NORMAL, Ill. – Within one run after the first third of the ball game at Illinois State and despite outhitting the Redbirds (15-15), the Northern Illinois baseball team (11-19) fell at ISU, 9-3. The Huskies outhit the Redbirds in the ballgame, 9-8.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game today,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey, “I was happy with the hits that we had but that was not our best ball game. We came in to the game with some momentum after our last series on the road but we need to get back to work tomorrow. We need to figure out why this happened and ask they guys how to fix it and get back to where we were.”
A leadoff single by Jeff Zimmerman in the top of the second started things off for Northern Illinois as the Huskie went on to second on a wild pitch and over to third on a soft-chopper to the left side of the infield by Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wis./Madison Area TC). With two outs, Joe Battaglia drove in NIU’s first run of the game as he roped a ball to left field to trot Zimmerman home, 1-0
Following a walk and single by ISU in the bottom of the 2nd, an error at third base on a fielder’s choice turned sacrifice bunt evened the game, 1-1. Momentum hung with the Redbirds for the rest of the inning as they gained a 4-1 lead over the Huskies.
In the third inning, back-to-back singles by Danny Seiton and Jamison Wells opened the door for Alex Klonowski who drove home Seiton from second base to cut the deficit in half, 4-2. A fielder’s choice RBI by Tenhgan followed and brought it back to within one run, 4-3. The Huskies held the Redbirds scoreless in the bottom frame.
NIU was 90 feet away from a 4-4 game in the fourth as Connor Duckhorn was stranded at innings end, after reaching base on an error at second and advancing to third on another error by the four-man.
The Redbirds increased their lead in the fourth inning with three runs in the stanza on a walk, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly, 7-3.
After starting pitcher Bobby Kuntzendorf was relieved after 4.1 innings, the Huskies’ bullpen posted zeroes on the scoreboard in three-of-four innings of work. Kuntzendorf surrendered five hits with two walks, one strikeout and five earned runs.
Zach Badgley came on in the fifth and finished with 1.2 innings on the mound, surrendering two hits with one walk. Jon Savarise and Kevin Sweeney tag teamed the seventh, with Sweeney getting the last out of the inning on a fielder’s choice to third base. The staff ended ISU third baseman’s Zac Johnson’s 10-game hitting streak in the game.
Illinois State tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth where it closed the game with a 9-3 lead.
Battaglia, Klonowski and Zimmerman all finished 2-for-4 at the plate with Battaglia and Klonowski driving in a run each. Both Klonowski and Zimmerman extended their hitting streaks to eight games, which set a new personal-best for Klonowski.
The Huskies will return to the diamond Friday afternoon when they start a three-game series with Western Michigan to continue Mid-American Conference play. First pitch Friday is set for 3:05 p.m.