April 22, 2014
DeKALB, Ill. - For the second time this season, the NIU Huskies (10-28-1) will welcome the UW-Milwaukee Panthers (13-16) to Ralph McKinzie Field for a midweek showdown. The contest will begin at 3:05 p.m. and will serve as the final home game of the month at Ralph McKinzie Field for the Huskies.
NIU is in search of its second-straight victory as it defeated Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon, rallying to a 3-1 victory on the heels of a complete game effort from Alex Klonowski on the mound. The senior struck out four, allowing two walks and seven hits in nine innings of work.
Connor Schomig was the top Huskie at the plate and on the base path last week, going 5-for-16 (.357) with six runs, a game-tying solo home run, an on-base percentage of .500 and a perfect 6-for-6 register stealing bases. The senior accomplished the feat in four games last week, including all three games of the series with Mid-American Conference leader CMU.
In the Huskies last meeting with the Panthers, Milwaukee scored one run on the top of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. Following that run, the Panthers were unable to solve Ryan Olson’s riddle on the mound as the sophomore tossed a career-long seven innings, scattering five hits and allowing only two walks with four strikeouts to his credit in 99 pitches.
With Olson throwing darts on the mound, the NIU bats went to work in the bottom of the fifth inning as it tied the Panthers, 1-1, on three-straight singles by Jason Gasser, Carl Russell and Brian Sisler.
Both teams went to work in the eighth inning as UWM broke through with Olson out of the game in the eighth inning, dinging two runs on back-to-back doubles off of Dirk Ormsby to take a 3-1 lead. NIU scored one run in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut the Panthers lead to one, 3-2, as Sisler doubled and Chris Divarco singled down the left field line to score Sisler.
With the tying run on third and the winning run on first, Brandon Mallder was unfortunately unable to drive in the runs following a pitching change by UWM as he grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the frame and the best remaining scoring chance for the Huskies.
UW-Milwaukee is currently 13-16 and is coming off of a Horizon League series victory over Valparaiso at Henry Aaron Field. The Panthers are in action April 22 at UW-Parkside and just recently snapped a 20-game home winning streak as it fell to the Crusaders last Friday, 4-0.
Ryan Solberg remains the top-hitter in the lineup for the Panthers with his .337 clip and has since improved his slugging percentage to an impressive .529 mark with eight doubles and four homers. Solberg has also driven in a team-best 21 runs this season. On the mound, Tell Taylor, whom the Huskies saw in the last affair, is carrying an ERA of 0.00 through 10 innings of work and eight appearances on the mound. Taylor has fanned nine batters with only one walk and is only allowing opponents to hit .176.
Following Wednesday’s game, Northern Illinois will hit the road for the first of two-straight road MAC series, starting the trip at Western Michigan. The series will begin April 25, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. Central time on Friday.
The Last Meeting
April 9, 2014
Olson's One-Run Outing Not Enough Versus Panthers
Sophomore Ryan Olson (Sterling, Ill./Newman Central Catholic) pitched strong innings for the Huskies Wednesday for the NIU Huskies (7-22-1), surrendering zero earned runs and striking out four but the effort wasn't enough as UW-Milwaukee (10-12) scored two runs in the eighth inning to defeat NIU, 3-2 ...