Pitcher Jake Hermsen (New London, Wis.) went the distance for Northern Illinois, pitching a career-high nine innings and 11 strikeouts against Central Michigan but the Huskies fell to the Chippewas, 3-1.
“Jake was dealing out there on the mound today. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the first inning and that was the difference in the game,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “When Jake is on, he is on, and he proved that today. Credit to Central Michigan for taking advantage of their opportunities in the spots that were given to them.”
The Chips rattled off three hits in the top of the first inning and squeaked off two runs on a Sam Russell double to give CMU its 2-0 lead, which was held for the next five innings.
In the second and third innings NIU left three runners on base, including two in the third. With a full count, Alex Jones (Kansas City Kan./Piper) popped out to the third baseman in foul territory, highlighted by a sliding catch in warning track gravel.
In the fourth inning with the bases loaded, Hermsen got out of a bases loaded jam by striking out Tyler Hall and forcing Jordan Dean to ground into a 5-2-3 double play. Troy White (Chicago/Whitney Young) fielded the ball and threw the runner out at home and Joe Battaglia (Westchester, Ill./St. Joseph) threw back to first to throw Dean out in time to end the threat.
Battaglia lead the bottom of the fifth with a single to left centerfield and advanced to second on a Jordan Rishavy (Rochester, Minn./John Marshall) sacrifice bunt. After groundout pushed Battaglia to third, Jordan Huffman (Sergaent Bluff, Iowa) scored the NIU catcher for the Huskies lone run of the contest. CMU answered in the top of the sixth with a solo homerun by Reid Rooney to increase its lead, 3-1.
With his pitch count high down the stretch, Hermsen did not falter as he struck out three batters in the final two innings, catching Tyler Hall looking in the ninth for his 11th strikeout of the game. Hermsen now owns a 3-6 record on the bump for NIU. CMU’s Patrick Kaminska improved to 4-2.
Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo.) finished the afternoon 3-for-4 at the No. 7 batting spot.
Hermsen finished the game with six hits surrendered and three earned runs in the contest. Hermsen was the last Northern Illinois pitcher to strikeout at least 10 batters, doing so on April 21, 2010 versus Iowa.
Northern Illinois (14-32, 7-12 MAC) will close its series with Central Michigan Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. Tony Manville will take the mound for the Huskies.