Northern Illinois baseball took on Illinois in game one of its doubleheader at Southern Illinois’ Abe Martin Field. In a 7-0 deficit, the Huskies rallied back in the eighth and ninth inning but fell to the Illini, 7-2.
Northern Illinois left eight runners on base against Illinois, totaling all of them from the fourth inning to the ninth. The Fighting Illini (9-6) scored a run in the first tilt, two in the fifth and four more in the seventh inning.
The Huskies struck back in the eighth inning, starting with a single by Jordan Huffman (Sergaent Bluff, Iowa). Following the single, senior Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) tripled to score Huffman from first. The triple by Jones set the Northern Illinois record for career three-baggers at 12, surpassing Tom Wittum’s (1969-72) and Jeff Sevenich’s (1977-80) mark of 11.
Sophomore Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J Andrew) drove home Jones when he singled up the middle to notch his seventh RBI of the season. Huffman finished the game 2-for-4 with one run scored.
In the ninth inning Northern Illinois continued to battle, and with two outs, continued its charge. Senior Brett Frantini (Minooka, Ill.) singled to right center field and found himself on second base following a walk by Jordan Rishavy (Rochester, Minn./John Marshall).
The duo advanced one base each after relief pitcher Drasen Johnson threw a wild pitch, putting the runners within striking distance of closing the gap to three runs. Senior Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) struck out to end the game, 7-2.
On the mound for the Huskies, senior Tony Manville (New Lenox, Ill./Mount Carmel) hurled 6.2 innings and did not surrender a walk against the 29 batters he faced. Junior Zach Badgley (McHenry, Ill.) finished the game on the hill, totaling 2.1 innings, two strikeouts, two hits and two walks.
The Huskies fell to 2-16 with the loss to Illinois and will play the Illini again Sunday morning at Rent One Park, home of the Frontier League’s Southern Illinois Miners, in Marion Ill. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.
For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.