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Northern Illinois Rallies in Ninth to Top Valpo
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Northern Illinois scored once in the eighth and three times in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon to come from behind and defeat Valparaiso 7-6 at Ralph McKinzie Field in DeKalb, Ill.
Jeff Zimmerman delivered a two-out, bases loaded single that landed just fair down the leftfield line to score Jamison Wells with the game-winning run.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game, especially after we built the lead,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We gave away a couple of outs that came back to cost us and had two opportunities with a runner on third and less that two outs that we didn’t score. It was the little things that came back to bite us.”
Northern Illinois (21-21) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening inning on a triple by Alex Jones, scoring Alex Beckman, who walked with one out.
Valpo answered with three in the second, taking advantage of three two-out hits. Bobby Martin (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) singled and Corey Thibault (Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S.) followed with a double putting runners on second and third. Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) delivered a three-run home run to left, his second round-tripper of the season.
The Huskies answered with a run in the third on a two-out single by Troy White before Valpo added two more runs in the fourth. Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) led off with a walk and moved up 90 feet on a balk. Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) reached on an error, scoring Hagel. With two outs, Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) delivered a run-scoring single to make it 5-1 Crusaders, but the Brown and Gold ended up leaving the bases loaded in the inning without scoring another run.
A Valpo error and a double by Joe Etcheverrey pulled the Huskies within two in the fifth before Valpo added another run in the seventh. Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) led off with a triple and scored one batter later on an error.
Leading 6-3 heading into the eighth, Northern Illinois drew a two-out walk before Zimmerman doubled to center, making it a 6-4 game.
In the ninth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases before a hit batsman plated the first run of the inning. A bases loaded balk tied the game when the ball slipped out of Kevin Wild’s (Brown Deer, Wis./Brown Deer H.S.) hand in the rainy conditions. After an intentional walk reloaded the bases, Zimmerman delivered the game-winning hit with two outs.
Wild suffered the loss (1-1), working 3.1 innings of relief, the first three of which he allowed just two hits. Ben Etcheverrey earned the win (3-1) as the sixth and final pitcher of the day used by the Huskies.
Martin finished the game 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored for the Crusaders while Morman and Bain each had two hits as well. Wells led Northern Illinois with three hits.
Valparaiso (20-24) returns to the diamond this weekend for a big three-game weekend series against Wright State as the top two teams in the Horizon League battle in Dayton, Ohio. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 12 p.m. CDT.