Feb. 20, 2009
Starkville, Miss. - The Northern Illinois baseball team was victimized by early runs for the second time today as a six-run first inning by Mississippi State (1-0) propelled the Bulldogs to an 8-1 win over the Huskies (0-2) on Friday night at Duby Noble Field in the BankFirst Baseball Challenge.
Similar to NIU's first game against North Florida, the Huskies gave up runs early, resulting in too much of a deficit to recover from as the Bulldogs plated six runs in the first inning. In the first frame, NIU freshman starter Chris Wakefield (Canton, Ga./Cherokee) issued a lead-off walk to Ryan Collins then struck out Jason Nappi before Luke Adkins singled up the middle. With Connor Powers at the plate, Collins and Adkins executed a double-steal to put two runners in scoring position, and Powers delivered with a two-run double to right-center. Jet Butler followed with a single to right to score Powers. Scott DeLoach reached on another walk which was followed by an RBI double down the left field line by Jarrod Parks. Then Wakefield hit Mark Goforth with a pitch and walked Ryan Powers to bring in another run. The sixth run of the inning was scored on a sacrifice fly by Collins that got NIU out of the inning as Goforth left second base too early.
"Chris Wakefield went out there and competed," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "They capitalized in the first inning, but then he settled down after that and gave us a good shot to win. He did a nice job overall, especially if you take away the first. He battled through it which was good to see."
Wakefield (0-1) took the loss after giving up six earned runs on six hits with six walks and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings. After the first inning, Wakefield regrouped to hold the Bulldogs scoreless for 4.1 innings.
Forrest Moore (1-0) earned the win for MSU after relieving starter Ricky Bowen in the fifth inning. Moore pitched three innings and gave up only one hit with five strikeouts. In Bowen's four innings of work, he gave up one earned run on three hits with eight strikeouts.
The Huskies got their only tally from a solo homerun to right-center by junior Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) in the third inning off Bowen. Hood also added two singles to go 3-for-3 and up his hit total to five on the day as he had a pair of singles earlier against North Florida.
"Jordin Hood is seeing the ball well right now," said Mathey. "He has a nice swing and did some good things today. However, we have to get other people to hit around him. If we had everyone hitting like him today, we probably would have two wins right now."
The Huskies had an opportunity in the fourth inning after seniors Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) and Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) started the frame with two walks, but Behren got caught too far off second base and MSU catcher DeLoach whipped a quick throw to second, resulting in Behren being tagged out in a run-down. Sophomore Marvin Sanchez (Chicago, Ill./Clemente Academy) then flew out before freshman Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) walked to load the bases, but senior Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) went down on strikes.
Junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) came into the game in a tough situation as he entered in the bottom of the sixth with bases loaded and two outs, but he struck out Nappi, escaping the jam. Then Reynolds struck out a pair of hitters in a scoreless seventh to complete his 1.2 innings of scoreless work.
NIU responded in the seventh by loading the bases with two outs after Sanchez and Hood were each hit by a pitch sandwiched between another Beckmann walk. However, senior Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) struck out to end the threat.
"Offensively, we have some work to do," Mathey said. "We are striking out too much, but we had quite a few opportunities to score. We just couldn't get the hits we were looking for in those situations."
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the eight behind an RBI single from Ryan Powers and an RBI fielder's choice from Collins.
Butler led MSU with a pair of hits while Collins, Ryan Powers and Collin Powers each had two RBI.
The Huskies resume play tomorrow with another game against Mississippi State at 4 p.m. CT. Fans can watch the game live for free by clicking here.
- Freshman Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) made his first collegiate appearance by starting at second base and drew three walks along with picking up his first hit.
- Jordin Hood reached base seven times in NIU's two games today, going 5-for-6 with a homerun, four singles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
- Freshman Troy White (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) made his first appearance in a Huskie uniform by pinch-hitting in the ninth.