The NIU Huskies (15-32-1, 9-12 MAC) had its opportunities to take the series at Kent State (30-17, 14-7 MAC) but the Golden Flashes plated five runs in the bottom of the second to take the series with an 8-2 victory.
“I thought we had a great approach to start the game in terms of how to handle Kent State’s pitcher,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “We executed a few things and got some guys on base but what hurt us today was execution of the fundamentals and the lack of making plays. If we execute the bunts we tried to lay down, we score in each of the first two innings and that doesn’t give them the momentum they gained by making those plays.”
The Huskies had no problems getting hits in the first two innings of the game as it recorded two in each inning, including leadoff singles by Tommy Hook (Lockport, Illinois/Lockport Township) and Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview, Illinois/St. Laurence). However, Northern Illinois could not bring the runs across as it had three runners in scoring position.
In the bottom of the frame, the Golden Flashes accounted for five runs to take a 5-0 lead, three of which occurred after an errant throw to first base that would’ve ended the inning.
The NIU defense and Klonowski held the Golden Flashes scoreless for three-straight innings and cut the KSU lead to four runs in the sixth as the Huskies plated one run, 5-1. Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Missouri/Kearney), who stepped off the mound after five innings of work, led off the frame with a single through the right side.
After a one out walk by Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wisconsin/Madison Area TC), the Huskies had two runners on base for Fletcher, who blooped a single just inside the left field line to drive home Klonowski from second base to put NIU on the board.
The Golden Flashes would score two more runs in the bottom of the sixth and one more in the seventh to take an 8-1 lead. NIU scored one more in the top of the eighth as it loaded the bases on two walks by Klonowski and Tenhagen, and a single by Sisler. Fletcher would score Klonowski from third as he grounded to the shortstop to make it an 8-2 ballgame.
The Huskies will return to action Friday, May 9, to host Akron for Senior Weekend.