March 1, 2009
Tempe, Ariz. - In its last game in the DeMarini Invitational at Packard Stadium the Northern Illinois baseball team fell to Oregon State 2-1 on Sunday afternoon after failing to take advantage of a bases loaded opportunity in the ninth inning with the game on the line as the Beavers improved to 4-2 and the Huskies dropped to 2-6 on the year.
Down 2-1 in their last at-bat, the Huskies threatened by loading the bases, but could not push the tying or go-ahead run across. Junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) began the inning with a single to center then seniors Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) and Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) followed with strikeouts. Sophomore Joe Etcheverry (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) and freshman Troy White (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) then walked to load the bases for freshman Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper), but he struck out looking to end the game.
"Alex Jones did a great job at short stop today and earned that at-bat, unfortunately it didn't go our way," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "We did a nice job in the inning and if he gets that hit, we score two runs and go into the bottom of the ninth looking to close out a win. You can only ask to get into that situation at the end of a game with the tying and go-ahead runs aboard. I was proud of our guys' efforts to do that. We came ready to play in an early start and it was good to see."
In the first match up between the two teams, they combined for 30 runs on 31 hits, but combined for just three runs on eight hits in this game as Jorge Reyes (2-0) got the win, junior Chuck Lukanen (Lombard, Ill./North Iowa Area C.C.) took the loss (0-2) and Kevin Rhoderick earned his second save. Reyes pitched five innings for the Beaver, giving up just one earned run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lukanen lasted 4.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
For the third game in a row, the NIU bullpen held its opponent scoreless by going the final 3.2 innings. Senior Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.), Freshman Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) and sophomore Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) combined to surrender just one hit and two walks along with recording three strikeouts. Badgley carried a bulk of the load by going 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and a walk along with getting two strikeouts.
"It was a great college baseball game today," said Mathey. "Chuck Lukanen did a great job on the mound. He battled in the fourth inning as I can take some of the blame for leaving him in to stretch his pitch count, but he did a nice job. Nick Badgley then came in and did a great job of shutting down that inning. I was real proud of our pitchers and defense today."
At the plate, Reynolds led all batters with two hits, marking his third straight game with multiple hits. Junior Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) and Behren had NIU's other two hits with Behren recording the only Huskie RBI of the game. Joey Wong, Adalberto Santos, John Wallace and Carter Bell each had a hit for OSU. Santos and Bell also had an RBI apiece.
After a scoreless first three innings by both teams, NIU took a 1-0 lead in the fourth as Hood led off with a double down the right field line and scored on a two out double to left field by Behren.
OSU responded an inning later by scoring two runs in the fifth on four free passes and just one hit. Blake Gibbs was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second base on Wallace's sacrifice bunt. Bell followed with an RBI double down the left field line. Then consecutive walks to John Tommasini, Wong and Santos forced Bell home from third. Badgley came in to relieve Lukanen and got NIU out of the jam by getting Ryan Ortiz to ground back to the mound for a fielder's choice force out at home and Stefen Romero to fly out to center.
The Huskies travel to Carbondale, Ill. next weekend to face in-state rival Southern Illinois (2-6) in a three game series, starting on Friday, March 6 at 2 p.m. CT. The two teams then play on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
- Chuck Lukanen leads NIU with 11 strikeouts in nine innings pitched.
- Over the last three games, the Huskie bullpen has gone 9.2 innings without allowing a run. During that stretch, the bullpen has given up four hits and three walks while striking out five batters.
- Alex Jones stole his first base of his career by taking second in the third inning.
- The Huskies have had at least one player get multiple hits in all eight games this season.
- During his current three-game multi-hit streak, Dave Reynolds has gone 7-for-11 with all of his hits being singles. Overall, he is hitting .355 on the year.