March 21, 2009
DeKalb, Ill. - Once again, the Northern Illinois baseball team tallied 10 or more hits and scored two or more runs in the first inning en route to a 9-3 win over Buffalo (8-11, 0-2 MAC) in Mid-American Conference competition at Ralph McKinzie Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies (7-12, 2-0 MAC) have now reached double-digit hits in six consecutive games, 12 times overall, and scored at least two runs in the first inning in their fifth straight game. The two offensive streaks have helped NIU guarantee itself its fifth home opening series win it its last six series while improving to 14-0 all-time against the Bulls.
NIU scored seven runs in the first two innings to put the Bulls in a hole that they couldn't recover from. The Huskies started with a four-run first as freshman Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) led off the inning with a single through the right side. Then junior Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) executed a nice hit-and-run with a grounder through the right side, moving Beckmann to third for junior Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich), who drove both runners in with a triple to right-center field. Hood then scored after junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) hit a grounder to first base and the throw home was off line, allowing Reynolds to get to second. A batter later, senior Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) singled to center to score Reynolds.
"If you look at that first inning, Beckmann, Buonavolanto and Behren all got two-strike hits, which is good," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "Dave Reynolds didn't do a whole lot with the ball, but kept it in play and we capitalized on a missed throw."
After Buffalo answered with a two-run homerun by Shivam Bhan in the top of the second, the Huskies, similar to yesterday's game, came right back in the bottom half with three more runs. Freshman Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) led off with a single and then stole second. With one out, Buonavolanto singled to center to score Jones and moved to second on the throw home. Hood followed with a double down the left field line to score Buonavolanto and then Reynolds singled through the right side to score Hood.
"In the second inning, we scored some runs with two outs and took some extra bases on some throws which is good, aggressive baseball," Mathey said. "We hope to continue to do that. Right now we feel pretty good, but I hope we remember this feeling even when it's not going so well because you have to play this game with confidence."
Behren drove in NIU's final two runs with a two-out walk with the bases loaded in the fourth and a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Huskie starter Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) earned his second win (2-1) in a row and tied a career-high with six innings pitched in which he did so in his last outing. Badgley gave up two earned runs on eight hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Freshman Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) and sophomores Zach Oates (Wheaton, Ill./North) and Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) each threw an inning to finish the game for NIU, respectively, combining to give up just two hits and a walk with Zelasko recording two strikeouts. Jeffrey Hains (0-1) took the loss after lasting only 1.2 innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits with one strikeout.
"Nick is a veteran pitcher and he goes out there with composure and a plan," said Mathey. "He's been pretty good and the nice thing about these first two games is that we've had our starters go pretty deep. We aren't using up the bullpen as much as we had before and we can match strengths with our bullpen and really use matchups better.
"Kyle Glancy came out and threw well. Zach Oates did too, and it was nice to see him do better after a couple rough outings. Then Tom Zelasko threw the ball very well in the ninth inning there."
Beckmann and Jones led the NIU offense with three hits and a run scored apiece. Behren, who went 1-for-3, and Hood, who went 2-for-3, each drove in three runs while Buonavolanto had two hits along with four runs scored. Hood also scored two runs and Reynolds scored a run as well while adding a hit and an RBI.
Chris Ciesla led the Bulls with three hits and Brad Cochrane went 2-for-2. Bhan's homer accounted for his lone hit and run scored along with his two RBI.
The teams wrap up the three game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT as NIU lefty Reynolds (0-1, 7.43 ERA, 13.1 IP, 3 BB, 11 SO) takes on Buffalo righty Pierre Miville-Deschenes (2-1, 5.85 ERA, 20 IP, 12 BB, 24 SO). Live stats via GameTracker will be available on www.niuhuskies.com.
- Joe Buonavolanto has a career-high five-game hitting streak and has had multiple hits in four of the five games.
- Alex Jones has a six-game hitting streak and tied a season-high with three hits today.
- Dave Reynolds has a career-best 15-game hitting streak, tied for the longest since last year when Behm and Hood each had the same streak.
- Jordin Hood has a 14-game hitting streak and has had multiple RBI in three of his last four games.
- Matt Behren has an eight-game hitting streak.
- NIU has had a player record multiple hits in every game, led by Jordin Hood's 10.