March 20, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois (5-16) scored six runs in the second inning and added two more in the fourth inning to topple Illinois-Chicago (5-12), 8-6, in the Huskies 2012 home-opener. Sophomore Eli Anderson earned his first career win on the mound in his second career start for NIU.
"Scoring six runs in the second inning was huge for us, it was a huge momentum swing," said Head Coach Ed Mathey. "We kept our foot on the throttle throughout that inning and the next couple, which for me as a coach, was good to see. It was good to get a home win in early, especially after being on the road for so long."
The Huskies batted around the order and then some in the second inning as NIU scored six runs on four hits, two walks and one error. Junior Jordan Huffman doubled and kicked in three runs with the bases loaded hit to put the Huskies up 5-0 at that point in the inning. Alex Jones hit one of his two doubles in the game in the second to give Northern Illinois its sixth and final run of the inning.
Jamison Wells, who reached base in every appearance at the plate and was 3-for-4, crossed home for the second time in the game on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Zimmerman.
"(Jamison) is a table setter for us," said Mathey. "When he's going out and getting on base, things tend to happen for us. The guys behind tend to see more fast balls, opposing pitchers are more distracted by what he's doing on base, but our hitters do a good job of taking advantage of those situations." Jones scored from third following a single by Alex Klonowski to put NIU up, 8-1.
Northern Illinois would surrender two runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to decrease their lead to three runs, 8-5. Anderson surrendered the games first three runs. He finished with five innings on the bump, three hits, four strikeouts and two walks.
Ben Echeverry and Ben Neuman pitched the sixth inning for the Huskies, with Etcheverry giving up two hits and two runs in the inning. Zach Badgley struck out two runners in the seventh inning and Klonowski followed in the eighth with two strikeouts as well.
All told, the NIU bullpen combined for four innings, three hits, three runs, seven walks and five strikeouts.
Senior Kyle Glancy entered in the ninth inning and found himself in a pick on the mound hitting his first batter and walking three more in the inning to allow UIC's final run to cross. But the pitcher proved why he was a NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch Lister as he got NIU out of the jam to earn his fourth save of the season.
The Huskies were an outstanding 13-for-33 (.393) at the plate, led by Wells' (3-for-4) and Troy White's three hit day's. White was a perfect 3-for-3, highlighted by a clean bunt down the third base line in the second inning. Jones totaled two doubles in the game to bring his season total to nine.
NIU will open its Mid-American Conference season this weekend, traveling to defending MAC champion Kent State. The three-game series will begin Friday March 23 and conclude Sunday March 25. The Golden Flashes will be returning from a four day trip out West Wednesday, having met Pepperdine and beginning its series against Fresno State Tuesday evening.