May 16, 2014
DeKALB - Northern Illinois (17-35-1, 11-15 MAC) and Ball State (37-16, 21-4 MAC) started Friday's showdown in a pitchers' duel with Cardinals taking a 3-0 lead in the fifth. Though the Huskies put in a late rally effort, NIU was unable to surpass BSU as it loaded the bases twice, falling, 4-1.
"There was a lack of execution on our part offensively today and that gave them some momentum today. Give Ball State some credit," said Head Coach Ed Mathey. "We loaded the bases a couple of times and we weren't able to get enough runs. We had some really great chances in the sixth and seventh. We need to win the last game of the regular season and we have to make it happen."
NIU's Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Missouri/Kearney) and Ball State's Scott Baker each kept the opposition scoreless, allowing a combined three baserunners through the first four innings.
The Cardinals got on the board first in the top of the fifth as they started a two-out rally with four-straight hits to take a 3-0 lead, two of which were earned on Klonowski.
The Huskies put runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, loading them up in the seventh and the eighth frames.
NIU amassed five hits in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, scoring one run in the eighth as Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wisconsin/Madison Area TC) started the rally with a single up the middle, followed by Brian Sisler's (DeKalb, Illinois/DeKalb) single to put runners on first and second. Tommy Hook (Lockport, Illinois/Lockport Township) was hit by pitch to load the bases and scored on a bases loaded walk by Justin Fletcher (Pekin, Illinois/Illinois Central) to put the Huskies within two, 3-1.
The Cardinals tacked on one run in the top of the ninth to take a 4-1 lead.
The Huskies will close the regular season Saturday afternoon versus the Cardinals at Ralph McKinzie Field. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. A Northern Illinois victory will clinch NIU's berth into the Mid-American Conference Tournament.