March 25, 2007
DEKALB, Ill. - The Ohio baseball team was held to just five hits, only one of them for extra bases, as the Bobcats were handed a 7-2 loss by Northern Illinois in Sunday's Mid-American Conference series finale at Ralph McKinzie Field.
"We have to give Northern Illinois credit," Head Coach Joe Carbone said. "They were better than we were this weekend. The pitcher we faced today did an excellent job of keeping us off balance. Offensively, we did not do much with him and we could not get much going today. Pitching wise, we pitched okay but not great."
The loss completed a three-game sweep at the hands of the Huskies (11-7, 3-0) and ran Ohio's (9-10, 0-3) losing streak to four games. The Bobcats fell to 0-8 in road contests this season. Ohio scored two runs on five hits and committed three errors while leaving eight men stranded on base. The Huskies scored seven times on 12 hits and committed just one error.
Senior Daniel Weiss (Cincinnati, Ohio) took the loss for the Bobcats to fall to 2-3 on the season. He lasted four innings and allowed five runs, three of them earned, on four hits. Weiss struck out four Huskies and issued three free passes.
"With every game (this weekend) we had to go right to our relief pitchers," Carbone said. "We are not getting anything more than four or five innings out of any of our starters. Hopefully that is going to change."
Sophomore Chris Rigo (Westlake, Ohio) tossed a career-long four innings in relief and skated around eight hits, allowing just one earned run. He recorded one walk and one strike out.
Senior Jared Willis (Logan, W.Va.) went 2-for-3 for the second straight day and was the only Bobcat with a multi-hit game.
"I thought (Willis) looked better than anybody on the team today," Carbone said. "He went up there and hit the ball hard every time up. Against left-handed pitching he has been really tough for us."
Freshman Marc Krauss went 0-for-1 but reached base three times via two walks and a hit by pitch. He also scored a run in the loss. Senior J.T. Osburn (Warrenton, Va.) collected a pinch-hit single in his only at-bat while sophomore Brandon Besl (Cincinnati, Ohio) went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI groundout.
Northern Illinois starter Matt Jernstad was the story of the contest as he limited Ohio to five hits and two runs over seven solid innings. Only one of the runs he allowed was earned in moving to 2-1 on the season. Mark Badgley and Matt German each turned in a scoreless inning of relief for the Huskies.
Current MAC West Player of the Week Jesse Seykora finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in the NIU win. Daniel Jewett was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored while Bobby Stevens posted a 2-for-5 day with two runs scored.
The Bobcats were the first on the board for the first time in their last four games with a run in the opening at-bat. Junior Matt Stiffler (Bellbrook, Ohio) reached on an error to open the frame and moved to third on a single by Willis. Besl followed with an RBI groundout to give Ohio an early 1-0 lead.
The Huskies answered right back in the bottom of the first with two runs of their own. Jewett singled to start the rally and Stevens doubled to put runners at second and third. Seykora followed with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the inning and with two outs, a Bobcat error allowed Danny Reed to reach base and Stevens to score to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
The Bobcats threatened in the third when Willis singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch with nobody out. The next three Ohio batters went down in order, however, to leave Willis stranded in scoring position.
Northern Illinois added a run in the fourth inning when Seykora singled and advanced to second on a groundout. After another Bobcat error, Seykora scored on a sac fly by Justin Behm to make the Huskies' advantage 3-1.
Ohio put together a two-out rally in the fifth inning but was again unable to score. Willis walked with two away and Besl followed with a double but both runners were left stranded in scoring position.
The Huskies widened their advantage in the bottom of the fifth with some clutch, two-out hitting. Pat Minogue singled to open the frame and Jewett drew a walk from Weiss, forcing Carbone to go to his bullpen and bring in Rigo. The sophomore reliever retired the first two hitters he faced and intentionally walked Scott Simon to load the bases, but Reed came through with a two-out, two-run single for a 5-1 Northern Illinois lead.
The Bobcats fought back for a run in the sixth but some tough luck and sterling NIU defense kept Ohio from cutting further into the deficit. Krauss drew a walk in front of singles by junior Bryant Witt (Powell, Ohio) and Osburn to load the bases with nobody away. Sophomore Chris Klimko (McKeesport, Pa.) was the next batter and lined a Jernstad pitch right to the Northern Illinois leftfielder. Krauss tagged up and scored from third on the play to make the score 5-2. Sophomore Hayden Johnston (Strattanville, Pa.) followed with a sharply hit ground ball that looked like a base hit, but Huskie second baseman Jordin Hood made a diving play and turned it into an inning ending double play.
The Huskies got the run right back in the bottom of the sixth when a passed ball with two outs allowed Tim Kamin to score from third. The Ohio miscue once again gave NIU a four-run lead at 6-2. The Huskies added another run in the eighth on a two-out, RBI single by Seykora and Ohio went down in order in the ninth to depart from DeKalb, Ill. with a 7-2 loss.
The Bobcats return to non-conference action Tuesday with a home match up against Youngstown State. The contest is set to begin at 6:00 p.m. in Bob Wren Stadium in Ohio's first night contest of the season. The Bobcats are 9-1 at home this season.