Northern Illinois and Kent State met Saturday afternoon in a pitchers dual at Schoonover Field as both teams surrendered a mere six hits apiece.
The Golden Flashes would have the advantage after nine however and defeated the Huskies, 6-1. Taylor Nawrocki had a career-high seven strikeouts in the contest in seven innings pitched.
“Taylor Nawrocki came out again today and pitched another fine game for us,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “He had presence and control throughout the game, unfortunately he made one mistake on the mound and that proved to be the difference in the game. Offensively we weren’t able to provide him any support. We have a task at hand tomorrow and that’s to win a game.”
Kent State struck first blood, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning and added two more in the bottom of the third on a David Lyon home run. NIU then got on the board in the top of the fourth when Jordan Huffman singled to lead off and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Huffman would score from second after Jeff Zimmerman grounded to second base and reached base on a throwing error to cut the KSU lead to two runs, 3-1.
In the sixth inning, Nawrocki found himself in a bind with two runners on base following a single and walk and one out in the inning. With a play ensuing at the plate and Troy Summers at-bat, Lyon was called out for interference.
Summers then lined out to Alex Klonowski in right field to end the inning.
NIU would not get another runner on base until the eighth inning as Alex Beckmann singled to right field with two outs and advanced to third on a throwing error by the right fielder. The Huskies were unable to capitalize on the chance and stranded Beckmann at third. Kent State then scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to increase its lead, 6-1.
In the ninth with their backs against the wall, the Huskies got three singles to load the bases. Huffman and Alex Jones started it off with back-to-back hits and with two outs, Troy White got NIU’s final hit to load the bases for Jordan Rishavy who fouled out to end the game.
The Huskies (5-17, 0-2 MAC) will return to the diamond at noon Sunday, March 25, to close the series with Kent State (10-10, 2-0 MAC). Tony Manville is the anticipated starter for Northern Illinois on the mound.