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Rockets’ late rally foils Huskie baseball lead

April 20, 2012
Taylor Nawrocki

Taylor Nawrocki

Scattering nine hits and playing errorless baseball defensively, the Northern Illinois baseball squad fell to Toledo on a chilly and frigid Friday afternoon, 7-3.

“Taylor Nawrocki did a nice job on the mound for us and he got up in the pitch count a bit, but he was throwing it pretty good,” said head coach Ed Mathey.

“Toledo’s pitcher did a good job and we had some opportunities to add on to our lead but we didn’t and that’s what a Friday pitcher in the MAC can do to you,” Mathey added. “We have to keep the ball game closer at the end of the game. We made some mistakes. It’s game one in the series; but we’ll be back tomorrow to get it done.”

The Huskies and the Rockets traded blows in the first two innings, as each squad scored a run and were level, 2-2, after two innings. In the third, NIU took the lead on a Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) double past the third baseman and down the left field line to put the Huskies up, 3-2.

Troy White (Chicago/Whitney Young) hit his second triple of the season to score Northern Illinois’ first run of the game in the opening stanza and freshman Micah McCulloch (Rochelle, Ill.) hit a hard liner down the right field line in the second to drive in Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo.) from second.

From the bump, Nawrocki (Fairmont, Minn./Granada-Huntley-East Chain) pitched 7.1 innings and did a good job in the middle of the ball game to limit his pitch count and retire the Rockets side 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth. He finished with four strikeouts, two walks and four runs.

Northern Illinois combined for five extra base hits, including White’s triple in the first inning. Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) popped off his 15 double of the season and his fourth in the last four games during the third tilt.

The Huskies will return to the diamond Saturday against UT. The first pitch is being delayed to 1:15 p.m. for the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Dr. Ken Chessick, the main benefactor for the Huskies indoor practice facility which br\eaks ground Saturday afternoon.

For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit