It was a pitchers dual at Ralph McKinzie Field Saturday afternoon as Northern Illinois and Ohio combined for four runs with the Bobcats taking game two of the series, 3-1.
Senior hurler Jake Hermsen threw 138 pitches with over seven innings in the contest, with seven strikeouts in the loss.
“Jake threw the ball well and pitched himself out of a couple of jams, including late in the seventh inning, and we’ll take that from him every start,” said head coach Ed Mathey.
“When you’re not hitting the ball well or producing runs, it magnifies all the small little things along the way. Our pitchers did a great job today but our hitters need to step up and figure out a way to get the job done. We’ve got to come back tomorrow and win a baseball game.”
Ohio (15-15, 5-3 MAC) got on the board early in the first inning as Ethan Newton lead the inning with a single and advanced to second on a ground out. He stole third base and advanced home on a throwing error by the catcher to make the game 1-0. The Bobcats added another in the top of the fifth on an RBI single to increase their lead, 2-0.
In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the Huskies (8-22, 2-6 MAC) put their rally caps on as Troy White extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single through the left side to break up pitcher Jason Moulton’s no-hitter.
After hitting a deep fly ball in the second inning that got caught in the wind to the warning track in right centerfield, Michael Kane singled down the right field line to advance White to third.
Alex Beckmann continued Northern Illinois’ streak of hits with an RBI single through the right side and was promptly sent to second on a wild pitch that also advanced Kane to third, cutting the lead, 2-1. Brett Frantini made contact in the Huskies next at-bat that sent the ball on a rope to left field but was caught by Tyler Wells for the second out of the inning.
Moulton would load the bases on a walk when Jamison Wells stepped up to the plate and setup Alex Jones with the sacks juiced. Sean Kennedy entered as the Bobcats pitcher in an attempt to quell NIU’s tying effort and did so when Jones grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.
With pitch count well over 100, Hermsen continued to battle in the top of the seventh with one out. He loaded the bases and walked in an unearned run to lift Ohio 3-1, but got himself out of the jam by striking out the final two batters for his sixth and seventh punch outs of the game.
Hermsen finished the game with seven innings on the mound, eight hits allowed, seven strikeouts, four walks and two earned runs.
Alex Klonowski stepped onto the mound in the final two innings and picked up where Hemsen left off, by fanning two batters and not allowing a baserunner. He helped his own cause in the ninth with a leadoff single through the left side and went to second as Beckmann drew a walk. Neither Huskie would advance any further however as the Bobcats ended the NIU rally to take the ball game, 3-1.
Northern Illinois and Ohio will close their series tomorrow afternoon for an Easter Sunday showdown, beginning at 1:05 p.m. Tony Manville (1-4) will start on the bump for the Huskies.
For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.