MAC Tournament Video: Toledo C Morgan Smith
Toledo 7, Bowling Green 4
AKRON, Ohio - Toledo secured its first postseason win in 17 years by defeating rival Bowling Green, 7-4, on Thursday afternoon. Both teams faced elimination on the second day of Mid-American Conference tournament action, as the Rockets held on to play another day. UT will play the loser of No. 1 seed Ball State and No. 4 Northern Illinois on Friday, May 10. First pitch at Firestone Stadium is slated for 11:00 a.m. ET.
Toledo's last postseason win was a 4-3 eight-inning triumph in the 1996 MAC postseason tournament.
The Midnight Blue & Gold used clutch hitting to survive a pair of comeback attempts by the Falcons. UT led the whole game, but didn't gain its biggest lead until the final frame when it gained three runs for a 7-3 advantage. After already cutting the deficit to a run on two occasions, BGSU was only able to muster a run in the final at-bat.
Senior catcher Morgan Smith powered the UT offense with a career day, going 3-for-3 at the dish, while recording a single game career-high four RBI and clubbing her third home run of the season. The Falcons were forced to intentionally walk Morgan to load the bases in the seventh, leading to the final run on an error in the next sequence.
Second-team all-conference and senior third baseman Courtney McCarthy provided two hits, and so did senior Kristen Roznoski who started at second base again for the Rockets.
Pitcher Marla Gooding was effective in the circle and was able to limit the Falcons when it counted. Two of Gooding's three earned runs came from solo shots over the fence, while scattering seven hits and striking out two.
Toledo lit up the board first with two runs in the second frame for an early 2-0 lead. Junior Erinn Wright and sophomore Leigh Nebendahl each walked to begin the rally, then advanced on a groundout in the next at-bat.
With one away, Smith stepped up and slapped her first hit of the tourney past the second baseman to drive in both runs. More importantly, that caused BGSU to yank first-team all-MAC pitcher Jamie Kertes in favor of righty Paris Imholz from the bullpen.
Roznoski singled back to the circle as the first batter facing Imholz, but the momentum shifted when Smith was caught rounding third base too far and tagged out in a rundown. That gave Imholz a much needed out as she escaped the inning without further damage.
The Falcons got on the board in the home half of the third with a little help from a UT defensive error and heads up baserunning. After a one-out single, Gooding induced a grounder back to the circle and the throw to first went past the covering Roznoski, allowing the lead runner to advance to third.
BGSU sent the runner on first on a steal attempt to second for the traditional distraction play, and it worked as UT tried to get that runner at first, while the lead runner on third took off for home and scored easily to slice the deficit to one.
Smith then put the team on her back with an RBI single to right in the fourth, then stayed hot with her third deep fly of the season in the sixth, both with two outs to put the Rockets up 4-1.
After six straight outs, the Falcons finally solved Gooding by flexing their muscle with back-to-back solo homers in the bottom of the sixth. That trimmed the UT lead back to a run, 4-3, heading to the final inning.
The Rockets finally put the game out of reach with four hits in the last inning to bring across the three insurance runs.
UT outslugged the home team 11-7, while committing two errors and leaving nine runners on base. BGSU made three miscues on defense and left six on base.