May 13, 2011

Everyone hits in 7-3 win at Chicago State

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CHICAGO – Even though the game was delayed by three hours, the Northern Colorado baseball team was able to keep the winning streak going, defeating Chicago State 7-5 on Friday.

The Bears (21-27, 17-4 Great West) and Cougars (8-35, 3-15 GWC) pushed the start back three hours due to field maintenance needing to be done and ended playing in a cold wind. NC didn't let the change bother them, winning its ninth straight game and 14th in the last 15 outings.

The seven runs came on 11 hits with three CSU errors, while the Cougars three runs came off seven hits with two Bear miscues. All nine Bears had at least one hit on the evening, with senior T.J. Berge and junior Ben Packard each getting two. Junior Adam Hilker and Packard each had two RBI to lead the team.

Junior Joe Willman worked seven innings in his seventh win (7-3) of the year. He allowed three runs on six hits, walking three and striking out five. Younger brother Kevin pitched the final two innings in shutout fashion, giving up just one hit in seven batters faced.

Hilker was hit on the second pitch of the game and senior Bret Fanning continued to build on his record-setting sacrifice bunt total, getting his 20th of the year to put Hilker in scoring position. Junior Jarod Berggren walked and Packard singled to right field to score Hilker for the 1-0 lead.

Willman retired the side in order in the bottom of the first with three groundouts and had a flyout, groundout and strikeout to set them down in order in the second.

Berggren extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single to right-center in the top of the third. Packard singled back to the pitcher and a throwing error by the short stop put runners on the corners. Junior Casey Coy doubled down the right field line to plate Berggren and senior Marcus Valenzuela again reached on an error to bring home Packard. Sophomore Harrison Lambert singled for the third run of the inning for the 4-0 advantage.

Willman struck out two in the third, but the Cougars managed to get their first hit of the game. CSU scored one in the bottom of the fourth off back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly for the 4-1 tally.

With one out in the fifth, Coy was hit by a pitch, Valenzuela hit into a fielder's choice, Crudo singled, Lambert walked and Hilker doubled down the left field line to score two and give the Bears a 6-1 lead.

CSU got one run back in the fifth on an extremely close play at the plate. With two outs, Albert Carpen singled through the right side with William Hill on second. Valenzuela came up throwing and rifled the ball in to Lambert at home, but Hill was ruled safe in a collision. Carpen tried to get to third, but Lambert kept his cool and threw down to Crudo at third for the tag to end the inning. The Cougars also scored one in the sixth for the 6-3 score.

Fanning laid down the perfect bunt to lead off the eighth and Berge followed with a bunt right down the third baseline. Fanning scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Packard for the 7-3 lead and there was no more scoring in the game.

The two teams play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.