March 25, 2008
Box Score in PDF Format
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois battled back from an early 5-0 deficit and belted out a season-best four home runs in an 11-6 victory over Bradley in game two of a Tuesday doubleheader at Ralph McKinzie Field. Dan Atkenson (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) earned his first career victory and Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) hit his first two career home runs to lead the Huskies (8-11).
Bradley struck for five runs before an out was recorded in the top of the first inning before NIU answered with a five-run first of its own.
After bunt singles by Bobby Stevens (Chicago, Ill./Guerin Prep) and Jeff Thomas (Loves Park, Ill./Harlem), Danny Reed (Lindstrom, Minn./North Iowa Area CC) belted a three-run home run, extended his career-best hitting streak to 17 games in the process, to put the Huskies on the scoreboard. Two batters later, Buonavolanto delivered his first collegiate homer and knotted the game at five.
NIU took the lead in the second on a RBI single by Thomas before the Braves again tied the game at six in the top of the third.
From there it was all Huskies as the home team put up a run in the third on Buonavolanto's single round-tripper of the game and three in the fourth on a Stevens double and a two-run blast from Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg).
Up 10-6, NIU added an insurance run in the sixth when Stevens scored from third on a balk.
Atkenson (1-0) mowed down the Bradley hitters in long relief, working a career-high 7.0 innings while fanning a career-best eight hitters. Along the way, the senior righthander yielded just five hits, one earned run and one walk.
Northern Illinois will play Wednesday at Iowa in a 3 p.m. contest that can be heard locally on WBLK-AM (1360) and worldwide on NIUHuskies.com.
-Northern Illinois' four home runs was its highest single-game total since four on April 25, 2006 vs. UIC.
-The Huskies recorded their 10th consecutive game with a stolen base and their ninth multi-steal game of the season.
-Dan Atkenson's 7.0 innings and eight strikeouts surpassed his previous career-highs of 4.1 innings and five strikeouts.
-Pat Minogue owns a .438 average (7-for-16) in five career games against Bradley.
-NIU has a 23-7 record (767) against Division I state opposition over the past three seasons and is 21-14 (.600) against Missouri Valley Conference teams since 2003.