Huskies Sweep Buffalo, Win 7-0 Behind Gonzales' Gem

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April 3, 2011

Final Stats

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Northern Illinois 7, Buffalo 0
 McGraw-Jennings Field | St. Bonaventure, N.Y.
 
1 2 3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
NIU
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
3
1
7
9
0
UB 0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
1

W: Gonzales (3-4)  L: Copping (1-3)
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Attendance:
 Player of the Game

Jeremy Gonzales
8.0 IP
0 ER
4 H
4 BB
5 SO

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· Head Coach Ed Mathey

 

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Last time Jeremy Gonzales took the bump for Northern Illinois he was hoping to salvage the last game of the Bowling Green series, and he did just that with seven scoreless innings. Seven days later the tables turned, as Gonzales was looking to give the Huskies (10-14, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) their first series sweep, and he did just that with eight shutout innings in a 7-0 win against Buffalo on Sunday afternoon at St. Bonaventure's McGraw-Jennings Field.

The senior's last two starts have been under completely different circumstances but have yielded very similar results, as Gonzales (3-4) has earned wins in three of his last four starts. If it weren't for a rocky start on Mar. 20 against St. Louis (four earned runs in 2.1 innings), the senior would have four straight scoreless starts. Thus, his ERA during his winning stretch is a minimal 1.54 as he has allowed just four earned runs on 15 hits and 15 walks with 17 strikeouts in his last 23.1 innings, holding opponents to just two extra base hits (two doubles) and a .185 batting average.

"[Gonzales] was solid today when we needed him to be," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey of Gonzales, who allowed four hits and four walks with five strikeouts against the Bulls (7-18, 0-6 MAC). "Their starter was doing a nice job against us, but Gonzo was up to the task. He dug in during the fourth inning. He did a great job today. He just ran out of juice to finish the game. Buffalo is the type of team that makes you work and throw a lot of pitches."

In the fourth inning, Gonzales gave up a leadoff single to Tom Murphy, who stole second and third between a strikeout of Eric Bryce. With the first run of the game for either team threatening to score just 90 feet away, Gonzales hunkered down, striking out Jordan Camp and getting Michael Burke to groundout to third. Along with a first inning opportunity, the fourth inning situation was just the second scoring chance the Bulls had before the NIU offense woke up for Gonzales.

After Gonzales retired the Bulls in order in the fifth, Cory Krupp led off the sixth with a walk and moved to second on an Alex Jones sacrifice bunt. An out later, Troy White delivered one of his two RBI singles on the day to warm up the Huskie offense.

With the wheels turning, NIU closed the game by scoring two more in the seventh, three in the eighth and one in the ninth. The first three runs came at the expense of UB starter Cameron Copping, who fell to 1-3 after surrendering just one earned run on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 6.2 frames.

With Alex Beckmann on third after leading off the seventh with a single, Jamison Wells reached on a two-out fielding error by first baseman Alex Baldock on a sharp grounder, which allowed Beckmann to score. Further capitalizing on the miscue, Krupp followed with an RBI single through the left side to put NIU ahead 3-0.

"Putting the ball in play with two strikes was a huge play by Jamison; and he used his speed to beat it out and then stole second," said Mathey. "Krupp's RBI single was big for us, too. Those insurance runs were nice and Gonzo putting up a zero right after was huge."

The Huskies doubled their advantage in the eighth as Joe Etcheverry started it with a double down the right field line and Jeff Zimmerman launched a ball over the right field fence, his team-leading third homer of the year. After Beckmann was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a single by Brian Riegler, Tom Kotis grounded out to second to bring Beckmann home and push the lead to 6-0.

"Those were big two-strike hits by Joe Etcheverry and Jeff Zimmerman," Mathey said. "We are starting to grind out games and believe and see good results. Those are big positives for our team."

Adding to the positives, looking at the weekend as a whole, the Huskies accomplished two impressive feats. One, they swept a road doubleheader, which has been done only two times since 2008. Two, they swept a road MAC series for the second time under Mathey's guidance. Making a 0-10 start to the season a distant memory, the Huskies have gone 10-4 over their last 14 games. Even more important has been how the wins have come, according to Mathey.

"It's about getting wins along the way; when you go out on the road very rarely do you go 3-0," said Mathey. "This series kind of counteracts when we didn't' defend our home turf [last weekend]. I was happy with how we grinded out the game; we were grinders. I was really happy with the way we won the game, not just the win. It was definitely different than how we won yesterday. Hopefully this gives us a little boost for the week ahead."

Riding their second winning streak of the season, the Huskies return home for two midweek games before hosting a three-game MAC series versus Miami (Ohio) next weekend. NIU will face intrastate rivals Illinois State on Tuesday, April 5, at 3:05 p.m. CT and Bradley on Wednesday, April 6, at 3:35 p.m.

-NIU-