Northern Illinois Holds Off Late Rally By Baseball|
April 2, 2003
DeKalb, Ill. - The University of Illinois was unable to capitalize on key opportunities against Northern Illinois, as the Flames stranded eight runners - six of which were in scoring position - as the host Huskies earned the 5-4 non-conference victory at Ralph McKinzie Field on Wednesday afternoon.
With the victory, Northern Illinois improves to 15-9 on the season, while the Flames fall to 11-10 on the campaign.
The most glaring opportunity for UIC came in the top of the ninth inning, with the Flames trailing 5-3. Senior catcher Weber Bowen (3-for-4, RBI, run) opened the frame with a single. Junior third baseman Nelson Gord (2-for-4) added another single to move pinch runner Kyle Robinson over to third base.
Northern Illinois pitcher Mark Badgley (save) attempted to pick off Robinson from second, and his attempt sailed into center field, allowing Robinson and Gord to move into scoring position with no one out.
Junior outfielder J.P. Carey plated Robinson with a RBI groundout, to narrow the Huskies' lead to 5-4. Badgley, however, retired both second baseman Bryan Russo and outfielder J.P. Moran to end the game.
UIC also threatened in the top of the eighth inning, as the Flames had runners at first and third with one out. Junior shortstop Jordan DeVoir (2-for-4) attempted a squeeze bunt, but was unable to connect as pinch runner Mark Homco was hung up at third base, to give the Flames two outs. Northern Illinois reliever Zach Minor squelched the rally as he fanned DeVoir to end the inning.
Northern Illinois starter Joe Piekarz earned the victory for the Huskies, scattering seven hits and allowing two runs over six innings of work. Junior reliever Eric Carlson (0-2) took the loss for the Flames, allowing three runs, while surrendering six hits and five walks on the afternoon.
Northern Illinois shortstop Joe Mazzuca went 1-for-3 with 3 RBI and a run scored, while centerfielder Jeremy Busch went 3-for-3 with two runs scored to lead the Huskies offensively.
UIC will be back in action on Friday afternoon, as they will host Youngstown State for their Horizon League opener at 3:05 p.m. at Les Miller Field.