Huskies close gap to one run but fall 7-5
Delayed by rain for a half hour and in frigid weather, Northern Illinois baseball fell to Eastern Michigan, 7-5, to even the series at 1-1.
Huskie Alex Jones finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI, a double and a run.
“We hit pretty well and we did enough to win the game in that category I believe. It really came down to pitching today and four of Eastern Michigan’s runs came via walk and when you do that it puts you in a tough spot.”
Northern Illinois wasted little time to score as Jordan Huffman singled on a full count and advanced to second on a wild pitch with Jones at the plate. With the count full, Jones singled down the right field line to score Huffman and give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles appeared to be on pace to match the Huskies with a run when Brent Ohrman walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch to Sam Ott, who lined a ball to Jones on a hit and run recorded an unassisted double play.
In the third inning, Wells had an infield single and stole his 22nd base of the season and was driven home on a double to the right centerfield gap to increase NIU’s lead, 2-0.
Jake Hermsen pitched well for five innings of the game, where he finished with seven strikeouts, four of which occurred in the first two innings. Hermsen finished the contest with seven hits and five runs surrendered.
Threatening in the fifth inning as well, EMU recorded two hits, first by Lee Longo and the second by Adam Dennison. Longo advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and on a shallow single to right field by Dennison, Longo decided to push it and advance home but Beckmann made an outstanding throw to catcher Brett Frantini at home plate and recorded the Huskies final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles took the lead when they scored five runs on four hits, five walks to go ahead, 5-2. Hermsen did not finish the inning and was relieved by Zach Badgley who finished without surrendering a run. EMU would add runs in the seventh and eighth but its lead was not secure.
The Huskies made a comeback effort in the eighth inning when they scored three runs and were within one run at the time, 6-5. Pinch-hitter Connor Duckhorn leadoff the inning with a single to right field and was driven in by Jones .
Huffman, who reached base on error, would score on a single by Troy White (Chicago/Whitney Young) and when he stole second base and forced a throwing error by the catcher, Jones advanced home for the Huskies third run of the inning. White went to third on the error and was 90-feet away from tying the game but was unable to advance to tie the game.
Northern Illinois will close the series Sunday with the Eagles as Tony Manville (1-6) takes the mound for the Huskies. First pitch is slated for noon CT.
For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.