Down 5-0 after six innings, the Northern Illinois bullpen combined for three hitless and scoreless innings against Toledo, with the offense assembling a rally in the ninth, but the Huskies fell to the Rockets, 5-1.
“We didn’t stop battling in the game and we were one batter away from tying the game and that’s your job when you’re behind,” said head coach Ed Mathey.
“Our bullpen gave us a chance at the end of the game and that’s all we can ask from them. If you post zeroes on the scoreboard, you have to hope the offense starts hitting. We were hoping for a better result today but we’ll have to come out tomorrow and get it done then.”
Through the first eight innings of the game, the Huskies accounted for four hits, half of which were collected by first baseman Jeff Zimmerman who was 2-for-3 at the plate with one walk as well.
Starting pitcher Jake Hermsen hurled six innings for the Huskies with three strikeouts and surrendered five of the Rockets runs. The NIU bullpen began its work at the start of the seventh inning, two of which were handled by Eli Anderson who struck out one in his appearance. Ben Neumann hurled 0.2 innings and Zach Badgley got the last out of the inning to finish for the Huskies.
The bullpen faced 11 batters, surrendering only two walks and did not allow a single hit in their three innings to post three goose eggs on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Jordan Huffman lined a ball to left field and reached second after the outfielder stumbled and dropped the ball. Following a walk by Zimmerman, Alex Klonowski singled to right center to load the bases and push the Rockets against the proverbial wall.
Alex Beckmann flied out to right field and sacrificed to score Huffman and break the shutout. Northern Illinois was unable to score anymore runs in the inning and ended the contest, 5-1. The run continued the Huskies streak of 49-straight games without being shutout.
NIU will close its series against Toledo tomorrow afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field with the first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m.