March 28, 2009
DeKalb, Ill. - Bowling Green starter Matt Malewitz was too much to handle for the Northern Illinois hitters as the Falcons (10-12, 1-4 Mid-American Conference) shutout the Huskies (10-14, 4-1 MAC) by a score of 8-0 on a cold, windy and rainy Saturday afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field.
Malewitz (2-1) earned the win by throwing the first 7.2 innings, giving up just three hits and two walks along with recording six strikeouts. Charles Wooten then finished the final 1.1 innings and gave up just a walk with one strikeout. Huskie senior starter Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) took the loss (2-2) after tying a career-high six innings pitched, surrendering three earned runs on six hits and five walks with three strikeouts.
"We just didn't get anything going offensively today," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "I thought that Nick Badgley threw the ball well enough to give us a chance. Obviously we had some trouble with pick-off throws and walks today that Bowling Green took advantage of. Then they spread it out with the four runs in the ninth on a five walks. It was not one of our best efforts today that's for certain. Bowling Green's pitchers did a nice job and really kept us off balance all day."
The Huskies had a good opportunity to score some runs in the second inning as senior Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) walked with one out and senior Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) followed with a double to right field to put two runners in scoring position. However, a mix up on signals caused a squeeze play to turn into an easy out as Behren broke for the plate, but sophomore Marvin Sanchez (Chicago, Ill./Clemente Academy) didn't lay down the bunt. Then with Minogue still on second, Sanchez struck out looking to end NIU's closest threat of the day.
"We shot ourselves in the foot with botched signals a couple times, especially on the one chance we had in the second," said Mathey. "It was a blown squeeze play, but it would have been nice to get the momentum with being the home team and scoring the first run on a day like today with the weather. We didn't get it done though."
The Falcons took the lead shortly after in the fourth by scoring a pair of runs. Logan Meisler and Dennis Vaughn started the frame with consecutive walks and then an errant pick-off throw to second by Badgley allowed the runners to move up a base each. After Jon Berti struck out looking, Mark Galvin singled up the middle to plate both runners. Galvin then stole second and advanced to third on Behren's throw that went into center. T.J. Blanton followed with an attempted squeeze bunt, but Badgley scooped the ball with his glove to Behren, who blocked the plate and made the tag. Behren then threw out Blanton on his attempted steal of second to end the inning.
Bowling Green then scored a run in the fifth on an RBI single to right by Tyler Elkins and another in the seventh on an RBI single through the right side by Patrick Martin.
Then in the ninth, the Falcons added four more runs to pad their lead as they took advantage of five walks in the inning. Elkins had a two-run single through the right side, while Vaughn and Berti each drew RBI walks with the bases loaded.
Elkins paced the Falcon offense with two hits and three RBI along with a run scored. Martin also added two hits along with an RBI and a run scored. Blanton scored two runs and had a pair of hits as well.
Junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) got a hit for the Huskeis to extend his career-long hitting streak to 19 games. Junior Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) and Minogue had NIU's only other hits.
The teams will finish the three-game series tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. CT as Huskie lefty Reynolds (0-1, 6.27, 18.2 IP, 5 BB, 13 SO) matches up with Falcon lefty Hangbers (0-1, 3.24, 8.1 IP, 2 BB, 5 SO). Fans can follow the game via GameTracker on www.niuhuskies.com.
- The last time NIU was shutout was on March 31, 2007 at Akron in a 5-0 loss.