Sophomore Justin Fletcher (Pekin, Ill./Illinois Central) finished 2-for-3 at the plate Sunday afternoon in Northern Illinois’ (1-12-1) series finale at No. 5 Oregon State (14-3), but the Huskies were unable to score any runs in the contest as they fell to Beavers, 10-0.
“We got what we deserved with the way we pitched today,” said head coach Ed Mathey.“You can’t give up that many walks and expect to not give up runs. Obviously the free bases extended the lead but any good team, especially one as talented as Oregon State, is going to create separation when you give them opportunities like that.”
Relief pitchers Ben Neumann (Verona, Wis./Verona Area) and Kevin Sweeney (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) combined for five scoreless innings on the mound for NIU. Neumann took over for starting pitcher Matt Williams (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), inheriting two runners and allowing one run in the frame that was charged to Williams. Neumann would not give up a run in the next three innings of work as OSU held a 4-0 advantage.
All told, Neummann pitched 4.0 innings on the mound and scattered two hits while striking out three and walking three. The Verona, Wis., native was one inning shy of hurling his career high as he tossed five innings in relief during his freshman year versus Ball State on May 17, 2012.
Sweeney took over in the bottom of the seventh inning and only allowed one walk in the frame as he did not allow hit in his inning of work.
Huskies Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo./Kearney) and Carl Russell (Grayslake, Ill./Grayslake North) finished 1-for-4 at the plate in the contest with Russell stranding three runners on base in the top of the second inning as Fletcher singled, Micah McCulloch (Rochelle, Ill./Rochelle) was hit by pitch and Connor Schomig (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) walked to load the bases in the frame.
Fletcher, batting seventh in the Northern Illinois lineup, finished 2-for-3 at the plate with hits in the second and seventh innings.
NIU will continue its Spring Break trip when it heads to Central California to take on No. 13 Cal Poly. The three game series will begin Tuesday, March 11. First pitch is set for 8 p.m. Central.