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Ohio Downs NIU 19-10 to Sweep Series

Ian Mezlak

April 8, 2012

Box Score

DeKALB, Ill. - Freshman Ian Mezlak drove in a season-high six RBI to lead the Ohio University baseball team (16-15; 6-3) to a 19-10 victory and the series sweep over Northern Illinois Sunday afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field.

Mezlak's (Lorain, Ohio) went 2-for-3 and collected his first career grand slam in the top of the seventh inning. Fellow freshmen Tyler Wells (Lexington, Ky.) and Cody Gaertner (Allison Park, Pa.) each collected four hits on the afternoon. Gaertner also scored a game-high five runs.

Freshman Logan Cozart (New Philadelphia, Ohio) also had a strong afternoon at the plate as he went 3-for-5 with four RBI.

Ohio freshmen combined for 13 hits and 14 RBI against Northern Illinois on Sunday.

"All of our freshman did a good job today," said head coach Joe Carbone. "We're real happy with the progress they've made this season."

Seniors Jensen Painter (Willshire, Ohio) and Ethan Newton (Norfolk, Va.) both extended their respective streaks. Painter got on base for the 31st-consecutive game as he drew four walks, while Newton extended his hitting streak to nine games and scored a run for the eight straight game.

On the mound, junior captain Seth Streich (Ridgeway, Pa.) picked up the win as he made his first appearance since March 17. Streich worked 3.2 innings, scattered six hits and allowed three earned runs as he improved to 2-3 on the year. Junior Brett Barber (Hurricane, W. Va.) worked the final 3.1 innings to earn his fourth save on the year.

"Brett did a real nice job for us again," Carbone said. "He is someone that we have a lot of confidence in right now. He throws strikes for us and he's been very consistent."

Ohio's three-game sweep over Northern Illinois was its first sweep on a MAC opponent since May 16, 2010 when the Bobcats swept Akron on the road.

"We played real hard all weekend and it was good to see us close things out," Carbone said. "We still have some things to work on, but all and all it was good weekend."

The win also moved Ohio over .500 for the first time all year and it gave the Bobcats their fifth straight victory over a league opponent.

Sunday afternoon's contest took nearly three and a half hours to complete.

Ohio never trailed in the series finale as it scored one run in the first. Through three and half innings, the Bobcats had opened up a commanding 11-1 lead.

Northern Illinois fought back to score five runs over the next three innings to cut Ohio's lead to 12-6 through six innings, but that would be as close as the Huskies would get for the remainder of the contest.

Ohio would go on to score five runs in the seventh and two in the top of the ninth to secure the win.

Ohio returns to action on Tuesday as it travels to Columbus on Tuesday to take on Ohio State. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. Ohio will send Tyler Backstrom (Columbus, Ohio) to the mound to faceoff against OSU's Brett McKinney.