NIU Baseball Splits Doubleheader With Bradley

GO HUSKIES Sam Kapacinskas achieved career-highs with two hits and an RBI in his first start of the year.
Sam Kapacinskas achieved career-highs with two hits and an RBI in his first start of the year.

March 25, 2009

Game One Final Stats

Game Two Final Stats

Game One Final Box Get Acrobat Reader

Game Two Final Box Get Acrobat Reader

Peoria, Ill. - After losing the first game of a doubleheader with Bradley 3-2, the Northern Illinois baseball team earned a split by taking game two 5-1 behind another strong performance from some young arms as the Huskies (9-13, 3-0 Mid-American Conference) combined to give up just six hits in two games to the Braves (6-12, 0-3 Missouri Valley Conference) on Wednesday evening at O'Brien Field.

"The pitching was fine today with both Kyle Glancy and Tom Barry coming out and doing exactly what we wanted them to do," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey of the Huskies, who lost game one despite getting six hits and giving up only three, but NIU issued five walks while the Braves gave no free passes. "They gave us a chance to win and I'm very proud of both of them.

"We had a couple walks that hurt us in the sixth inning of the first game, but our two starters went out and threw well though. You have a really good chance to win when your starters give up just six hits over nearly 13 innings. We just didn't take advantage of a couple situations in game one, but did so in game two."

In the first game, the Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead after scoring a pair of runs in the third inning. Bradley starter Jacob Booden hit the first two batters of the frame to put sophomore Marvin Sanchez (Chicago, Ill./Clemente Academy) and freshman Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) on base, respectively. Then a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance which allowed junior Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) to move the runners again with an RBI sacrifice fly to center field. After junior Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) struck out, Beckmann scored on a wild pitch with junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) at-bat. Reynolds followed with a double to right, but senior Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) grounded out to third base to end the inning.

The Braves quickly responded in the bottom half of the third as a one-out triple to right-center field by Tommy Fitzgerald set up Rob Elliot's RBI sacrifice fly to left.

Bradley tied the game in the next inning as Nick Mitidiero was hit by freshman Kyle Glancy's (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) pitch and then stole second before Glancy struck out Adam Kimble. Then with two outs, Kevin Sullivan doubled down the right field line to score Mitidiero.

Sophomore Zach Oates (Wheaton, Ill./North) came in for Glancy to start the sixth and ran into trouble with one out as he gave up a single to Mitidiero. On the next play, Mitidiero stole second and advanced to third as freshman catcher Brett Frantini's (Minooka, Ill./Minooka) throw was off-line. Oates followed by striking out Kimble, but then walked Colby Luttrell and Sullivan. Sophomore Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) then relieved Oates, but threw a wild pitch that allowed Mitidiero to score what proved to be the winning run. Zelasko recovered by striking out pinch-hitter Phil Kaiser to end the threat.

Booden (1-2) earned the win by going 6.1 innings while surrendering two earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts. In his first start as a Huskie, Glancy took a tough loss (0-1), giving up just two earned runs on only two hits and three walks while posting season-highs with three strikeouts and five innings pitched.

Fitzgerald, Mitidiero and Sullivan recorded Bradley's only three hits while Mitidiero scored two runs and Sullivan drew a pair of walks. Reynolds led the NIU offense with his second three-hit game of the season (3-for-3) which included two doubles. Freshman Troy White (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) had a pair of hits and Hood also added a hit while Buonavolanto had NIU's lone RBI.

In the second game, the Huskies once again started out with a 2-0 lead after plating two runs in the third inning. Junior Sam Kapacinskas (DeBary, Fla./St. Johns River C.C.) led off with a single to left and was replaced at first by senior Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central), who reached on a fielder's choice grounder to second. Freshman Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) followed with a single to move Minogue to second. After Buonavolanto popped out to second, Hood came through with a clutch two-out single through the left side to score Minogue and move Jones to third. After Behm walked to load the bases, sophomore Joe Etcheverry (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) was hit by Tyler Thornton's pitch to score Jones. Senior Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) then hit ended the inning with a grounder to third.

"When we got the third inning runs in game one, Bradley came back and got some momentum back," Mathey said. "In the second game, we didn't let that happen. Barry did a good job in the bottom of the third and then we got three in the fifth to keep the momentum."

NIU added three more runs in the fifth to go up 5-0 as Kaiser entered the game to replace Thornton on the mound and was welcomed with back-to-back singles from Hood and Behm, creating a first and third situation for Etcheverry, who flew out to center for a sacrifice RBI. After Badgley's ground out to Kaiser moved Behm to second with two outs, junior Nick Morreale (Vernon Hills, Ill./Mesa AZ C.C.) walked. Kapacinskas and Minogue then followed with a pair of RBI singles up the middle before Jones struck out to end the frame.

The Braves scored their lone run in the sixth inning after a Fitzgerald double set up Grant Escue's RBI sacrifice fly to center.

Bradley threatened in the seventh, but was shut down by Zelasko. Kimble started the inning with a double down the left field line. After a foul out by Luttrell, Mike McMillan single to right-center to move Kimble to third. Freshman Zach Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) replaced NIU freshman starter Tom Barry (Orland Park, Ill./Providence Catholic), but walked Jim Clayton. Zelasko then came in with the bases loaded and induced Matt Fritz into a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch to end the game that was turned by Jones and Buonavolanto.

"Zelasko was in there at the end of game one, but didn't come out with good fortune," said Mathey. "He threw the ball well today. He came in with the bases loaded in the second game, and sure enough, got us a ground ball on the first pitch to get us the win on the double play."

In his first start in an NIU uniform, Barry (1-0) collected his first collegiate win by throwing a season-high 6.1 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks with a season-best three strikeouts. Zelasko's double play gave him his first career save. Thornton (1-2) was handed the loss after giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk with a strikeout in four innings.

Hood paced the Huskie offense with three hits, a run scored and a run driven in. Jones, who scored a run, and Kapacinskas, who drove in a run, each had two hits. Etcheverry tallied two RBI and a hit while Behm and Minogue, who drove in a run, each had a hit and a run scored.

"Sam has always been prepared," Mathey said of Kapacinskas, who in his first start of the season, recorded a career-high two hits and drove in his first collegiate run. "He just happens to be behind two really good catchers. He was ready and played with enthusiasm and confidence. He did a really nice job."

For the Braves, Fitzgerald, Kimble and McMillan recorded their only three hits and Escue got credit for their only RBI.

The Huskies return home to Ralph McKinzie Field to face Bowling Green (7-11, 1-2 MAC) in a three game series that starts on Friday at 3:05 p.m. CT. The teams will then play at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Fans can follow the series live via GameTracker on


Huskie Notes

- Dave Reynolds has a career-long 17-game hitting streak.

- Jordin Hood now has a career-best 17-game hitting streak.

- NIU has had a player record multiple hits in every game, led by Hood's 12.

- Troy White registered his seventh multi-hit game of the season in game one.

- By getting the last out of game one and the last two outs of game two, Tom Zelasko has not given up and earned run in his last four appearances that span 3 innings in which he has given up two hits and a walk along with four strikeouts.

- The Huskies are 49-23 against Illinois opponents since head coach Ed Mathey took over in 2003.



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