April 15, 2011

Everyone contributes in 7-5 win at Houston Baptist

Boxscore | NC Season Stats

HOUSTON, Texas – Everyone in the batting order for Northern Colorado tallied at least one hit as the Bears baseball team won the first of a four-game series at Houston Baptist, 7-5 on Friday.

The Bears (6-24, 3-2) have now won five in a row against the Huskies (6-24, 4-1), who entered the contest with a perfect 4-0 mark in Great West action.

Northern Colorado scored its seven runs on 14 hits, while Houston Baptist scored its five runs on 13 hits and both teams committed three errors each amidst high winds.

"Today was a good team win," said Head Coach Carl Iwasaki. "This hopefully gives us much needed momentum headed into a doubleheader tomorrow."

Junior designated hitter Ben Packard extended his career-best hitting streak to eight games, going 4-for-5 at the plate with two RBI, while junior Jarod Berggren and sophomore Harrison Lambert each had two hits apiece. Junior Bret Fanning went 1-for-4 to keep his hitting streak alive at 13 games.

Senior Chris Carlberg (1-2) won his first game in the Blue & Gold, pitching two innings in relief of starter Joe Willman. Willman pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs (four total) on seven hits with three walks and one strikeout. Carlberg threw the next two innings, allowing just one run on five hits. Junior Cameron Tallman pitched a scoreless eighth and junior Nate Steinmetz tallied his first career save with a perfect ninth inning.

Junior Adam Hilker led off the game with a single to right-centerfield, extending his on-base streak to a career-best 19 games and Fanning sacrificed him up 90 feet to second base. Packard hit a line drive double to left center to plate Hilker for the early 1-0 lead.

David Pfuntner singled to start the Huskies half of the first. On a sacrifice attempt, Willman caught the bunt, but his toss to first went into right field and Pfuntner moved to third. Robbie Buller hit a sacrifice fly to center to knot the score at 1-1.

With one out in the second, Berggren singled to second base, moved to second on a balk and scored on a single to right by junior Tony Crudo, who moved to second on the throw home. Senior Marcus Valenzuela followed with a single to right, which scored Crudo for the 3-1 tally.

Once again, the Huskies got the lead off runner on in the second, but Willman made a heads-up defensive play, fielding the bunt by Tanner Kalina cleanly and throwing out the lead runner to erase the sacrifice attempt.

HBU knotted the score in the bottom of the third thanks in part to another Bears miscue. Pfuntner walked to start the inning. Hetzler singled and both moved up on a throwing error by Hilker. Buller hit another sacrifice fly and Hetzler scored on a single by Arnst, who promptly stole second base. Warren added another single, but Arnst was thrown out trying to score keeping the score tied at 3-3.

With one out in the top of the fifth, Hilker reached on an error. Fanning singled to center and scurried to second when the throw came into third base. Senior T.J. Berge walked on four straight pitches to load the bases and Packard singled into left to regain the lead. Junior Casey Coy hit a sacrifice fly to right field, advancing Berge to third and plating Fanning for the 5-3 score.

HBU got one run back in the bottom of the fifth and the scoreboard read 5-4. Carlberg came in for Willman in the bottom of the sixth. Two singles and a sacrifice bunt tied the score once again for the Huskies.

The Bears immediately answered in the seventh. Packard had his fourth hit of the afternoon with a single up the middle. Coy followed with a single and was erased on a fielder's choice hit by Berggren. Crudo then hit a sacrifice fly to the foul ground in right field to score Packard and give NC a 6-5 lead.

Fanning hit into a fielder's choice for the second out of the seventh inning. He stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by the catcher for an unearned run. However, Berge doubled down the right field line to make the run earned and the Bears stretched the lead to two, 7-5.

The two teams meet tomorrow in a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for seven innings, beginning at 11:00 am (Mountain).