April 11, 2009
Akron, Ohio - With the game tied 11-11 in the bottom of the eighth, Akron rallied for three runs, two of them coming off a homerun by Brandon White, to defeat Northern Illinois 14-11 in a game that featured 30 hits and 25 runs with only one error by the Huskies on Saturday afternoon at Lee R. Jackson Field in a Mid-American Conference competition.
The Zips (8-23, 5-6 MAC) tallied five runs in the first inning with help from a three-run homer by Ryan Frazee and added another in the second on a Haas solo homerun after NIU (11-20, 4-6 MAC) scored a pair in the top of the second on back-to-back homers by Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) and Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg).
With Akron up 6-2, the Huskies stormed back to take an 8-6 lead by scoring six unanswered runs. They got two in the third on a double by Reynolds. NIU then scored four in the fourth after an RBI single by Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) and a three-run double by Behm.
The Zips came right back in the fifth with five runs to take the lead once again, 11-8. Jake Plata started the scoring with an RBI double, while John Turk, Phil Bednar and White all had RBI singles and Kevin Haas had an RBI ground out.
The Huskies then rallied back to tie it 11-11 with three more unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh frames. Hood had an RBI double and Matt Behren (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) had an RBI ground out in the sixth. NIU scored in the seventh on an RBI ground out by Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) to knot the game before the Zips countered in the eighth.
NIU threatened in the ninth as Behm led off with an infield single and one out later Joe Etcheverry (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) singled to right to bring the tying run to the plate in pinch-hitter Nick Morreale(Vernon Hills, Ill./Mesa AZ C.C.), but he struck out swinging. Buonavolanto then ended the game with a fielder's choice ground out to shortstop to give Chris Bassitt the one-inning save (2) with one strikeout despite giving up two hits.
Akron reliever Andrew Brown (1-3) was credited with the win even though he gave up three earned runs on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts in four innings. Akron starter Frank Turocy lasted four innings, surrendering eight earned runs on nine hits and three walks with three strikeouts. NIU reliever Zach Oates (Wheaton, Ill./North) took the loss (0-3) after pitching a career-high tying three innings, but failed to get an out in the eighth as Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) came in to get out of the inning, giving up just one hit. Oates gave up three earned runs on four hits and recorded two strikeouts. Huskie starter Reynolds gave up 11 earned runs in four innings as he allowed 12 hits and a walk with one strikeout.
"Offensively, I though we came out with a good approach and got ourselves in position to win the game," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "Our offense did a good job with that.
"However, two five-run innings are tough to overcome in any baseball game and proved to be the fact today. We had three non-plays in that first one that didn't help out Dave Reynolds at all on the mound. We got back in to it though. Their fifth inning started out with our only walk of the day, but again we came back and got ourselves tied. We just couldn't get out of that eighth inning."
White led the Akron offense with a 4-for-5 performance, two runs and three RBI along with a homer. Haas went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI, while Matt Roberts had three hits as well and scored two runs. Brian Kordal added two hits, two runs and two RBI. Turk had a hit, a run and an RBI. Frazee drove in three runs, notched a hit and scored two runs.
The Huskie offense was led by Behm, who went 3-for-4 with four RBI, two walks and a run scored, while hitting his 21st career homer to move him into a tie for sixth place on the all-time NIU list with MAC hits leader Scott Simon (2003-07) and Jeff Sevenich (1977-80).
"Justin is swinging the bat better now and it's nice to see," Mathey said. "He's a returning first team all-conference player and he seems to be settling in so we hope he can continue to perform."
Reynolds also had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a homer, a run scored and three RBI. Hood went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Behren had a hit, a run and an RBI as did Buonavolanto. Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) scored two runs, walked and had a hit. Etcheverry, Troy White (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) and Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) each had a hit and a run scored.
The Huskies and Zips wrap up the series tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT with both starters yet to be announced. The game can be tracked with live stats on www.gozips.com.
- Hood has a seven-game hitting streak in which he homered in four consecutive games.
- The Huskies have scored 10 or more runs six times.
- NIU has totaled 10 or more hits on 17 occasions.
- The Huskies have tallied 10 or more runs and hits in a game six times.
- NIU has had a player get multiple hits in all but three games, led by Hood's 15.
- The last time two Huskies homered back-to-back was on April 3, 2007 when Danny Reed (2007-08) and Hood did so against Illinois State in the seventh in DeKalb, Ill.