May 23, 2012

Johnson throws complete game in run-rule victory

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

OREM, Utah – Two crooked innings helped lift the Northern Colorado baseball team to a seven-inning run-ruled game over the NYIT Bears in the second-round of the Great West Conference Tournament on Wednesday, 11-1.

Northern Colorado (26-32) scored its 11 runs on 14 hits, with nine of the runs coming in the fifth (four runs) and seventh (five) innings, respectively.

Junior Jake Johnson threw a complete game for Northern Colorado, allowing just one run on four hits with one walk and one strikeout in 25 batters faced. Johnson was extremely effective on the hill, throwing just 76 pitches in the game. All four hits by NYIT were singles and the lone run came after he hit a batter.

Senior Casey Coy didn't waste any time stretching his hitting streak to 12 games, doubling down the right field line in the bottom of the first inning. He ended the game 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. Senior short stop Adam Hilker continued his hitting streak as well, doubling to right-center in the seventh to give him at least one hit in the last 21 games.

Hilker also led the team with three RBI after going 1-for-3, getting hit by a pitch twice and he has now been on base at least once in all 55 games he's played this season.

Freshman Jensen Park went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI, while freshman Ryan Yamane and junior Derek Baum also had two hits each.

Senior Kevin Hurd walked to start the third inning and was sacrificed to second by Yamane. Sophomore Colby Harrison then singled to center with two outs to plate Hurd for the first run of the game.

In the top of the fourth, NYIT knotted the score. Johnson hit Ali Rodriguez with a pitch and he moved up 90 feet on a groundout. Michael Fermin hit his second single of the contest to score Rodriguez for the 1-1 tie.

Park singled back up the middle to start things in the bottom of the fourth and was sacrificed to second by Baum. Senior Tony Crudo lined out to the warning track in right field, allowing Park to advance to third. Yamane singled to right to plate Park for the 2-1 advantage.

Hilker was hit by a pitch for the second time to start the fifth inning. Senior Adrian Schenk singled to left-center and Park followed with a double to left-center to score the pair. Baum singled to right field to put runners at the corners with no outs. Crudo successfully got the sacrifice bunt down for the third run of the inning. With two outs, Yamane singled back up the middle to score Baum for the 6-1 lead.

Baum singled to start the seventh and scored on a double to right-center off the bat of Crudo. The double is the 44th of Crudo's career as he keeps a three-double lead on Coy after Coy doubled in the first inning for the 41st of his career.

Freshman Eric Ferguson drew a walk in his second plate appearance, as did Coy to load the bases with one out. Hilker hit a bases-clearing double to right-center and junior Dylan Banach followed with a walk-off double down the left field line in a pinch-hitting role.

Northern Colorado faces either Texas-Pan American in Thursday's first game after the Broncs lost to North Dakota, 18-7 in seven innings earlier in the afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 11 am.