April 25, 2014
KALAMAZOO - The Northern Illinois baseball team (11-29-1, 6-10 MAC) held Western Michigan (15-21, 6-10 MAC) scoreless in six of eight innings at the plate but it wasn’t enough as the Huskies fell to the Broncos, 7-0. Jason Gasser (Dyer, Indiana/Mt. Carmel), Tommy Hook (Lockport, Illinois) and Brian Sisler (DeKalb/DeKalb) each collected two hits with Sisler lining a double as well.
Bronco pitcher Steve Laudacina tossed a complete game to pick up his fourth win of the season.
After surrendering a leadoff walk in the first inning to Vinnie Booker, Anthony Andres (Western Spring, Illinois/St. Rita) registered his fourth pickoff of the season as he caught Booker napping on the base path on a 1-3-6 play. The pickoff proved vital as the Broncos recorded back-to-back singles with two outs and failed to score a run thanks to Andres pickoff.
NIU had its chances to get on the board first with singles in the second, third and fourth innings, including Gasser in the third who led the frame with a single. Western Michigan took an early lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as it brought around six runs on four hits to take a 6-0 lead through four frames.
“Their Friday pitcher did a nice job of limiting the situational chances we had to score and then it got to a point in the fourth where you start chasing a little more than you need to in the batters box,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “When you do that, instead of chasing a single, you start chasing doubles and triples. I was disappointed in our pitching and our run production obviously but I saw a few things that will hopefully carry some momentum into tomorrow to get us even in the series.”
Reliever TJ Schrader
(Mackinaw, Ill./Illinois Central) entered the game with two outs on the Broncos and allowed one of the six runs in the fourth frame. Western Michigan added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 7-0 lead in the contest. Schader finished the afternoon with 2.1 innings adding one strikeout and allowing just three hits, one walk and two runs.
Though the Broncos carried the lead, the Huskies only trailed by one in the hits department, 7-6, and were even with Western Michigan in walks, 3-3. NIU was unable to group its hits in the contest as it stranded six men on base in six innings with runners on.
Relievers Kevin Sweeney (Chicago/Fenwick) and Justin Ruckman (Kankakee/Herscher) each pitched an inning in relief as the two combined for zero hits and zero walks allowed.
NIU and WMU will resume the series tomorrow afternoon at Homer Stryker Field with first pitch set for noon Central.