Rockets Explode Early in 10-4 Game One Triumph over NIU
DeKALB,IL – A five-run first inning was all senior LHP Ryan Wilkinson needed on Saturday afternoon to propel Toledo (11-15, 3-4 MAC) to a 10-4 victory at Northern Illinois (5-20-1, 2-5 MAC) in the first game of a doubleheader at Ralph McKinzie Field.
Senior C James Miglin (2-of-5, 2 R) drove in a team-high three runs and senior LF Tyler Grogg (2-of-4) scored a team-best three runs to lead UT offensively. Senior DH Jacob North (3-for-5, 2 RBI) and junior 3B Dan Zuchowski (2-of-3, 2 RBI) also registered multi-hit outings for the Rockets.
Wilkinson nearly notched his third complete game of the season after keeping the Huskies off the board in the first eight frames. However, NIU junior PH Micah McCulloch hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to eliminate Wilkinson’s shutout bid.
Toledo exploded for five runs in the opening frame thanks in part to a pair of NIU errors to open the game. A bases-loaded walk to Zuchowski sandwiched fielder-cholce groundouts from Miglin and freshman LF Jordan Kesson plated the Rockets’ first three runs. North accounted for UT’s final two runs with a two-out single through the left side.
Toledo added single runs in both the second and fourth frames as a pair of Miglin singles plated Grogg. Grogg then registered a run-scoring hit of his own in the fifth to put the Rockets in front 8-0.
UT tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth from Zuchowski’s RBI single and Kesson’s RBI double.
With today's effort, Wilkinson overtook J.R. Duffey (290.0 IP, 2002-05) for the top spot in school history in career innings pitched with 291.0.
The second game of the twinbill will be held at 3:05 p.m. CDT.