April 10, 2009
Akron, Ohio - Fourteen combined runs in the second and third innings catapulted Akron past Northern Illinois 14-10 on Friday afternoon at Lee R. Jackson Field in the first game of a three-game Mid-American Conference series as the Zips (7-23, 4-6 MAC) tallied 13 of their 16 hits in those two frames to overcome the Huskies' (11-19, 4-5 MAC) early 4-0 lead.
"Our pitchers were falling behind everyone and if they didn't walk them, they got hits," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "They were hitting the ball well in those two innings."
In those two big innings, which accounted for Akron's only runs for the entire game, the Zips got a two-run double and two-run single from Brett Savage, while Brian Kordal added an RBI sacrifice fly and a two-run single. Jake Plata tallied a two-run single. Brandon White and Phil Bednar each had RBI singles, while Kevin Haas had an RBI walk and John Turk had an RBI fielder's choice.
Akron starter Tom Farmer (2-5) was credited with the win despite allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks in 6.1 innings with three strikeouts as the Zips chased NIU starter Chuck Lukanen (Lombard, Ill./North Iowa Area C.C.), who took the loss (3-5), after just 1.2 innings in which he gave up four earned runs on eight hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Akron then tagged Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) for six earned runs on six hits and one walk along with a strikeout in 1.1 innings before Chris Wakefield (Canton, Ga./Cherokee) shutdown the Zips in his best outing of the season as he threw five scoreless innings, surrendering just three hits, while striking out a pair of batters.
"Chris has been battling some things with injuries," said Mathey. "We wanted him to go just a few innings and he ended up going five which was great. It was good to see him out there throwing well and hopefully he can continue that."
NIU scored a run in the first inning on Jordin Hood's (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) solo homerun to left-centerfield that gave him his fourth consecutive game with a homer. The Huskies then got three more runs in the second to go up 4-0 behind a two-run double by Joe Etcheverry (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) and a sacrifice fly by Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) before the Zips erupted for 14 runs in their next two at-bats.
"You're feeling pretty good, scoring a run in the first and a few more in the second while doing some goods things on the field," Mathey said. "Then the momentum shifted in the bottom of the second and pretty soon they were off to the races. It was unfortunate because they scored all their runs in those two innings and we scored 10 runs, but lost."
The Huskies scored another run in the third on a sacrifice fly by Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) and got three more in the fifth on a sacrifice fly foul out by Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) along with two more RBI by Reynolds on a homer to right-center.
NIU then added its final two runs in the eighth to mark the fifth time this season that the Huskies have totaled 10 or more runs. The first run came off a single by Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South), while the second came on Behren's grounder that was turned for a double play.
The Akron offense was led by Savage, who had a 2-for-5 day with two runs and four RBI. Plata went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, while Matt Roberts went 2-for-5 with two runs. Kordal had a hit, a run and three RBI. Turk and Bednar each had two hits, a run and an RBI. White also had two hits along with two runs and an RBI.
Reynolds and Etcheverry paced the Huskie offense. Reynolds went 2-for-6, hitting his second homer of the season, tied a season-high with three RBI along with a walk and two runs, while Etcheverry went 3-for-4 with a run, a walk and two RBI. Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) also had three hits, tying his season-high, in four at-bats with a walk and two runs. Hood had three hits, one that marked his sixth homer of the year, and two runs along with a walk and an RBI. Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) added two hits as well along with a run. Buonavolanto scored two runs, had a hit and an RBI along with a walk.
"I thought our guys swung the bats well and had a pretty good approach at the plate all day long," Mathey said. "We missed on a couple chances that could have helped us do the improbable, but we battled consistently all game."
The teams play again tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT as NIU LHP Reynolds (0-2, 6.85, 23.2 IP, 42 H, 6 BB, 17 SO) faces Akron RHP Frank Turocy (2-4, 8.59, 36.2 IP, 57 H, 17 BB, 21 SO). The series finale is schedule for Sunday at noon with both starters yet to be announced. Both games can be followed on www.gozips.com via live stats.
- NIU has had a player get multiple hits in all but three games this year.
- The Huskies have reached the 10-hit plateau 17 times.
- With another first inning run, NIU has now scored at least a run in the first frame on 13 occasions in 2009 and have done so in their last two games.
- Hood has a six-game hitting streak.