April 25, 2012
PEORIA, Ill. – What looked like an inevitable rain postponement in weather forecasts, turned into a cool, summer evening in April at O’Brien Field as Northern Illinois took on Bradley. With a 3-2 lead in the eighth in favor of the Huskies, the Braves homered twice over left field to defeat the Huskies, 4-3.
“Eli gave us a great chance to win a baseball game today by competing in the strike zone and limiting walks,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “It’s a tough loss no doubt about it, we had our opportunities to score more runs in the baseball game but we were unable to get that big hit we needed to drive them in. If we stay in games like this in the future, we’re going to get our wins.”
The Huskies came out swinging in the first inning with two singles by Jordan Huffman and Troy White and loaded bases when Jeff Zimmerman was hit by a pitch. NIU was unable to take advantage however, as they stranded all three on base.
That problem was resolved in the second inning as Northern Illinois notched two runs to take a 2-0 lead after two innings. Joe Battaglia singled and Alex Beckmann doubled to setup the Huskies attack and was followed by a Connor Schomig sacrifice fly to right field to score Battaglia and send Beckmann to third, who advanced to home on a wild pitch.
Bradley tied the game in the bottom of the third with a trio of hits, including a triple to tie the game at two runs a piece. After three scoreless innings by both teams, the Huskies got back on the board in the top of the seventh when Battaglia lead off the inning with a single.
Relief pitcher Kevin Sweeney entered for Battaglia as a pinch runner and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Beckmann. Sweeney would score from the bag when Schomig singled up the middle to put NIU back up, 3-2. Bradley tied the game and took the lead in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of solo homeruns to left field by Jason Leblebijian and Bob Schuch, respectively.
Pitcher Eli Anderson had a career day on the bump for the Huskies, recording highs in strikeouts (seven), innings pitched (seven) and pitches thrown (97). The Glenview, Ill., native only surrendered two runs in the contest and walked only one.
The Huskies (11-29) will get back to Mid-American Conference play April 27 when it plays game one of its three game series at Eastern Michigan.