Sunday's MAC Baseball Results
Ball State 7, Morehead State 5
Ball State 6, Wofford 4
Toledo 11, Norfolk State 3
Furman 5, Toledo 13
Winthrop 6, Akron 5 (Game 1)
Winthrop 6, Akron 2 (Game 2)
Belmont 3, Bowling Green 1
UNLV 6, Central Michigan 2
Clemson 9, Eastern Michigan 7
Arizona 7, Kent State 1
Arkansas State 13, Miami 3
Minnesota 11, Northern Illinois 5
Ohio 7, Murray State 6 (Game 1)
Murray State 7, Ohio 6 (Game 2)
Memphis 5, Western Michigan 2
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Ball State 7, Morehead State 5 (Game 1 - Boxscore)
Ball State 6, Wofford 4 (Game 1 - Boxscore)
Ball State’s baseball team, under the direction of head coach Rich Maloney, improved to 3-0 on the season with wins over Morehead State and Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday.
The Cardinals tallied a 7-5 win over Morehead State in Sunday’s first game, and then defeated Wofford 6-4 in 10 innings in the second game of the day.
Zach Plesac earned the pitching win in both games, while Chris Lovejoy tallied a save in the Wofford contest. Plesac pitched 2.1 innings, allowing zero runs and striking out two to defeat Wofford, while Lovejoy pitched the 10th inning, and held Wofford hitless. In the Morehead State game, Plesac also pitched 2.1 innings, allowed one hit and struck out three.
Against Wofford, the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the 10th to break a 4-4 tie and earn Ball State the win.
With the game knotted at 4-4, Ball State put together two runs on three hits in the 10th. After the first two batters got out for the Cardinals in the 10th, Sean Kennedy singled and advanced to second when Plesac was walked. Ryan Spaulding singled up the middle and Kennedy scored. Alex Maloney walked to load the bases and Alex Call’s single scored pinch runner Cole Griesinger to give the Cardinals a two-run advantage in extra innings.
Kyle Raleigh led the Cardinals offensively with a 2-for-5 performance and added four runs-batted-in and one run scored. Call and Kennedy added two hits apiece, while Call tallied one RBI. Spaulding managed a 1-for-1 showing from the plate with one RBI.
Against Morehead State, Plesac recorded his first career victory by pitching the final 2.1 innings and allowing only one hit, while striking out three. Jacob Brewer started the game and B.J. Butler provided the middle relief in the 7-5 Ball State victory.
After falling behind 1-0 after the top half of the first, the Cardinals responded with a four run first frame to take a commanding lead. T.J. Weir plated Brandon Estep and Sean Godfrey with a double to left center and later scored along with Kennedy on a Morehead State throwing error to give Ball State a 4-1 advantage.
The Eagles tied the score in the third before Ball State added a run in the fifth to even the game at 5-5. The Cardinals scored on a Kennedy RBI single to right that plated Weir, who got on base with a single to center.
Morehead State tied the game again in the sixth, but Ball State responded with a two-run seventh to seal the 7-5 win. The Cardinals scored on a Godfrey RBI single and a Weir bunt single.
Weir led the Cardinals with a 3-for-4 performance from the plate and added three runs-batted-in plus scored twice in the victory. Weir and Maloney each doubled in the contest and Maloney was 2-for-4 from the plate. Kennedy went 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored, while Sean Godfrey was 2-for-5 with one run scored and one RBI. Call and Estep each added one hit in the contest.
Ball State is scheduled to play its fourth game in Spartanburg, S.C., Monday at Noon vs. Dayton. The Cardinals will return to Muncie, and then head to the Snow Bird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., Friday through Sunday.
Toledo 11, Norfolk State 3 (Game 1 - Boxscore)
Furman 13, Toledo 5 (Game 2 - Boxscore)
GREENVILLE, SC – Toledo closed out its season-opening weekend by splitting two games on Sunday at the First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field. The Rockets defeated Norfolk State (0-3), 11-3, in today’s opener, before dropping a 13-5 decision against host Furman (2-1). UT now stands at 1-2 on the year.
Senior DH/LF Jacob North (4-for-7, 2 RS, 2 RBI), junior 2B/3B Dan Zuchowski (4-for-7, RS, 3 RBI) and sophomore SS Deion Tansel (4-for-8, 3 RS, RBI) each registered a team-high four hits on the day.
In Game One against the Spartans, the Rockets pounded out a season-high 13 hits and scored multiple runs in four innings against six pitchers to earn their first win of the spring. Senior 2B Zack Michael (2-for-4, 2 RS), sophomore 1B Tyler Baar (2-for-4, 2 RS, 2 RBI), North (2-for-4, RS, 2 RBI), Zuchowski (2-for-5, RS, RBI) and Tansel (2-for-4, 2 RS, RBI) led the attack with two hits each.
On the mound, senior RHP Cameron Palmer was outstanding in claiming the victory, allowing one run (one earned) on four hits with four strikeouts in 5.0 frames.
After spotting Norfolk State one run in the second inning, UT plated two runs in the top of the third to assume a lead it would not relinquish. The Midnight Blue & Gold took advantage of a RBI double by Zuchowski and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Baar to establish a 2-1 lead.
The Rockets then tallied three runs in fifth frame and one in the sixth to stretch the margin to 6-1. UT did all of its damage in the fifth after the first two outs were recorded. The big hit was a two-run triple off the bat of North. They also benefitted from a NSU wild pitch with a runner on third base to score their one run in the fifth and a run-scoring double by Tansel in the sixth to create a five-run cushion.
The teams then traded two markers in the seventh inning to set the score at 8-3. Toledo utilized a two-run single off the bat of senior LF Tyler Grogg (1-for-5, RS, 2 RBI) to account for its runs, while Norfolk State received run-scoring hits by RF Mikey Bruno (1-for-1, RS, RBI) and DH Kyle Vaas (2-for-3, RS, RBI).
Toledo then closed out the scoring with three insurance tallies in the eighth frame to make the final score at 11-3. Baar accounted for the first run with a RBI single to centerfield, before sophomore CF John Martillotta (1-for-3, RS, RBI) was credited with a sacrifice fly to close out the impressive triumph for the 2012 Mid-American Conference West Division champions.
NSU’s RHP Corey Haynes (0-1) was strapped with the loss, yielding three runs (all earned) on four hits with three walks and one strikeout in 4.0 innings.
Vaas was the only Spartan to tally a multi-hit effort against a trio of UT hurlers.
In Game Two against the Paladins, the Rockets were their own worst enemy, committing four errors and issuing eight walks en route to suffering the eight-run loss.
Sophomore RHP Kyle Slack (0-1) was tagged with the setback, giving up four runs (all earned) on five hits with three free passes and three punchouts in 3.1 frames.
Grogg (2-for-5, 2 RS), North (2-for-3, RS), Tansel (2-for-4, RS) and Zuchowski (2-for-2, 2 RBI) paced the offense with multi-hit effort against four Furman pitchers.
Toledo jumped on the scoreboard first in its opening at-bat on a sacrifice fly by senior DH James Miglin (1-for-3, 2 RBI).
Furman then scored the next five runs to take control of today’s invite finale. The home team plated one run in the third inning and four in the fourth to build a 5-1 lead. The Paladins batted around in the fourth frame and took advantage of five hits, two walks and two stolen bases to establish an insurmountable cushion.
UT retaliated with an RBI single off the bat of Miglin in the fifth, before Furman countered with a run of its own on the strength of one walk, one wild pitch and an infield throwing error to put the score in its favor at 6-2.
Toledo stayed aggressive at the plate in the sixth frame and scored three runs to draw themselves within a single tally, 6-5. The big knock in the inning was a two-run single to right field by Zuchowski.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, they were not able to sustain their momentum and allowed Furman to plate two runs in the bottom of the sixth and five in the seventh to make the final score 13-5. The Paladins did all their damage in the seventh frame on only two hits. They benefitted from two walks, one hit-by-pitch, one throwing error, one balk and one passed ball.
Furman RHP Alex Abrams (1-0) was awarded the win, allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits with two punchouts in 4.1 innings.
The top three hits in the Paladins’ lineup, RF Heath Burton (3-for-6, RS, 2 RBI), SS Hunter Burton (1-for-6, 2 RS) and 1B Greg Harrison (3-for-4, 2 RS, RBI), did a bulk of the damage, combining for seven hits, five runs scored and three RBI.
The Rockets will return to the diamond next weekend when they will venture to Baton Rouge, LA for three games at the LSU Tournament on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 21-23. UT will play Texas Southern on Friday at 1:00 p.m., the host Tigers on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Virginia Tech on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at Alex Box Stadium.
Winthrop 6, Akron 2 (Game 2 - Boxscore)
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The University of Akron baseball team lost to Winthrop University in both games of the doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Winthrop Ballpark to open the 2014 season. UA fell in the first game by a final score of 6-5 in 10 innings, and then 6-2 in the second game of the doubleheader.
"We hung in when we were behind in game one to tie it up, and had some good at bats," head coach Rick Rembielak said. "Wanted to carry that into game two, but we were too sporadic offensively. We made a lot of hard outs, hitting quite a few right at them."
Akron started well in the first inning of the first game of the doubleheader. Redshirt senior James Sheltrown reached on catcher's interference, which was followed by a RBI single from Brady Stewart to take an early 1-0 lead.
Redshirt junior Jon Pusateri made the start on the mound for the Zips' season opener for the second-consecutive season. Pusateri started with a scoreless first inning, but went on to allow three runs in the bottom of the second. He lasted 3.0 innings with four runs allowed and three strikeouts for a no-decision.
Winthrop added one run in both the third and fourth innings, which were tagged to Pusateri and reliever John Valek III, respectively. Valek worked 4.0 innings with one earned run allowed and two strikeouts.
The Zips pushed across two runs in both the fifth and seventh innings to knot the game at five. Redshirt junior Matt LaRocca hit Akron's first homerun of the season, a two-run blast, in the fifth inning, which was followed by RBI singles from junior Matt Rembielak and Sheltrown in the seventh.
Despite incurring the loss, redshirt junior Andrew Fanning worked an efficient 2.0 innings with three hits allowed and one unearned run over the eighth and ninth inning.
The Zips also struck first in the second game of the afternoon doubleheader. Freshman James Meeker III, who started at third and earned his first three collegiate hits, notched a RBI single in the first to bring in redshirt junior Joey Havrilak, putting UA up 1-0.
The Winthrop Eagles rallied for three runs in the bottom of the second on Zips starting pitcher Michael Steensen. Steensen pitched a total of 4.0 innings with five earned runs allowed, and was given the loss.
Following Steensen's exit, sophomore JT Brubaker took over on the mound. He allowed one run in the fifth, and then finished with 3.0 innings pitched and three striekouts.
Havrilak brought Akron within four runs with a solo homerun to right field, the fifth of his career, in the top of the seventh inning, which brought the game to its final score of 6-2. A native of Washington, Pa., Havrilak finished the day with a team-high three runs scored to go along with a double and a walk.
Overall on the afternoon, the Akron offense recorded 19 hits, two doubles and two walks. Kris Simonton, Stewart, Havrilak and Meeker led the team with three hits each, while LaRocca had a team-high two RBI. Five other Zips had one RBI over the two games.
"Wish we didn't lose a game to weather as we would've liked to get more pitchers in," Rembielak said.
Akron baseball will look ahead to the Blue Devil Classic, which will pit Akron against Saint Louis, LaSalle and Duke next weekend. UA's first matchup is with Saint Louis on Feb. 21 in Durham, N.C., at 7 p.m.
Belmont 3, Bowling Green 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Two Falcon errors which led to two unearned runs proved to be the difference as the Bowling Green State University baseball team dropped a 3-1 decision at Belmont on Sunday afternoon. The game, which was played at E.S. Rose Park, was the series finale. Bowling Green drops to 1-2 on the season with the defeat, while Belmont improved to 2-1.
Making his first start since April 1, 2012, redshirt freshman Andrew Lacinak went 5.0 innings while allowing just three hits and striking out two. He was in control for much of his outing, only allowing one walk. He would exit the game after five innings with a 1-0 lead, but would end up getting a no-decision.
The Falcons would take a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning, after recording just one hit through the first four. Senior Andrew Kubuski began the top of the fifth with an infield single. He would move to second on Trey Keegan's single through the left side of the infield. Kubuski and Keegan would move into scoring position on Aaron Loconsole's sacrifice bunt for the first out of the inning. Jesse Rait would bring Kubuski home—giving the Falcons a lead for the third consecutive game to begin the 2014 season—with an RBI groundout to short.
In relief of Lacinak, freshman Devin Daugherty would struggle with his command to start the bottom of the sixth. Daugherty would walk the first two batters he faced in the inning, setting up Belmont to move both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Bowling Green would trade the tying run for an out, as the Bruins grounded out to short for the second out of the inning. With a runner on first and two outs, it appeared that the Falcons would get out of the inning with a trickling ground ball up the middle. Second baseman Aaron Loconsole and shortstop Brian Bien would converge, and Bien would field the ball, crossing in front of the second base bag. His throw would cause first baseman Jeremy Shay to stretch, and Shay was unable to make the catch to record the out. The next batter would flick a pitch over the BGSU infield's head, giving Belmont a 2-1 lead.
The Bruins would tack on a crucial insurance run off of Trevor Blaylock in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, an infield throwing error would extend the inning for Belmont. The next two batters would single to give BU another unearned run, and the home team led 3-1 after seven innings.
Patrick Lancaster would single to begin the top of the eighth, and Bien would follow with a walk, giving the Falcons two base runners with nobody out. For the second straight day, Jeremy Shay would lay down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. With one out and two runners in scoring position, T.J. Losby came to the dish with a chance to tie the game with a hit. The second pitch of the at-bat went to the backstop, and Lancaster would be caught between third and home. Belmont would get Lancaster into a run down, eventually retiring him 2-1-5. Bien would move to third on the play, but Losby's flyout to right would end the frame.
The Falcons would get two on in the ninth, but could not capitalize on the baserunners, falling 3-1. The Orange and Brown will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Murray, Ky. for a three-game series with Murray State.
UNLV 6, Central Michigan 2
Las Vegas, Nev. - Sophomore Adam Aldred matched a career high with seven strikeouts in his first start of the season, but Central Michigan was unable to hold on to an early lead, allowing UNLV to secure a four-game series sweep at Wilson Stadium with the win, 6-2.
Aldred was impressive in his first start of the season, matching his career high with seven strikeouts over 6.1 innings pitched, giving up four runs - three earned - on five hits.
Unfortunately, Aldred's counterpart Bryan Bonnell pitched a complete game for the Rebels (4-0), striking out 11 and giving up just five hits.
The Chippewas (0-4) were able to get to Bonnell in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs as junior Pat MacKenzie singled off the pitchers' leg and later came around to score the first run of the game on a UNLV error.
Junior Tyler Huntey pushed the Chippewas' lead to 2-0 on a single through the right side, scoring classmate Nick Regnier from second.
The Rebels got a run back in the bottom of the frame on an error by redshirt freshman Alex Borglin that allowed T.J. White to score. UNLV took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run single by White.
CMU had a prime scoring chance in the top of the sixth when MacKenzie doubled down the right field line to lead off the inning, but he was thrown out at home on a suicide squeeze attempt by sophomore Zack Fields.
Bonnell settled in after MacKenzie's double, retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. Borglin singled in the top of the eighth and moved into scoring position on a MacKenzie ground out, but was unable to reach home.
The Rebels tacked on run in the seventh when White was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to take a 4-2 lead. Joey Armstrong pushed across the Rebels' final two runs with a single through the left side in the eighth.
MacKenzie finished the afternoon 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Borglin, Huntey, and sophomore Logan Regnier each had a hit.
CMU is back on the road next weekend for a four-game set Feb. 21-23 versus Troy.
Clemson 9, Eastern Michigan 7
CLEMSON, S.C. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University baseball team collected 13 hits and scored seven runs, but four errors in the field led to six unearned runs for the opposition as the Eagles (1-2) dropped the series finale to Clemson University, 9-7. With EMU leading 7-6, the Tigers (2-1) scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth to claim the Sunday afternoon contest at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Feb. 16.
The rubber match between the two programs was a wild one as the Eagles and Tigers combined for 16 runs, 23 hits and five errors. EMU out-hit Clemson, 13-10, but the Green and White committed four errors compared to just one for the home team.
"It was a hard fought battle neither team deserved to lose, but in the end they are one of the best teams in the country," mentioned EMU Head Coach Jay Alexander. "I'm extremely excited about my guys and our season. We definitely know what we need to work on to get better."
Sam Ott recorded three of EMU's 13 hits in his best hitting performance of the series, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Lee Longo, John Rubino and Austin Wilson each collected a pair of hits, four of them turning into extra bases; Rubino notched two doubles while Wilson used his speed for a triple, and Longo added a two-base hit of his own to go along with two RBI.
Veteran Eagle Paul Schaak got the start, lasting two innings into the contest. He gave up four runs on six hits, but only one of the runs he gave up was earned. Freshman Sam Delaplane made his debut with a scoreless inning of relief in place of Schaak. Charlie Land (0-1) took the loss as the unfortunate one on the mound in the eighth inning, when Clemson scored three unearned runs to climb ahead for good. Land surrendered just one hit while striking out two Tigers in his 2.1 innings of work.
Matt Campbell (1-0) pitched the final 2.2 innings of the game for Clemson to go from picking up the loss to earning the win. Jay Baum went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI at the plate to lead the Tigers. Freshman designated hitter Chris Okey kept up his hot series, knocking in a team-high three runs. CU catcher Garrett Boulware also collected a pair of hits and RBI.
The Eagles found themselves quickly behind, 3-0, after a shaky first inning in the field. The first two Clemson hitters reached base on throwing errors by Rubino and Schaak. The Tigers took advantage of the EMU miscues with three singles that brought in three runs.
Clemson collected a pair of hits in the second inning that scored another run, and the deficit for EMU became four after two innings. However, the Eagles tied it up with their next opportunity at the dish, tallying four runs on five hits. Wilson reached third with a triple to center field, and the two-out rally began with a two-bagger by Rubino that scored the EMU center fielder. Back-to-back singles by Nick Rotola and Ott cut the difference to one before Longo belted a shot into the right center gap that scored Ott all the way from first base, tying the game at four apiece.
After Clemson regained the lead with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings, Eastern bounced back with three runs in the top of the seventh to take a one-run cushion, 7-6. Rubino led off the inning with his second double of the game, and Marquise Gill advanced the starting shortstop to third on a ground out. With one out, Ott knocked in his second run of the game with a double to right center. Following a strikeout, EMU took advantage of Clemson's only error of the game as Adam Dennison reached base on a throw from the Clemson shortstop that went in the dirt, and Longo scored to give his team the lead. Ty Gilmore singled to keep the inning alive, but the two Eagles were left on base as the EMU advantage remained at only one run.
Eastern was four outs away from winning the game and taking the series until a throwing error by Rubino allowed Tyler Slaton, who walked to begin the inning, to cross the plate. Steven Duggar was the benefactor of the mistake, and he stood on second as the go-ahead run for Clemson. EMU looked to be out of the inning when catcher Adam Sonabend threw a dart over to Gilmore at third to try and gun down Duggar who attempted to steal. Gilmore appeared to apply the tag before Duggar reached the base, but the umpire called him safe. Coach Alexander marched out of the dugout to argue the call as video replay showed the tag beat the foot to the base. Nonetheless, the call stood, and the Tigers took advantage of it. Later in the at-bat, Baum singled to bring in Duggar, giving Clemson the one-run lead. The Tigers added another insurance run as Baum scored while his teammate was caught in a rundown.
In Eastern's last chance to keep the game alive, Sonabend walked with two outs to bring Dennison to the plate as the tying run. However, after a hard-fought at-bat that lasted 14 pitches, the EMU designated hitter flew out to center field to end the game.
EMU will hit the diamond again, Feb. 21-23, when it travels to the University of Tennessee Martin for a three-game set. The series opener begins Friday afternoon, Feb. 21, at 3 p.m. from Skyhawk Field.
Arizona 7, Kent State 1
TUCSON, Ariz. – Unlike the previous day, Kent State's (1-2) offense couldn't get much going, as they dropped the definitive third game at Arizona (2-1) Sunday afternoon (Feb. 16) by a score of 1-7.
Arizona plated a run each in the 2nd and 3rd innings to take an early 2-0 lead. Kent State's lone run came in the 4th when Alex Miklos was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced on a throwing error, then came home easily on a double off the bat of Zarley Zalewski. A strikeout, fly out and ground out from the next three batters left Zalewski stranded.
The Golden Flashes would not get a runner to third base for the rest of the game while the Wildcats scored two in the 4th and two in the 6th to earn the win. Six of their seven runs came via a base hit.
Michael Clark (0-1) suffered the loss as the starter, throwing four innings with four runs, seven hits, and no walks or strikeouts. A combination of John Birkbeck, John Fasola, Tim Faix, Josh Pierce, Eli Martin and Eric Dorsch rounded out the Kent State pitching arsenal for the day. They combined for six hits, three runs, one walk and no strikeouts.
Zalewski stayed hot at the plate, as he was the only Golden Flash to pick up multiple hits or an extra-base hit in the game. He went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. Sawyer Polen and Jon Wilson picked up the other two hits for Kent State.
The Golden Flashes will resume play next weekend (Fri. 21-23) as they take part in the Coca-Cola Classic hosted by Winthrop. They will play two against the host team and two games against Coppin State in the three-day series.
Arkansas State 13, Miami 3
JONESBORO, Ark. – Arkansas State scored runs in all but two innings as the Miami baseball dropped the weekend series finale, 13-3, on Sunday afternoon.
With the result, the Red Wolves (3-0) finish with an opening weekend sweep of the RedHawks (0-3).
ASU scratched a run across in the first inning on Matt Burgess’ two-out RBI single, which plated Zach George after he stole second base earlier in the at-bat. Ryan Powers retired the side in a scoreless second inning, but the Red Wolves plated three third-inning runs. Austin Baker’s triple drove in one run and Burgess followed that up with a double before a Miami error pushed in another run to put ASU up 4-0.
The RedHawks cut the deficit in half in the top of the fourth after Jake Romano led off with a bunt single and John Crummy ripped a single of his own up the middle. Max Andresen’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners over and Chad Sedio drilled a two-run single with two outs to pull MU within 4-2.
Baker and Burgess answered those Miami runs in the next half inning with a sacrifice fly and an RBI double, respectively, to push ASU ahead 6-2 after four complete innings. The RedHawks pulled within 6-3 in the top of the fifth when consecutive Red Wolf errors plated Matt Honchel with one out, but consecutive fly outs ended the scoring threat.
Miami would not get any closer the rest of the way with Arkansas State scoring twice in the fifth, three times in the sixth and two more in the seventh to cap the scoring at 13-3. ASU cracked three-straight one-out doubles for its two-run fifth, scored another on a single with two more coming across via a wild pitch in the sixth and plated two more on a groundout and a single in the seventh.
Powers (0-1) started on the mound and allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits in 3.2 innings pitched, striking out two batters while walking two. Jacob Banks, Ryan Marske, Wynston McMartin and Charlie Suich also pitched out of the pen for the Red and White. Offensively, Miami got two hits apiece from Romano, Crummy and Sedio with the latter driving in two runs.
The RedHawks return to the diamond next weekend when they play in the Mule Mix Classic. Game one is at Belmont on Friday at 5 p.m. ET.
Minnesota 11, Northern Illinois 5
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Northern Illinois and Minnesota played a back and forth baseball game for seven and a half innings, until the Golden Gophers (3-0) accounted for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 5-5 tie with the Huskies (0-3) and take the final game of the series, 11-5. NIU outhit UM in the game, 13-11.
“It was a tight ball game today. We were able to score some runs and build a lead, but in a game like that, it’s hard to get comfortable. We never extended our lead and we had some golden opportunities to do that,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “I have to give some Minnesota some credit though, they did a great job of responding each time we built the lead. We were able to get a few singles in the ninth to try and comeback, but when you’re down six runs, it’s a lot tougher to do that.”
NIU started with a hot hand as it scored two runs in the top of the first inning as leadoff batter Justin Fletcher (Pekin, Ill./Illinois Central) was hit by a 1-2 pitch to reach base. Fletcher advanced to third on a series of errors as Tommy Hook (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) reached second base on error. Singles by Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo./Kearney) and Chris Divarco (Long Grove, Ill./Carmel Catholic) pushed Fletcher and Hook home to put NIU on top. The Golden Gophers responded with one run in the bottom of the inning.
The scoring picked up from there on out as Minnesota tied the game in the bottom of the third inning on two hits and an error in the outfield, but the Huskies reclaimed their lead in the top of the fourth as Joe Battaglia (Westchester, Ill./St. Joseph), who leadoff the inning with a single, scored on a wild pitch to make it, 3-2.
UM tied the game again in the bottom of the fourth, but again NIU responded, as Klonowski and Divarco hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview, Ill./St. Laurence) grounded out to push Klonowski home and put NIU back on top, 4-3. However, the Gophers scored two runs and forced NIU to the bullpen after 4.1 innings to put Minnesota on top, 5-4.
Northern Illinois tied the game in the top of the eighth with a single run as Mallder, who led the inning with a double, scored on a pinch-hit single by Micah McCulloch (Rochelle, Ill./Rochelle Township) to tie it up, 5-5. After NIU's call, Minnesota responded with six runs in the bottom of the eighth and put the Golden Gophers back on top, 11-5.
At the plate, Klonowski finished 4-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. On the mound, the senior pitched 4.1 innings, surrendering four earned runs, striking out three and walking four in a no decision start. Divarco was 3-of-5 with an RBI while Mallder was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI as well. Pitchers TJ Schrader (Mackinaw, Ill./Illinois Central) and Matt Williams (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) made their debuts, combining for three innings pitched. Schrader was charged with the loss.
The Huskies will return to action Friday, February 21 at the Fuddrucker’s Lobo Invite, when NIU takes on both Missouri State and New Mexico. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., Central time.
Ohio 7, Murray State 6 (Game 1 - Boxscore)
Murray State 7, Ohio 6 (Game 2 - Boxscore)
COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Freshman centerfielder Mitch Longo went 4-for-4 with three RBI in his collegiate debut to lead the Ohio University baseball team (1-0) past Murray State in game one of its doubleheader with the Racers.
Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) also scored a pair of runs, collected a double and stole a base to help the Bobcats rally back from a 6-2 deficit in the fifth inning.
Fellow freshman Tirey Burch (Santa Claus, Ind.) and Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield, Mich.) also chipped in offensively for Ohio as they combined to go 4-for-6 and score a pair of runs.
As a team, Ohio pounded out 16 hits, which marks the third-consecutive game dating back to last year that the Bobcats have posted 10-or-more hits. The `Cats finished the 2013 campaign by posting back-to-back 12-hit games.
Freshman Nick Nauracy (Crown Point, Ind.) earned the win for Ohio as he went 3.0 innings of relief and gave up just one hit. Nauracy also struck out a pair and walked just one batter.
Fellow freshman Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) started the game for Ohio, but lasted just 3.0 innings for Ohio. Roehn was perfect through innings one and two, but was tagged for four runs on four hits in the third, which led to his exit.
Ohio jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, but Murray State responded by tallying six runs over the next three innings to take a 6-2 lead at the end of the fifth.
The Racers had Ohio on the ropes as they had the bases loaded with nobody out in the fifth, but MSU could not land the knock out blow. Nauracy came in out of the bullpen to record three-straight outs and navigate the `Cats out of the bases loaded jam.
Two innings later, Ohio fought back to even the count at six runs apiece as it scored four runs on five hits.
In the seventh, Longo gave the Bobcats the lead for good as he singled through the left side, which allowed junior Tyler Wells (Lexington, Ky.) to score from second base, giving Ohio a 7-6 lead that it would not relinquish.
Freshman Corey Wells (Lexington, Ky.) came on to pick up the final out of the eighth inning. He then worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first career save.
Memphis 5, Western Michigan 2
MEMPHIS, Tenn.- Western Michigan was limited to just four hits in a 5-2 loss Sunday, as Memphis completed a series sweep of the Broncos. Theo Piccirilli, Brett Sunde, Grant Miller and Dan Shutes each had one hit apiece.
WMU fell behind after allowing a run in the first and second innings, but knotted the score at 2-2 in the top of the third. Shutes and Piccirilli hit back-to-back one-out singles and both moved into scoring position on a balk with two away. Shutes scored as Andrew Sohn reached safely on a throwing error by the Tiger shortstop, and Sunde drove in Piccirilli with a single to third. Both runs were unearned.
Memphis took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs off a walk, single, sac fly and a double. The Tigers tacked on their fifth run in the seventh, unearned.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin was impressive in relief work, scattering four hits, striking out three and allowing just the unearned run over 4.1 innings. Junior RHP Will Nimke went two innings in the start and was swapped out in the third after yielding the first four runs, taking the loss. Sophomore RHP Gabe Berman closed the game and threw 1.2 hitless innings.
Strong pitching again led the way for Memphis (3-0), as the Tiger staff retired the final 14 Broncos in a row. Junior right-hander Dylan Toscano allowed two runs, both unearned, on four hits while striking out five in five innings of work and earned the win. Three relievers combined for four perfect innings with three strikeouts Nolan Blackwood earned the save, retiring the side in order in the ninth.
The Broncos (0-3) head to 2013 College World Series participant and top-15 ranked Louisville next weekend for a three-game series, Feb. 21-23.