Eastern Michigan Stuns NIU, Faces Rematch with Kent State

Updated 5/27/2011

MAC Tournament Central

MAC Tournament Bracket

Eastern Michigan 12, Northern Illinois 11 (10 innings)
MAC Tournament - Game Nine
WP - Calibuso (3-0)
LP - Badgley (0-2)

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - The first time Tony Manville and Corey Chaffins met this season, Northern Illinois came away with a 2-1 victory. With the two matching up for a second time and one team's season ending with a loss, today's result was slightly different, a shocking come-from-behind Eastern Michigan win that sets the stage for yet another showdown with rival Kent State this afternoon at VA Memorial Stadium.

The tone was set immediately when Ken Battiston turned on Tony Manville's second pitch of the game to give Eastern Michigan a 1-0 lead before most of the crowd had settled in. After Northern Illinois stranded lead-off hitter Jamison Wells on third in the bottom half, Battiston ripped a two-out double to deep center field to bring Lee Longo around to make it 2-0 Eagles. NIU was able to limit the damage with a good throw that beat Kyle Peterson to the plate, allowing the Huskies to escape relatively unscathed.

Ed Mathey's crew got their offense in gear in the bottom of the second with a two-out rally started at the bottom of the batting order. Tom Kotis motored down the line to beat the throw to first from shortstop Tucker Rubino to bring in the first Northern Illinois run. Wells followed with a triple that plated two to give NIU its first lead at 3-2 then was brought in with a single up the middle from Cory Krupp to make it 4-2 after two complete.

Eastern Michigan answered back quickly in the third inning as Brett Ohrman alertly came in from third base on a passed ball. Sam Ott tied the contest with a base hit RBI back up the middle to score Tucker Rubino from second. With runners on first and third and two down in the frame, Kotis made the defensive play of the game and possibly the tournament with a diving snag of a Longo drive to right-center that saved at least one run, bringing EMU head coach Jay Alexander out of the dugout in disbelief.

The momentum carried over to the Huskies' next at-bat as Jeff Zimmerman cranked his second home run of the tournament and 11th of the season out to the power alley in right field, giving Northern Illinois a lead at 6-4.

The fireworks continued into the fourth inning as a lead-off Eastern Michigan double forced a pitching change for the Huskies, Alex Klonowski coming in for Manville. An Ohrman single made the game 6-5 in NIU's favor but Zack Leonard grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Kotis continued Northern's offensive explosion with a lead-off home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to push NIU back in front by two at 7-5. After two more consecutive base knocks from the top of the order, Eastern pulled the plug on Chaffins' day, bringing in Brian Valente. Valente sat the Huskies down in order but allowed their eighth run to score on a long foul ball that was caught for the first out.

Klonowski gave up a run in the top of the fifth inning before settling into a rhythm that saw him retire nine straight EMU batters, a stretch which took the Huskies into the eighth inning with a 10-6 edge. Klonowski retired the first batter of the ninth inning but allowed back-to-back singles from Zack Leonard and Ben Magsig, sending Mathey into his bullpen for closer Kyle Glancy. The game was nearly decided on the first batter Glancy faced when Rubino sent a grounder back to the hill but the pitcher's throw to second was wide, though Alex Beckmann was still able to make the toss to first for the second out. Down to their final out and trailing by four runs, the Eagles reeled off three consecutive singles to draw within 10-9, leading to a dramatic pinch-hit double off the center field wall from Wally Gerbus to give EMU an 11-10 lead.

Suddenly down a run and facing their final out, another pinch-hitter, this time NIU's Kevin Smith, delivered a line drive single between short and third to knot the score at 11-11 and send the game to extras.

Undeterred, Eastern Michigan's Ohrman led off the 10th with an infield single deep in the hole to short and made it to second on a sacrifice groundout. Rubino brought him in with a two-out double just inside the third base line. Northern Illinois would put runners on first and third with one away in the bottom of the inning but couldn't get the tying hit off of Kristian Calibuso.

Northern Illinois ends its season at 30-27. Eastern Michigan improves to 36-21 and will face the Golden Flashes for the fifth time this season at 4 p.m. The Eagles have lost the four previous meetings.

Scoring Summary:
Top of the 1st
Ken Battiston homered to right field
1-0 Eastern Michigan

Top of the 2nd
Battiston doubled off the center field wall, Lee Longo scored from second, Kyle Peterson tagged out at home
2-0 Eastern Michigan

Bottom of the 2nd
Tom Kotis safe at first on infield single to short stop, Troy White scored from third, Alex Beckmann advanced to third
2-1 Eastern Michigan

Jamison Wells tripled to left-center, Beckmann scored from third, Kotis scored from first
3-2 Northern Illinois

Cory Krupp singled up the middle, Wells scored from third
4-2 Northern Illinois

Top of the 3rd
Brent Ohrman scored on passed ball, Tucker Rubino advanced to second
4-3 Northern Illinois

Sam Ott singled to center field, Rubino scored from second
Tied 4-4

Bottom of the 3rd
Zimmerman homered to right center, White scored from second
6-4 Northern Illinois

Top of the 4th
Ohrman singled to center field, Peterson scored from second
6-5 Northern Illinois

Bottom of the 4th
Kotis homered to right field
7-5 Northern Illinois

Jones fouled out to left field, Wells scored from third, Krupp advanced to second
8-5 Northern Illinois

Top of the 5th
Daniel Russell singled up the middle, Ott scored from second
8-6 Northern Illinois

Bottom of the 5th
Kotis doubled to center field, Beckmann scored from first
9-6 Northern Illinois

Wells bloop singled to center field, Kotis scored from second
10-6 Northern Illinois

Top of the 9th
Ott singled to center field, Zack Leonard scored from third, Ben Magsig scored from second
10-8 Northern Illinois

Longo singled to center field, Ott scored from second, Russell advanced to second
10-9 Northern Illinois

Wally Gerbus doubled off the wall in center field, Russell scored from second, Longo scored from first
11-10 Eastern Michigan

Bottom of the 9th
Kevin Smith singled through the left side, Marvin Sanchez scored from second, Zimmerman advanced to second
Tied 11-11

Top of the 10th
Rubino doubled down the third base line, Ohrman scored from second
Eastern Michigan 12-11