Huskies Rally for 5-4 Win at Ohio with Four-Run Seventh

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April 15, 2011

Final Stats

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Northern Illinois 5, Ohio 4
Bob Wren Stadium | Athens, Ohio
 
1 2 3
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9
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NIU
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1
0 0
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OU
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W: Oates (3-5)  L: Streich (0-5)  S: Glancy (8)
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Attendance: 429
 Player of the Game

Brett Frantini
2-for-4 (.500)
3 RBI
1 R
1 HR

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· Head Coach Ed Mathey

 

ATHENS, Ohio - With four runs in the seventh inning, Northern Illinois broke open a pitching duel for a 5-4 win in the first of a three-game Mid-American Conference series against Ohio on Friday afternoon at Bob Wren Stadium.

Trailing 2-1, NIU (16-16, 7-3 MAC) ended a four-inning scoreless drought by both teams with the big seventh inning, scoring all four runs with two outs. Brett Frantini started the scoring with a two-run blast to left-center, plating Jeff Zimmerman after a one-out single. Tom Kotis kept the rally alive with a single through the right side and both Jamison Wells and Cory Krupp drew walks to load the bases for Alex Jones. After Matt Robin entered for OU's starter Seth Streich, Jones singled to short stop Black, who went to his knees to stop the ball in the right side gap but threw wide to second base, allowing two runs to score and giving a comfortable 5-2 advantage to starter Zach Oates, who put up his sixth straight zero in the seventh to keep momentum on NIU's side.

"Frantini had a good at-bat; he was down in the count early, fouled off a pitch, held his swing on a tough 2-2 pitch, and then got all of the 3-2 pitch," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "He hit that ball a ton. It was great to see a two-out RBI. Immediately after, we kept the pressure on with Kotis' hit and the two walks. The hit by Jones was big because it turned out that we needed all of those runs."

Entering the day with a 14-0 record when leading after eighth innings, the game was looking academic for the Huskies, until the Bobcats (15-19, 2-8 MAC) made things interesting in the final two frames.

With two outs in the eighth, Ethan Newton singled and Bryan Barnes drove him home with a double off Oates, ending a streak of seven straight batters retired by the senior hurler. The Huskies then went to closer Kyle Glancy, who entered the game a perfect 7-for-7 in save chances. The right-hander easily ended the threat with a looking strikeout of Jensen Painter, but the ninth was not quite as simple.

After starting the final frame with a single and double, Ohio had the go ahead run at the plate in Streich and Glancy starting to feel pressure. The junior bent but did not break, getting a swinging strikeout before intentionally walking Trace Voshell to load the bases. Glancy then got ahead, 0-2, on Garrett Black and induced an RBI groundout to short stop Jones, which ended Glancy's 11.1-inning scoreless streak. Up 0-1 in the count against Adam Gecewich, Glancy snagged a rocket-of-a-liner right back at him to hang on for his eighth consecutive save.

"That strikeout in the eighth was huge to preserve our lead at the time," Mathey said. "Kyle made some great pitches to get a strikeout again in the ninth. Unfortunately, he walked the next guy. He got a nice roll-over groundout that Jones made a nice play on charging in. And I'll tell you what, Glancy made one heck of a play to end this game. That last hitter smashed a line drive up the middle. I thought it was by Kyle but he stuck his glove out and caught it over his right shoulder."

Glancy's gutsy effort sealed a well-deserved win for Oates, who posted his eighth straight start of six innings pitched or better. The tall righty's only real blemish on the afternoon was a first inning two-run homer to Jensen Painter. Otherwise, he scattered seven hits and one walk with one strikeout as he allowed three runs in 7.2 innings and improved to 3-5 on the season.

"Zach left a pitch up in that first inning, but from there on he was outstanding," Mathey said. "He kept us in the game by pitching to contact today. The big thing that he had going for him was that from the second inning on he was doing well against their leadoff hitters. He did a real good job for us in the sixth inning, when he didn't let them extend the lead. I thought he was going to have a chance to finish it but the top of the lineup started to get to him in the eighth."

The victory gives NIU its fifth straight win, third in a row in MAC play and eighth straight on the road, as the Huskies moved to .500 overall on the season for the first time since May 10, 2008, after sweeping a doubleheader at Ball State.

"Winning on the road is a great thing," Mathey said. "We are pitching and playing defense. If that continues, we will continue to have positive results. Getting the first game of the series is great because you get that leg up. But like I told our guys last week: one game does not a series make. We still have to go out and play the way we have been playing and do the right things to win this series."

With their best start (7-3) to a MAC season since 2007, the triumph also moves the Huskies within two wins of matching Mathey's best run during his NIU tenure. Over their last 22 games, the Huskies have gone 16-6. During a 24-game stretch from March 14 to April 19 in 2003, Mathey led NIU to an 18-6 mark.

Frantini led the way for the NIU offense, going 2-for-4 with a two-out RBI single in the second inning and his first home run of the season in the seventh. His three RBI were a season high as he extended his hitting streak to five games.

An interesting side note to the game, the outsourced charter bus that NIU rode to Ohio broke down just outside of Dayton, Ohio, last night around 11 p.m., leaving the Huskies scrambling on the side of the road to wait for another bus to come. It wasn't until 4 a.m. that another bus finally arrived, which put the Huskies' arrival time to their hotel at 6:15 a.m., just enough time to catch breakfast and get some sleep a few hours before first pitch.

"This win shows moxy," said Mathey. "Our last 24 hours have been hectic. You always have concerns when things like this happen, both mentally and physically. Our guys showed a lot of toughness to come out and play this game and get a win."

The teams will play the second game of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT. The slated mound matchup features NIU LHP Tom Barry (3-1 | 3.45 ERA) versus OU LHP Brent Choban (2-3 | 4.53 ERA). Sunday's finale at 12 p.m. will present NIU RHP Jeremy Gonzales (4-4 | 4.28 ERA) against OU RHP Jason Moulton (1-4 | 4.02 ERA).

-NIU-

 

 

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