RENO, Nev. – Northern Illinois put seven runners on base in the final two innings in the series opener against Nevada to mount a late rally at Peccole Park, but the Huskies fell to the Wolf Pack, 7-3.
NIU found itself in a 3-0 hole after two innings of play off of four hits and led by a Scott Kaplan’s triple in the third at-bat of the inning. Nevada pitcher Bradey Shipley started strong on the Huskies with three perfect innings, commanding the plate with a solid changeup and a 96-mile an hour fastball.
“He’s one of the better college pitchers I’ve seen my years, his fastball is good but his change up is what really makes him a great pitcher,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “What won’t show up in the box score is the fact that we were getting the barrel on the ball against him. If a couple of those balls get by the outfielders or fall in the gap, we get to their bullpen earlier like we did at the end of the game. We were one batter away from having the tying run on base in the ninth inning so I thought we mounted a good charge offensively.
“I was looking for more out of our seniors today on the mound. We needed to be more competitive. I was very proud of how our freshman competed today though. They came in and kept us in the ball game and didn’t give up any runs.”
Landon Tenhagen led the top of the fifth inning with a double down the right field line and quickly went to third on a wild pitch by Shipley. Tenhagen would capitalize on fielder’s choice RBI by Alex Klonowski to cut the Huskies deficit to 3-1 following the top of the fifth inning.
Trailing 7-1 in the eighth, Northern Illinois began to gain some momentum as it loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. Though they didn’t score in the inning, the Huskies gained some confidence at the plate and it showed in the final stanza with a rally.
Tenhagen came through again to lead off the ninth inning with a single and would advance to third on a fielder’ choice error by the shortstop with Joe Battaglia reaching first. Danny Seiton pinch ran for Battaglia and would eventually account for the Huskies second run of the inning.
Klonowski drove in his second run of the game with a single through the left side to score Tenhagen from third and advance Seiton to second. Brian Sisler would prove clutch as he recorded a single through the left side on a 3-2 pitch to score Seiton and keep the Huskies alive, 7-3.
Nate Ruzich would end the contest at the plate for Northern Illinois, after a trio of high and inside pitches were called for strikes to end the game.
Defensively, NIU did not commit a single error on the day and were only outhit by the Wolf Pack, 8-7, four of which were on Nevada’s winning pitcher Shipley. Shipley is a highly-touted Major League Baseball prospect in this June’s upcoming draft and was named the Alaska League’s top-prospect by Baseball America following his performance this summer.
Klonowski, Sisler and Tenhagen all recorded two hits in the game, with Klonowski leading in RBI, two. The freshmen pitchers once again combined for zero runs in 2.2 innings of work.
NIU will return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for a doubleheader with the Wolf Pack, beginning at 1 p.m. Central. Game two will begin approximately 30 minutes after game one.