MARION, Ill. – Omaha baseball rallied late, but ultimately fell 8-5 against Northern Illinois Friday afternoon in the first of a four-game stretch.
The Mavericks (4-4) recorded eight team hits and left eight on base, while Northern Illinois (6-4) notched 14 hits and had two errors with 10 left on base.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Keil Krumwiede led the way for Omaha and nearly completed the cycle on a perfect 3-for-3 hitting with a home run, two runs scored, two RBI and a double. Jack Lombardi recorded his lone hit (1-for-4) with a double and two runs scored, while Both Chris Esposito and Harrison Denk were 1-for-4 with an RBI.
On the mound, Joey Machado fell to 1-1 on the season with four strikeouts, six hits, five earned runs and two walks allowed through 3.0 innings. Jake Pennington had a strikeout with one run allowed in one inning, while Henry Ristvedt and Jacob Alcorn tossed 2.0 innings each in relief. NIU’s Michael Lasiewicz earned the win and Nate Thomas notched the team’s first save of the season.
INSIDE THE INNINGS
As the second batter in the lineup, Krumwiede blasted his first homer of the season over the left-center fence and put the Mavericks up 1-0 in the top of the first. In the second, Northern Illinois evened the game up with a single-RBI.
The Mavericks fell into a hole in the bottom of the third on four Huskie runs. After Machado retired the first two batters, Northern Illinois notched a single, two triples, a double and another single to make it 5-1. Despite being in the deficit, Omaha loaded the bases in the top of the fourth on a Krumwiede single, a Smejkal doubles and a Grant Goldston walk. Esposito was able to come up to the plate and crack a single through the right side and score Krumwiede to cut the NIU lead at 6-2. Northern Illinois, however, was able to turn a double play and get out of the frame.
Omaha continued its momentum in the fifth and cut NIU’s lead at 6-4. Lombardi blasted a one-out triple to right center, which set up a Denk single for an RBI. Krumwiede followed with a ground-rule double and scored Denk, who put himself in scoring position on a failed pickoff attempt.
The Mavericks saw more chances in the top of the seventh. Omaha loaded the bases with one out. After NIU recorded its second out, a wild pitch scored Lombardi, unearned, and made it 6-5. Esposito came up to the plate and had a full count with the bases loaded, but the Huskies were able to get a groundout. Northern Illinois extended its lead to 7-5 with a one-out double to left center in the bottom of the eighth. A single plated the eighth NIU run in the inning and made it a three-run game. Down to its final three outs Omaha could not plate a run as Northern Illinois got the save and held on for the win.
Omaha plays a doubleheader tomorrow against Northern Illinois and Chicago State. The Mavericks battle NIU for the second-straight time at 11 a.m. and then shift their focus to a 2:30 p.m. game against Chicago State.