Hurling eight innings and only surrendering two hits, Taylor Nawrocki led the Huskies to a 1-0 victory over Eastern Michigan.
Nawrocki struckout seven and walked only two in his second combined shutout of 2012. It was the first time this season the Eagles had been shutout.
Defense was the name of the game as both teams made difficult plays look routine throughout much of the game. Jamison Wells started the trend in the bottom of the first with an extended glove, snow cone catch with the base runner rounding second to save a run and at least a double for the first out of the inning.
“It was great college baseball, one of the throwbacks. Both teams were tied zero in the ninth and both pitchers were outstanding and threw a lot of strikes,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “I can’t say enough about the way Taylor’s performance though. He commanded the zone and had a presence on the mound. We had two things in place today: Our pitching and our defense and when you have that you always have a chance to win a game.”
The two teams were caught in a pitchers dual as Nawrocki and Eastern Michigan pitcher Neil Butara combined for three hits through seven innings and five total in the ball game. Butara pitched all nine innings for the Eagles, allowing three hits and walking and striking out four batters in 105 pitches thrown in the loss.
Nawrocki was the star as he only allowed two hits in the game, surrendering singles in the first and eighth innings, and fanned seven. Of his 121 pitches thrown, Nawrocki hurled 78 for strike (64.5 percent) and evened his season record to 4-4.
With defense at a premium through eight the Huskies forced the first errors of the ball game and scored the game’s lone run. With Alex Jones full count walk to lead the inning, Troy White sacrificed Jones over to second for the first out of the inning.
With two outs, Alex Klonowski stepped up to the plate and grounded to third baseman Ben Magsig, who checked Jones running to third and hurried the ball low.
With the first baseman unable to collect the scoop and sailing the ball high in the air, Klonowski reached first and Jones rounded third and slid head first into home plate to avoid the tag give Northern Illinois a 1-0 lead.
Kyle Glancy entered in the bottom of the ninth for the Huskies to attempt his ninth save of the season. After collecting a grounder for the first out of the inning, Glancy forced a deep flyout to right field where Alex Beckmann caught the ball in the sun for the second out.
The stoic Glancy struckout the final batter and showed some flair in celebration as he secured his ninth save of 2012 and gave the Huskies their sixth MAC win of the season.
Northern Illinois returns to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for another showdown against Eastern Michigan. Jake Hermsen (3-4) will take the mound for NIU with first pitch slated for 2 p.m.