Schmitz closing in on milestone (04-11-13)
Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor
Thursday, 11 April 2013 09:55
Danny Schmitz is nearing another milestone.
|Falcon baseball coach Danny Schmitz talks to his team during practice Wednesday. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Bowling Green Falcon baseball coach is just four wins shy of his 600th career victory.
"It just means I've been blessed to be around Bowling Green for as long as I have, 23 years and hopefully counting," Schmitz said.
"When you have a milestone like this, you think about all of the great players who have come through the program and I've been very blessed to have some outstanding assistant coaches."
BG visits Toledo in a three-game Mid-American Conference series this weekend, travels to Notre Dame for a nonleague game Tuesday, and hosts Akron in another MAC series April 19-20-21.
The Falcons are 596-569-5 overall and 307-298-1 in the MAC under Schmitz.
"I've had a lot of great support," said Schmitz, who is 58. "You're only as good as the people around you."
Schmitz also praised his former players for their continued financial support of the program, and friends of the program who support the program financially.
BG has won four MAC regular-season titles, two MAC tournament titles and seven MAC East Division titles under Schmitz.
"We've always been an old-school program, fundamentally sound in all three phases (pitching, hitting and defense), a blue-collar work ethic on the field and in the classroom, and taking care of business off the field," Schmitz said.
"I'm very proud of our guys. They do things the right way. Our past and present players have done a tremendous job, even after they've left our program and gone onto their professional lives, whether it be in baseball or a career outside of baseball. That's very rewarding."
After winning three straight East titles from 2008-2010, BG is headed for its third straight losing season.
The BG athletics department cut the program's financial aid in the fall of 2009. BG had the NCAA maximum of 11.7 scholarships before the cuts, but the program was reduced to approximately the equivalent of 8.7 scholarships.
"We've had wonderful administrators like Jack Gregory, who gave a 35-year-old guy a chance, and Ron Zwierlein and Paul Krebs, who supported the program," Schmitz said. "We didn't always get everything on our wish list, but they always supported the program and wanted to make it better. I'm very grateful to those people."
NEXT: BG is 8-19 overall and 3-6 in the MAC as it prepares to face Toledo (12-18, 4-5) in single games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
BATS: Despite its record, BG is third in the MAC with a .283 average in conference games only.
Jeremy Shay is 11-for-27 in BG's nine MAC games for a .543 average, while Patrick Lancaster leads the team overall with a .303 average.
"The hitting is coming around," Schmitz said. "A lot of it has to do with the weather because it's a lot easier to hit in warmer weather than it is in freezing weather when you can't feel your hands."
ARMS: BG has had good pitching as it is fourth in the MAC with a 4.22 earned-run average.
Starter Cody Apthorpe has a 2-2 record and a 2.80 ERA, while reliever Ethan McKenney is 2-1 with one save and a 1.23 ERA.
DEFENSE: BG has been plagued by poor defense.
BG's made 65 errors in just 27 games, including 12 in last weekend's three-game series against Eastern Michigan. Errors also were a problem last season when BG had 110 miscues in 53 games.
"We show spurts where we're making progress and then we take a step back," Schmitz said. "We can't out-slug people and expect to win. We have to execute offensively and make things happen. We have to get the defense straightened out."
MILESTONE: Nick Bruns is just three saves shy of tying BG's career record of 17 set by Neil Schmitz (2001-04).
The senior right-hander has four saves this season to go along with a 2-0 record and a 2.84 earned-run average.
"He's been fantastic," coach Schmitz said. "He's a great competitor and a tremendous athlete. He wants the ball. He's a very hard worker."
In 19 innings, he's allowed 17 hits and 11 runs (six earned) on 11 hits with 20 strikeouts and five walks.
"He's very well respected by his teammates and the coaching staff," Schmitz said. "We think the world of him."
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 12:26