April 7, 2012

Baseball saves series sweep with Saturday win

NEWARK, N.J. – A nine-run fourth-inning led the Northern Colorado baseball team to an 11-6 victory over NJIT on Saturday to save being swept in the opening Great West Conference series of the season.

The Bears (10-16, 1-3 GWC) scored their 11 runs on 11 hits with five Highlander (10-13, 3-1 GWC) errors, while NJIT scored six runs on 10 hits with two Bear errors.

For the fifth straight game, the Bears had to play from behind as the Highlanders scored one in the first inning. The Bears took the lead with two runs in the third, but NJIT regained the lead with three runs in the bottom half for a 4-2 advantage.

The Bears then exploded for nine runs in the fourth frame and held the lead for the remainder of the contest.

Jensen Park walked to start the fourth and scored on a double by Bryan Tibbitts who scored on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Banach. With two outs, the order flipped back to the top and Ryan Yamane kept things going with a single. Eric Ferguson drew a walk, Adam Hilker singled through the left side, scoring one. Casey Coy was then hit by a pitch, Tony Crudo reached via error and in his second at bat of the inning, Park singled for an RBI. Tibbitts singled for two more RBI and advanced to third on an error by the centerfielder and Derek Baum singled to plate the ninth run of the frame.

Freshman Jess Amadee threw the first five innings, improving to 3-1 on the year. He allowed two earned runs on six hits, walking four but striking out two. Sophomore Josh Tinnon threw the next 2.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits with a strikeout. Senior Cameron Tallman pitched for the third time in the series, retiring both batters he faced. Coy finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to help the Bears to the win.

Yamane, Hilker, Park and Tibbitts all had two hits in the game, while Tibbitts led the way with three RBI. Coy had a triple in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, tying his career longest streak.

The Bears play at Air Force on Tuesday before hosting NYIT in a Great West Conference series beginning on Friday, April 13. That game is Pack the Park Day at Jackson Field and admission to all home games this season is free.

Notes: Senior Casey Coy tied his career-longest hitting streak at 10 games with a triple in the eighth inning… Northern Colorado went a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases in the four game series against NJIT. Both senior Adam Hilker and freshman Ryan Yamane had two swipes each, while senior Tony Crudo and junior Dylan Banach had one each… On the flip side, the Bears threw out three would-be Highlander stealers as NJIT was just 2-for-5… Hilker continued his solid season at the plate, hitting .438 (7-for-16) in the series with a team-best seven hits and five RBI.