March 7, 2014
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Playing its first ever game in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Illinois University (1-9-1) dropped its series opener at No. 5 Oregon State’s (11-3) Goss Stadium, 6-0. Huskie Eli Anderson tossed 6.0 innings, striking out five and walking one while Kevin Sweeney (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) one scoreless and hitless inning in relief.
“We didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the game but we need to do a better job of putting the ball in play and forcing Oregon State to make plays defensively,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “Ben Wetzler’s a good pitcher. He did a good job of holding runners on base with the command of his pitches. I didn’t think Eli was that bad in the game, we just had a couple of glitches defensively that forced him to make some tough pitches and once Oregon State got rolling, they did a good job of scoring runs.”
Oregon State’s Ben Wetzler, making only his second start of the season, pitched eight innings on the mound – striking out 12 and allowing only one hit to pick up his second win of the season.
Sophomore Justin Fletcher (Pekin, Ill./Illinois Central) led the game with a walk in the top of the first inning, putting NIU in prime position to start the game, however the Huskies were unable to bring Fletcher home as the Huskie was stranded at second base after groundout earlier in the inning. Classmate Tommy Hook (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) earned a walk in the second frame but was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the frame.
After the Beavers accounted for two runs in the bottom of the third inning on three-straight hits, senior Alex Klonowski
(Kearney, Mo./Kearney) responded with a one out double, but again another Huskie was stranded on base as Northern Illinois ended the inning on two-consecutive strikeouts.
OSU would account four runs in the next three innings, adding two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on Anderson. The Huskies first relief pitcher, Justin Ruckman (Kankakee, Ill./Herscher) allowed one run in the seventh inning, allowing one hit and walking one. Sweeney was nearly perfect on the mound for NIU, allowing only one baserunner as he worked inside on catcher Logan Ice, hitting the batter and giving first base.
Left fielder Alex Smith (Mahomet, Ill./Parkland College) ran down a fly ball down the left line and at the warning track to save a potential run and Ice advancing any further on the base path for the second out of the inning. Fletcher ended the stanza as he collected a groundball at second base to record the Beavs last out of the game. NIU was unable to collect any more bases in the ninth inning as Oregon State would take game one of the series, 6-0.
Anderson picked up his second loss of the season in the effort while scattering eight hits and allowing only one walk with five strikeouts. Klonowski finished 1-for-3 in the game with a double
The Huskies and No. 5 Beavers will pick up the series with a doubleheader tomorrow, starting at 2:35 p.m., Central.