The Northern Illinois baseball team combined for 10 hits and four stolen bases against Winthrop, but the Huskies efforts were not enough as they fell to the Eagles, 14-7.
Senior Brett Frantini (Minooka, Ill.) went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI with one double.
“I talked to the guys after the game and I told them we have to get better in our starting pitching,” said head coach Ed Mathey after the game. “Baseball is a game of momentum, and we had a golden opportunity in the first to score some runs and our guys got a little anxious at the plate. Winthrop carried that momentum and ran with it to score four runs the following inning.”
After a scoreless first inning for both teams that found junior Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) stranded on third base following a single, a stolen base and a balk by the pitcher, the Eagles scored four runs in the top of the second inning.
NIU would cut WU’s lead in half with two runs when senior Troy White (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) kick started the bottom of the second inning with a leadoff triple and would score on an Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill.) fielder’s choice to the shortstop. After a stolen base by Beckmann, the Batavia, Ill. native would pass home plate on a Frantini single up the middle.
Winthrop would go on to score seven unanswered runs and carried an 11-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Sophomore Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J Andrew) led off that inning with a double and was followed with a walk by Michael Kane (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame College Prep). Frantini came up again for the Huskies, this time with a two RBI double to close the deficit to seven runs, 11-4.
Northern Illinois added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh as Wells walked and stole second base and was driven home on an Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo.) single. White doubled to drive in the Huskies second run and pinch hitter Chris Divarco (Long Grove, Ill./Carmel Catholic) hit a sacrifice fly for NIU’s final run the of the ballgame.
From the bullpen, pitchers Ben Etcheverry (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region), Zach Badgley (McHenry, Ill.) and Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) combined for 4.1 innings, one hit, zero runs and only two base runners from the mound. Etcheverry pitched the fourth and fifth innings.
Mathey said he was pleased with his teams fight, but added that the team had to get better. “Our boys got a lot of fight in them and they’ve play hard throughout our games. But we have to limit the runs and not dig ourselves out of a hole and it all starts on the mound.”
Northern Illinois (0-8) will return to the diamond tomorrow evening to face No. 11 Arizona State. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. Central time at Surprise Stadium, spring training home of the two-time defending American League Champion Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals.
For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.