DeKALB – On an immaculate sunny and breezy day at Ralph McKinzie Field, the Huskies closed the 2012 season against Ball State. Though NIU rallied back to within one run in the bottom of the fourth, 3-2, the Cardinals took the game 6-2.
“We had a couple opportunities but we like to talk about momentum in games and their pitcher struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runners on that really had them feeling good,” NIU coach Ed Mathey said. “It was an unfortunate finish to a season that we wish had gone a lot different.”
Ball State loaded the bases in the first inning but Huskie starter Tony Manville forced T.J. Weir to pop out to centerfield and end the inning. BSU went up 3-0 in the top of the second inning and racked up four hits to take the lead.
Northern Illinois battled back in the fourth inning, started with a bunt single by Alex Klonowski and a pinch-hit by Jordan Huffman through the right side and advanced to second when the right fielder attempted to throw out Klonowski at third base.
Brett Frantini then drove in both runners when the third baseman made an errant throw to first base to bring the Huskies to within one run, 3-2. Following a single by Alex Beckman and a walk by Troy White in the bottom of the fifth, the Huskies were unable to score any runs, leading Ball State to tack on two runs in the sixth.
The Cardinals added another run in the top of the eighth and remained the leaders, defeating the Huskies, 6-2.
Prior to Saturday’s game, NIU honored the 1972 NCAA Regional qualifying baseball team for the 40th anniversary of their accomplishment. Senior Day festivities also took place before the game, where seniors Tom Barry, Beckmann, Frantini, Kyle Glancy, Jake Hermsen, Alex Jones, Manville and White were presented with framed jerseys for their contributions to the program.
Mathey added — “this senior class is a quality group of kids. They’ve done the right stuff, in terms of the classroom and they’ve done some right things with the way they’ve gone out and competed. They’re as frustrated with the finish to the season as anybody is, but they did some great things for this program and they’re going to do well in life. I’m proud they chose Northern Illinois and that we got the chance to coach them.”
Northern Illinois closes the season 15-40 overall and 7-20 in the Mid-American Conference.