Toledo Completes MAC Weekend Sweep With 4-3 Extra-Inning Win at Northern Illinois
UT emerged victorious in the first two games this weekend by scores of 7-3 and 5-1 to win the series against the Huskies (11-27, 5-10 MAC) for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
Senior RHP Lincoln Rassi (2-0) was credited with his second triumph of the spring, working 1.2 scoreless frames. Rassi was at his best in the ninth inning when NIU had the bases loaded with one out, but the fourth-year Rocket induced a shallow fly out to right field and a ground out to force extra innings.
Toledo also received another quality start from junior RHP Mike Hamann, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits with five strikeouts in 7.0 innings in a no-decision.
Offensively, freshman LF Dan Zuchowksi (4-for-4, RS, 2 RBI) collected a game-high four hits for a second consecutive contest, while senior CF Ben Hammer (2-for-5, RBI) had a multi-hit effort in the extra-inning win.
Hammer's second hit proved to be the deciding factor is today's series finale, as the 2011 second-team All-MAC honoree registered a bunt single to score senior 2B Joe Corfman with the eventual game-winning tally.
With one out in the 10th inning, Corfman was hit by a pitch against NIU's Kyle Glancy. Zuchowksi followed with a single to put runners at the corners and bring Hammer to the plate. The Wayne, OH native then successfully laid down a bunt to score Corfman, giving the Midnight Blue & Gold its fourth extra-inning victory of the spring.
Rassi faced only three Northern Illinois batters in the bottom of the 10th frame and took advantage of a game-ending double play to close out the one-run triumph.
Toledo opened the scoring in a third straight contest with a two-run roundtripper off the bat of Zuchowski in the third inning. The first-year Rocket crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right field to collect his third home run of the spring.
The teams then scored one run each in the fifth frame to make the difference 3-1. Toledo utilized a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman SS Nate Langhals, while the Huskies countered with a RBI triple by Alex Beckmann to keep it a two-run contest.
Northern Illinois then knotted the score at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. The home team benefitted from a two-out fielding error by UT's Corfman and a run-scoring hit from Jeff Zimmerman to send the game into extra frames.
Glancy (0-4) was saddled with the loss, yielding one run on two hits with two punchouts in 2.0 innings of relief.
Jordan Huffman and Zimmerman totaled three hits each for the home squad in a losing effort.
The Rockets will look to continue their momentum against Youngstown State on Tuesday, April 24 at 3:00 p.m. at Eastwood Field.