NIU Baseball Falls To North Florida In Season Opener, 6-3
Feb. 20, 2009
Starkville, Miss. - The Northern Illinois baseball team dropped its first game of the 2009 season as the Huskies (0-1) fell to the North Florida Ospreys (1-0) by a score of 6-3 on Friday afternoon at the BankFirst Baseball Challenge at Duby Noble Field on the campus of Mississippi State.
Allowing UNF to have back-to-back two-run innings in the second and third frames proved to be too much for the Huskies to overcome despite taking a 1-0 first inning lead behind three consecutive singles from junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg), junior Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) and senior Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North). With the bases loaded, senior Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) drove in Reynolds on a fielder's choice ground out to second.
The rally for the Ospreys in the second inning began with one out when Ryan Puskar drew a walk from NIU senior starter Brandon Copp (Aurora, Ill./West). UNF followed with three straight singles two score a pair of runs with Andrew Hannon and David Eldredge each getting credit for driving in a run.
In the third inning, the Huskies knotted the game at two by taking advantage of a lead-off walk by senior Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central). A Reynolds ground out to third advanced Minogue to second and then an infield single from Hood put Minogue on third. Behm then drove in Minogue with a ground out to shortstop.
UNF one-upped the Huskies by plating two runs and capitalizing on an NIU error. Hale started the frame with a single and then with one out, Puskar was hit by an errant Copp pitch. Consecutive fielder's choice groundouts left runners on second and third with two outs and an opportunity for NIU to escape unharmed. However, Eldredge drove in two more runs with a single up the middle.
"We let too many lead-off guys reach and gave away too many free passes on walks and hit batters," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "We also had a couple errors. You can't do that in baseball and it just something we will have to work through as we get in the swing of things."
The Ospreys added another run in the fourth on an RBI fielder's choice from T.J. Thompson in which Reynolds' throw home wasn't in time. Copp would later get out of a bases-loaded jam to end the inning and got through 5.1 innings before being replace by sophomore Zach Oates (Wheaton, Ill./North). Copp's (0-1) took the loss with a final line that consisted of three earned runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Eldredge drove in his fourth run of the day in the seventh with a double off Oates before the Huskies put another tally on the board with a ninth-inning RBI single up the middle by senior Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) that scored Behren.
Ty Pryor (1-0) got credit for the win after lasting five innings giving up two earned runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Badgley and Hood had two hits apiece for the Huskies while Behm, Behren and Reynolds each had one hit. Behm, Behren and Badgley registered one RBI apiece, allowing Reynolds, Minogue and Behren to score, respectively. Behren and Hood also each stole a base.
"Jordin Hood swung the bat well and had a stolen base," Mathey said. "We did ok with the bats and had chances to score more runs, but we also struck out too much. It's just a matter of getting out there more and working through things at this point."
The Huskie bullpen fulfilled 2.2 innings of work allowing only an earned run. Oates pitched an inning, giving up one earned run on two hits while sophomore Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) worked an inning, allowing only a walk. Freshman Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) made his NIU debut on the mound, pitching two-thirds of an inning with a walk and a strikeout.
The Huskies face tourney host Mississippi State in the Bulldogs' season opener later today at 5 p.m. CT. Huskie fans can watch the game for free via a live four-camera video stream on MSU's website by clicking here.
-Freshman Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) made his first collegiate appearance by starting at second base.
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