ATHENS, Ohio – A five inning pitchers dual gave way to a Northern Illinois (16-21, 11-4 MAC) slugfest as the Huskies combined for 11 hits in the last four innings against Ohio (9-27, 5-10 MAC) to defeat the Bobcats, 10-3. Pitcher Alex Klonowski picked up his fourth win of the season with seven shutout innings and seven strikeouts.
“It was a good ball game from our stand point, I thought Alex made some good adjustments after the first inning because they came out very aggressive on him. We turned a great double play to keep a zero up on the board. He pitched a whale of a game,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “He probably could’ve gone longer but we got some runs on the board and we wanted to get some guys some work on the mound. Offensively we had a good approach for most of the day, it was just a matter of us staying with it and not panicking.”
Both pitchers relied heavily on their defense in the game as the two teams put balls in play and the field did the rest. With the Bobcats threatening in the first inning, Cody Gaertner grounded to second baseman Tommy Hook on a hit-and-run situation. Hook quickly pulled the trigger to second base and rolled a 4-6-3 double play to clear the bases and save the scoring threat.
Through five, NIU and OU combined for five hits, two of which were recorded by Northern Illinois.
The Huskies doubled their money in the top of the sixth as Jamison Wells and Hook led the inning with singles, with Hook reaching on a bunt placed between the first and second baseman to pull the base coverage. Klonowski sacrificed the runners over a base for the first out of the inning, setting up Jeff Zimmerman’s full count two run double to right field.
Landon Tenhagen followed up with a single, and Micah McCulloch doubled down the left field line to score Zimmerman an give NIU a 3-0 lead.
The Huskies added another three runs in the top of the seventh inning as NIU recorded one hit and took advantage of two errors by the Bobcats. Wells and Hook both scored on miscues from the infield and McCulloch drove home Zimmerman on a sacrifice fly to right field to give Northern Illinois a 6-0 lead. NIU increased its lead 10-0 in the eighth with four runs on four hits and zero errors by the Bobcats.
Klonowski stepped off the mound after seven innings of work, scattering seven hits, walking one and striking out seven with zero runs allowed. Relief pitchers Ben Neumann, Zach Badgley combined for a scoreless eighth inning and gave way to Anthony Andres and Jon Savarise in the ninth to end the game, 10-3.
Zimmerman finished 2-for-4 with a double, three runs and three RBI in the game with Wells going 2-for-2 with three runs, a walk and two stolen base.
Northern Illinois will return to action Tuesday afternoon for a midweek affair at Northwestern, followed by a second midweek game at Iowa Wednesday evening.