CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Northern Illinois Huskie baseball team (5-6) fell to Southern Illinois (2-10) in walk-off fashion Saturday, as the Salukis drew a bases loaded walk tied 4-4 in the ninth frame to defeat the Huskies, 5-4.
Huskie star Brian Sisler (DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb) went 3-for-4 with a double at the dish, while Brad Wood (Orland Park, Ill./St. Laurence) recorded a 2-for-3 day together with two RBI. Nate Ruzich (Joliet, Ill./South Suburban College) knocked in two runs with an RBI single.
NIU struck first in the top of the first frame scoring three runs with two outs, when Sisler got a base hit and Stephen Letz drew a base-on-balls, Ruzich hit to centerfield bringing Sisler to the plate and moved Letz to third. An error at first permitted Letz to score NIU’s second, followed by a RBI base hit by Woods to put the Huskies up 3-0.
SIU came right back in their half of the inning putting up three hits and scoring two runs, while in the second frame the Salukis leadoff hitter Taylor Martin doubled and was sacrificed over to third, before scoring on a ground out locking the score at 3-3.
NIU surged back in the top of the third as Ruzich drew a walk and moved up to third after a passed ball and a wild pitch. Then Wood knocked in Ruzich to put the Huskies back in front 4-3.
Ben Neumann had a solid start on the mound for the Huskies with four strikeouts, and two walks in 6.0 innings of work.
NIU put two runners on base over the last three frames but failed to secure the go-ahead run. Reliever Donovin Sims (Roscoe, Ill./Hononegah) gave up one hit in the seventh nevertheless subdued the SIU threat in the inning and moved into the eighth, where he retired the side1-2-3.
Chase Slone got a base hit to start the ninth inning and then promptly headed to third after a sacrifice and a wild pitch. Sims intentionally walked the bases loaded, in advance of Andrew Frankenreider (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap), who would walk the winning run in to give SIU the 5-4 victory.
NIU will end the series tomorrow afternoon playing a doubleheader with SIU, starting at 1 p.m. Central at Itchy Jones Stadium.