IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Northern Illinois baseball team (16-22) outhit Iowa in a midweek affair, 6-4, but the Hawkeyes would prevail in the end, 3-2. Both teams committed one error in the game with both of them leading to runs scored in the game. Freshman Tommy Hook finished 2-for-3 in the game with a triple, two runs and a walk. NIU’s pitching staff combined for eight walks in the effort.
“Generally when you give up eight walks in a game, you give up a lot more than eight runs. We had a lot of energy and we had some opportunities, it was just one of those games that we had in control and not to take away anything from Iowa but they took advantage of their opportunities.”
The Huskies battled with spirit in the first three innings, led by senior Jacob Goldenberg on the mound. Goldenberg allowed five runners on base through two innings but methodically pitched to Iowa, forcing the Hawkeyes to swing and allowing the Huskie defense to make outs.
Northern Illinois made strides in the game as it did not surrender a run through three innings. Through five midweek games, the Huskies had surrendered at least one run through the first third of the game.
A leadoff single by Hook got things rolling for NIU in the top of the fourth. The freshman nearly went to third on a bunt by Alex Klonowski but an interference call forced Hook to stay at first. A Jeff Zimmerman hit-and-run groundout forced Hook to second and a two-out double by Micah McCulloch scored the freshman to make it a 1-0 game.
Iowa knotted things up in the bottom half of the inning as Jake Mangler hit a fly ball to right centerfield in range of Jamison Wells, who made the catch and threw home to attempt to throw out a tagging Taylor Kaufman but the throw sailed wide of the plate to tie it up 1-1.
Goldenberg would earn the no decision after three innings of work, surrendering one hit, one earned run, one strikeout and five walks in the effort. The senior forced five groundouts in his outing, including a double play in the first inning.
The Huskies responded in the sixth inning as Hook again reached base, this time on a walk. After advancing on an errant throw back to first, the Lockport native again scored from second on a single by Klonowski to right centerfield to make it, 2-1 NIU.
Northern Illinois would rely on proverbial Johnny Wholestaff as Kevin Sweeney, Jon Savarise, Justin Ruckman, Bobby Kuntzendorf, Zach Badgley.
Ruckman stepped on in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second and worked smoothly to only advance the runners to second and third and earn two outs. An error in the infield allowed both runners to score and give Iowa a 3-2 lead.
In the eighth inning, who else but Hook tripled to put NIU in scoring position with one out. The Huskies would load the bases with two outs on back-to-back walks but were unable to capitalize in the stanza.
NIU will return to action Friday when it hosts Miami (Ohio) in a three-game, Mid-American Conference series at Ralph McKinzie Field. The Huskies lead the MAC with their 11-4 record with Buffalo while the Redhawks sit tied for third with Kent State at 9-6.