many weather cancellations as wins.
The Falcons will then embark on their final game with a Michigan school against Michigan on April 14. Last year the Falcons beat the Wolverines 8-3 after not having played them since the 2002 season when the Falcons lost 4-3.
Right across the border heading back into Ohio, MAC rival Toledo will be waiting for the visiting Falcons for a weekend series to be held in the Glass City. Bowling Green possess 102 wins against Toledo over their 88 year rivalry. That stands as the most wins BGSU has over any school they have played in program history.
After back-to-back home games against Dayton and Western Michigan on April 20-21, the Falcons hit the road again, this time going to Athens for three games against Ohio and then heading to northeast Ohio for the season finale versus Cleveland State.
Six consecutive Mid-American conference home games follow on the Falcon schedule when Bowling Green plays host to the Miami Redhawks and Akron Zips to close out April heading into the first week of May (April 30-May 9).
For the first time since April 26, 2006 the Falcons will head back to South Bend, Ind. for a single out-of-conference game with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The last time Bowling Green took the trip to South Bend the Falcons outscored the Irish 11-8 on their home field. That win had broken a ten game winless streak against Notre Dame since 1990.
Bowling Green then heads to Kent, Ohio to take on the once nationally ranked Golden Flashes, who had taken two-of-three from the Falcons in 2009. Kent State finished one game behind the Falcons in the MAC standings last year after ranking second in the conference in team pitching as well as in team batting, finishing behind Bowling Green.
Another Horizon League team will come to the Falcons’ territory when the Penguins of Youngstown State come to Steller Field on May 18. Despite a 16-35 record a season ago, the Penguins return six of eight regular position players from their starting lineup and all three of their starting pitchers from last season.
“I think year in and year out there are some outstanding teams,” said Schmitz on the quality of MAC baseball this year. “Kent State as well as OU will be very strong again this year. Miami (OH) was a little young last year, but they’ve gained a lot of experience. We finished off the season with Akron and had a heck of a battle with them for three games and we expect Akron to be very much improved. You really have to bring the ‘A-game’ this year.”
This year the Mid-American Conference Tournament will be held in Chillicothe, Ohio at VA Memorial Stadium. Should the Falcons win a bid to be in field of eight MAC teams to participate in the tournament, they will return to the same field that they are scheduled to play West Virginia earlier in the season.