May 16, 2009
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - In the last game of the season the Northern Illinois baseball came up short in trying to complete a road sweep of Western Michigan, losing 6-5 after the Broncos (14-35, 9-18 Mid-American Conference) took the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh inning to leave NIU head coach Ed Mathey one win shy of reaching the 20-win mark for the sixth time in his seven seasons with the Huskies (19-34, 10-16 MAC).
"Our kids went out and battled today," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "I was proud of their effort. It is always tough to get a sweep on the road in this conference, but we had a chance to do it. We just didn't get it done late in the game."
NIU had a 5-4 lead entering the seventh inning with Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) on the mound in relief of starter Brandon Copp (Aurora, Ill./West), but the Broncos rallied for two runs to take the lead with the help of two extra base hits. Brent Gerlach started it off with a triple to left-center and after Kyle Galbraith grounded one back to Glancy, Pedro Dager doubled to left-center to score Gerlach. Chris Lewis then followed with a single up the middle to score Dager and give WMU a lead it wouldn't surrender.
"Kyle had the first hitter down in the count and left one over the plate for a triple," Mathey said. "The double came on a pitch off the plate and we tried to pitch around Lewis, but caught too much of the plate on the single. Kyle will learn from his experiences this year and he is going to have a great chance to do some good things for us next year."
The Huskies had an opportunity in the eighth to at least get the tying run in with Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) on second base with one out after being hit by an errant Casey Webber pitch and reaching second a on balk, but Webber settled down to get Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) swinging and after a walk to Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg), he got Nick Badgley (McHenry, Ill./McHenry C.C.) swinging as well.
"We sure had the table set up to do some good things in the eighth," Mathey said. "Unfortunately their pitcher Webber made some good pitches and we didn't get the result that we wanted. We had the right guys up, but sometimes it just doesn't happen and that was the case."
Tim Mowry then came in and executed a flawless ninth to earn his fourth save of the season, giving Webber (1-4) the win after he relieved starter Eric Heckaman for three innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. Heckaman lasted five innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and five walks with four strikeouts.
Glancy (0-3) took the loss after surrendering three earned runs on four hits and a walk with a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Copp threw the first five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
NIU opened the game with a two-run first frame on RBI singles by Hood and Badgley, but WMU answered with two runs in the bottom half on Lewis' seventh homer of the season and an RBI single by Tim Cross.
The Huskies scored two runs again in the second inning after a bases loaded hit-by-pitch gave Hood an RBI and a sacrifice fly gave Reynolds an RBI.
After an RBI sacrifice fly by Ryan McMillan in the fourth inning, the teams each exchanged a run in the sixth as NIU scored on a Reynolds single and WMU scored on a groundout by Brad Wehrmeyer that cut the Huskie lead to 5-4 before the decisive seventh.
Lewis led the Bronco offense with two hits, a run and two RBI, while Nathan Marquardt and Gerlach each had two hits and a run. Cross also had two hits and drove in a run.
Hood led the Huskie offense with two hits, two RBI, a stolen base and a run, while Reynolds also had two RBI and a hit. Brett Frantini (Minooka, Ill./Minooka) tallied a hit and a run, and Badgley had a hit and an RBI. Additionally, Beckmann and Joe Etcheverry (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) each had singles and Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) totaled a season-high four walks and tied a season-best with three runs.
"It was frustrating with the results we had this year," Mathey said. "We had a situation where we lost two guys at the top of our rotation to injuries and had to pitch some guys that might not have been quite ready for that much action in their first year, but they did a good job and made good progress. We also had freshman in the field and they did a really nice job. We have some seniors to replace, but if everybody learns from this year and improves we have a good chance next year."
- With his 23rd HBP of the season, Hood now ranks third nationally.
- NIU scored a run in the first inning for the 26th time this season.
- Reynolds ends the season on a 10-game hitting streak, which is his third 10-plus streak of the season (20, 10, 10). He also ended with 35 RBI in his last 24 games.