Feb. 22, 2014
NIU-MSU Box Score
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Sophomores Tommy Hook (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) and Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview, Ill./St. Laurence) each recorded two hits for Northern Illinois (0-6) Saturday afternoon against Missouri State (4-1) but the Huskies were unable to string enough hits together as they fell, 12-0.
"Missouri State's pitched a heck of a game and we have to give him and his team credit," said Head Coach Ed Mathey, "anytime a pitcher records a complete game shutout, it's a special moment for a team because it means the defense was there behind him as well. That being said, we have to a better job of putting the ball where the defense isn't. We were able to get some guys on base but we weren't able to do it consistently and in succession to bring runs across the plate."
Mallder picked up today where he left off last night, when he finished 3-for-6 with three RBI and a double in NIU's doubleheader, including a 2-for-2 performance in the ninth inning against the Bears. With Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wis./Madison Area) earning a leadoff walk in the second inning, Mallder singled to centerfield to push Tenhagen to third base, however, a double play two batters later ended the inning for NIU who were trailing 3-0 at that point. Mallder later singled in the seventh inning.
Hook, batting second in the Northern Illinois lineup, singled to right centerfield in his first at-bat of the game, but once again a double play ended the Huskies chances of stringing together hits to score the first run of the game. The Lockport Township product recorded his second hit in the sixth inning with two outs on him, but was thrown out on a fielder's choice in the following at-bat.
In the series, Mallder is now hitting .556 (5-for-9) with a run, a double and three RBI to lead the Northern Illinois lineup while Hook is right behind Mallder, batting 4-for-13 for a clip of .308 with one run scored.
Senior Joe Battaglia (Westchester, Ill./St. Joseph) was the other Huskie to record a hit in the contest as he reached base on a single through the right side in the fifth inning with two men down. Battaglia finished 1-for-3 at the plate.
Starting pitcher Jordan Ruckman (Kankakee, Ill./Herscher) threw a season-high 109 pitches, 59 for strikes, as he struck out three batters in 25 batters faced. Ruckman surrendered five earned runs in the affair as the Bears scattered five hits in 5.1 innings of work.
Of Missouri State's 14 hits in the game, 10 were for extra bases as the Bears had eight doubles, a triple and a home run. MSU pitcher Jon Harris tossed a complete game shutout, the longest outing of his career and his first career complete game shutout, striking out four on 94 pitches.
NIU will close the Fuddrucker's Lobo Invite tomorrow at 1 p.m. Central when they play New Mexico. Senior Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo./Kearney) will take the mound for the Huskies.