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’Birds fall one short of NIU, 7-6

Archive Photo: Mike Hollenbeck’s (above) one-out sacrifice fly plated Mason Snyder to tie the game.

Archive Photo: Mike Hollenbeck’s (above) one-out sacrifice fly plated Mason Snyder to tie the game.

Illinois State baseball was bested by Northern Illinois University Tuesday afternoon in a ninth-inning 7-6 decision.

In the bottom of the ninth, NIU tallied two runs to put them above the Redbirds.

David Suarez was ticketed with the loss, allowing two earned runs on four hits in 2.1 innings of play.

Paul DeJong and Logan Leverett each scored runs for the Redbirds, however NIU out-hit ISU, 12-9 and took advantage of ISU’s two errors.

DeJong hit his fourth solo home run of the season in the first inning with two outs, giving ISU an early 1-0 lead. Northern retaliated with three runs, two earned, off of Headean in the bottom of the first.

In the fourth inning, the Huskies managed one more run without a hit, pushing their lead to 4-1.

Dennis Colon hit a home run on a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning, and Brian Rodemoyer was able to draw a bases-loaded walk in the next inning, cutting the Huskies’ lead, 4-3.

A two-run home run by Leverett plated Mike Hollenbeck in the seventh inning and tipped the scales back in ISU’s favor, putting them up 5-4.

NIU quickly responded by hitting one run off of Ben Hecht in the bottom of the frame to tie the game.

In the eighth inning, a one-out sacrifice fly by Hollenbeck scored Mason Snyder, giving ISU the lead once again, 6-5.

Alex Klonowski of the Huskies opened the bottom of the ninth with a double hit off of Suarez.

NIU’s Brian Sisler followed suit with a double, scoring Klonowski to tie the game at 6-6.

Three batters later, with runners at the corner and one out, Chris DiVarco of Northern Illinois flew out to Leverett, however Sisler was able to tag for third to score the game-winning run.

“We’re not happy about it, there’s no question about it,” head coach Mark Kingston said. “But you know, we played hard and it’s not a matter of we didn’t play hard or we came out flat, we just didn’t play well enough.”

ISU is 76-56-1 all-time versus Northern Illinois. The last matchup between the two ended with a Redbirds victory of 9-3 at Duffy Bass Field.

“They had three more hits than we did and we made two more errors than they did so, it’s a game we feel like we should have won but Northern Illinois played better for the last three hours and they got the win,” Kingston said.

The Redbirds return to action Thursday night when they host Robert Morris College at Duffy Bass Field. First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m.

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