Wildcats walk off with victory

Jake Goebbert hit a walk-off two-run home run off Northern Illinois pitcher Dave Reynolds to lead the Northwestern baseball team to a 6-5 win over the Huskies on Wednesday in Evanston.

“Their lead-off guy, Tommy Finn, did a good job of getting on base for them,” NIU coach Ed Mathey said. “Jake Goebbert is a good hitter. We knew that. You don’t want to walk the go-ahead run, but you don’t want him to get a hit either. [Tom] Zelasko did a nice job to get to that point. Unfortunately Reynolds fell behind in the count and he got a good pitch to hit. They had one lead all day, but it was the one that mattered.”

Wildcats’ reliever David Jensen (1-2) earned the win after pitching a perfect ninth, while Reynolds (0-2) took the loss after facing just Goebbert, giving up an earned run on the homer.

The Huskies (11-18) tagged Northwestern starter Matt Diedrich for five earned runs on seven hits and three walks in five innings, while he recorded only one strikeout.

NIU starter Tom Barry posted his third straight start of allowing just one earned run as he lasted four innings, surrendering five hits and a walk with a strikeout. He has now given up only three earned runs
in his three starts this year, one in each, while tallying a 1.76 ERA, six walks and seven strikeouts in 151⁄3 innings.

“Tom wasn’t exceptionally sharp today, but he went out there and battled,” Mathey said. “The one error we had cost us some runs, but he battled on the road and that’s a good sign for a pitcher.”

Brett Frantini led the Huskie offense with a career-high two RBIs and two hits in three at-bats. Joe Buonavolanto also totaled two hits and scored a run. Jordin Hood had a solo homer. Matt Behren had a hit and a run scored, while Nick Badgley had an RBI single. Justin Behm scored two runs and added a hit with a walk.

“It was nice to see a good performance from Brett,” said Mathey. “He has been doing a nice job and working hard. We had a chance to give him a start today and he did a good job. He called a good game, got some hits, played good defense and threw out a runner. That’s
good to see out of a freshman.

“Joe had a nice day, too. When he stays on top of the ball, he’s a good hitter. It was good to see him do that. He had a pretty active day on the infield and had a good play to close the sixth inning.”

The Huskies return to the field this weekend in Akron, Ohio at Lee R. Jackson Field as NIU takes on Akron (6-23, 3-6 MAC) in a three-game series that starts on Friday at 2 p.m. The final two contests of the series are at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Notes: The Huskies scored in the first inning for the 12th time this year. ... Hood has a five-game hitting streak in which he has seven hits, seven runs, five RBI and three homers. ... Frantini threw out his first collegiate base stealer in the second inning. ... NIU is now 49-24 against Illinois opponents since Mathey took over in 2003, and is 3-3 this year. ... The Huskies are now 7-5 against Big Ten opponents under Mathey. ... NIU has had a player get multiple hits in 26 of their 29 games, led by Hood’s 13.

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