DeKALB – Northern Illinois baseball drew even with Toledo in the bottom of the sixth inning, 3-3, to send the game to extra innings. But the Rockets drew first blood in the top of the 10th to clinch the victory, 4-3. Jordan Huffman and Jeff Zimmerman both finished 3-for-4 at the plate.
“We did a good job of battling to tie the game and send it to extra innings,” NIU skipper Ed Mathey said after the game. “Tony Manville had one of his best outings of the year for us on the mound and shut Toledo down late in the ball game with his pitch count up. We had our opportunities for the win and played alright defensively. That’s just how the game plays out sometimes.”
The Huskies (11-26, 5-10 MAC) entered the bottom of the fifth inning in a 3-0 hole and would cut the run deficit to two after a single by Zimmerman and a triple by Alex Beckmann, his third of the season and seventh of his career, to make it a 3-1 game.
On the mound, Tony Manville would only allow two hits in his final three innings of work and did not allow a run to keep NIU within arm’s reach of Toledo (20-20, 9-6 MAC). Manville totaled eight innings of work, hurling 112 pitches, striking out five batters, walking two and scattering five hits.
In the bottom of the sixth, Huffman singled to center field and scored after Troy White hit a ball to shallow right field, causing the second baseman and right fielder to trip over each other, score Huffman and send White to third. Zimmerman would score White on a single up the middle to knot the game, 3-3.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Northern Illinois loaded the bases with one out. The Huskies were unable to score and take advantage of the situation and force extra innings.
Toledo would score on a bunt down the third baseline to break the tie and make it a 4-3 game in favor of the Rockets. Huffman singled in the 10th inning but the lineup was unable to score him and gave NIU its second extra inning loss of the season.
Northern Illinois will return to the diamond Tuesday afternoon for a showdown with UW-Milwaukee, beginning at 3:05 p.m. at Ralph McKinzie Field.