UT Baseball struggles against NIU Huskies

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Kenny Kruse, Staff Reporter

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This past weekend, the University of Toledo baseball team (5-18, 0-3 MAC) took on the Northern Illinois University Huskies (7-16, 3-0 MAC) in three games at Mercy Field.

Game One

The Rockets fell 16-2 in their Friday night game against the Huskies.

Friday night, the Rockets started the game off with a run in the first inning. Third-year outfielder Matt Hansen singled and then was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by second-year infielder Riley Campbell. Third-year infielder Dalton Bollinger singled to left field to send Hansen home to take the early 1-0 lead.

The Rockets would not score another run until the sixth inning. Third-year outfielder AJ Montoya tripled into right field and then scored from first-year infielder Malave Bettinger’s single.

Northern Illinois had quiet first, third, sixth and eighth innings. The Huskies started with two runs in the second inning and continued with five runs in the fourth. Another two runs were added in following inning. NIU continued with two runs in the seventh inning and an additional five runs in the final inning.

Game Two

The second game was much closer for the midnight gold and blue, but they ultimately fell in extra innings by a score of 7-4.

The Rockets took a 4-0 lead after the opening inning, making it the second consecutive game of scoring in the opening inning. Third-year outfielder Brad Boss was walked and advanced from Campbell’s nicely placed bunt single. Hansen was walked to load the bases and Bollinger hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Boss.

Montoya singled to right field to score Campbell with one out. Hansen and Montoya were moved into scoring position by Bettinger. With two outs, second-year outfielder Ross Adolph hit a two-run double along the left field line to extend UT’s lead to 4-0.

Fifth-year left-handed pitcher Ross Achter held NIU scoreless through the first five innings. Achter allowed one run in the sixth inning and came back to shut them down the following inning. UT was not able to give Achter any more run support after the opening inning.

The Huskies tied the game with a three-run inning in the eighth, but the Rockets had the bottom of the ninth to still win the game. Fourth-year outfielder Jake Krupar pinch-hit and reached base with a single. First-year infielder Antonio Bennett walked, and both base runners advanced from Boss’ sacrifice bunt. Campbell was intentionally walked and the Huskies  could breathe after a double play to end the inning before extra innings.

The tenth inning was quiet for both teams, before the Huskies came around looking to score. The eleventh inning belonged to the Huskies when they scored the final three runs to win the game 7-4.

Game Three

            The series finale on Sunday started off quiet for the first two innings. NIU got on the board first, scoring four runs in the third inning.

UT cut NIU in half with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Campbell was able to beat out an official scorer’s single due to Hansen’s single. Campbell and Hansen advanced a base due to a passed ball and scored on Bollinger’s two-run single.

In the seventh inning, the Rockets pulled within a run, 4-3, but could not come any closer. First-year catcher Michael Ryan was walked and retired on first-year infielder Antonio Bennett’s choice. Bennett advanced to second base on a groundout and raced to score a run by Campbell’s single.

The Rockets could not shut down the Huskies in the ninth inning and allowed them to score five runs to extend their lead 9-3 and win the series finale.

            The midnight blue and gold will continue their homestand through this coming weekend with a quick non-conference matchup against Oakland University on Wednesday, March 29 at 3:05 p.m. The Broncos of Western Michigan University will be coming to town on Friday for a three-game series. Game times are 3:05 p.m. March 31 and 1:05 p.m. for both April 1 and April 2. UT will make a quick trip down I-75 April 4 for a 5:30 p.m. in-state, non-conference game at Wright State University in Dayton.

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UT Baseball struggles against NIU Huskies