(Photo credit to Amy E. Voigt)
It was an all-around bad year for Bowling Green last season as they finished with a dismal record of 15-34 (9-15 in the MAC Conference). The Falcons were outscored in every inning last year other than the fourth (where they tied at 41). There is a lot of improvement that needs to come for success to be obtained in 2018, but a few pieces on this roster can help lead Bowling Green back to relevancy in the MAC Conference.
Bowling Green’s pitching staff had a rather forgettable season last year. Their staff allowed more than 300 runs while posting in the lower half of the MAC in ERA, strikeouts, walks allowed, and BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play). They also were last in the MAC in strikeout percentage (All stats coming from NCAA.com and TheBaseballCube.com).
Still, some bright spots remain, as BGSU’s pitching staff did a very good job eating up innings and keeping their team in games. Sophomore Nathan Lohmeier posted a 2.51 ERA out of the bullpen and got some really critical outs for the Falcons, while Sophomore Chandler Stillings held lefties to a .100 average. The Falcons pitching staff will be at a loss of arms going into the spring after losing senior pitchers Addison Rospert, Tori Landi, and C.J. Schlidt. They also have cut ties with pitchers like Matt Szabo and Tyson Schnitkey before the beginning of the fall. A huge blow was the news that Chase Antle will miss the duration of the 2018 season with surgery on his throwing arm.
The path for success starts with Tyler Anderson, a fifth-year senior from Lima, OH and Zach Carey, a senior out of London, OH. Bowling Green may be shorthanded in terms of experienced pitchers, but in college baseball, that just means another opportunity for a kid to step up. It will be a chance for the incoming freshman like Ben Beutel, Jeremy Spezia, and David Stopp to fill in those gaps.
Nathan Lohmeier is a pitcher to watch out for in 2018. He doesn’t have the best stuff, but brings a great intensity to the mound every single day. Lohmeier looks to build off the momentum he built from last year to help contribute to BGSU’s bullpen in 2018. Capitalizing on these opportunities will be pivotal for BGSU’s rotation to achieve success in the 2018 season.
On the hitting side of things, BGSU did not have too much success. The Falcons finished last in the MAC in runs scored, WoBA (Weighted on Base Average), runs created, total bases, home runs, and RBIs. Overall, BGSU’s offense can only go up from here. With that being said, there are a few positives from this group. Starting center fielder Jake Wilson (selected in the 39th Round of the 2016 Draft by the Boston Red Sox) took home MAC Freshman of the Year honors while leading the team in BABIP and RBIs Jake also finished second on the team in areas like runs created, WoBA, and batting average. Wilson needs to continue hitting from the left side of the plate, while also learning to become more comfortable on the base paths. In order to make up for the runs that will be lost from departing seniors Greg Basalyga and Nick Glanzman, incoming JUCO transfers like Anthony Smith, Neil Lambert, and Gama Martinez will need to bolster BGSU’s roster. Hope even exists in some very impressive incoming freshmen like Evan Brown, Nick Neibauer, and Dylan Dohanos. If they flourish, success might be in store for BGSU’s 2018.
Another interesting prospect in the spotlight is a junior transfer, shortstop Neil Lambert. Lambert played his Junior College baseball at Triton College where he hit .374 with an OBP of .481. His swing is fluid and gets great extension on pitches which allows him to have a decent amount of pull power. What also makes Lambert exciting is his range at shortstop, making a lot of plays the typical shortstops can’t. Lambert has been really fun to watch throughout fall ball and I am excited to see what he can do for BGSU in the next few months.
Overall, Bowling Green certainly had a down season last year. With that being said, there is a lot of talent that can shine this season. With the continued improvement of the pitching staff, a lineup headed by a Jake Wilson, Neil Lambert, and potential young anchors like Gama Martinez, and Anthony Smith, there is no reason not to think that Bowling Green could be on the right track towards regaining relevance in the MAC Conference.