February 17, 2013

Baseball finishes tournament with 3-2 victory

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

LUBBOCK, Texas – Playing in a tournament that shares your same first name might have been the inspiration Northern Colorado senior third baseman Brooks Schneider (Longmont, Colo.) needed. In the final game of the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic, Schneider went 3-for-4 at the plate to help the Bears Baseball team to a 3-2 victory over Northern Illinois.

One of Schneider's three hits on the day was a solo home run to left field to knot the score at 2-2 in the sixth, the team's first home run of the 2013 season. He also scored the team's first run of the morning after leading off the second inning with a single to centerfield.

"Brooks was obviously our hitter of the game," Head Coach Carl Iwasaski said. "Going 3-for-4 with the first Bears' home run of the season is great."

For the tournament, Schneider hit .385 scoring a team-high three runs and was a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases. He also had two RBI and two of his five hits were for extra bases for a .692 slugging percentage.

The Bears (2-2) also got 6.2 solid innings on Sunday from junior Nick Miller (Loveland, Colo.) on the mound. Miller allowed the Huskies (0-3) just two runs on seven hits. He didn't walk a single batter and struck out five in his first appearance of the year. Miller also went 1-for-4 at the plate with a sacrifice bunt, hitting third in the order.

Senior Kevin Willman (Aurora, Colo.) threw the final 2.1 innings, giving up just two hits and one walk, while striking out three to get his first save.

"I thought our guys held themselves together," Iwasaki said. "Defense and pitching was the key to the game today. Nick Miller did a great job, obviously, and Kevin Willman came in and finished off the game – not allowing a run – and he did his job on the hill today."

Northern Colorado got the first run of the contest, scoring one in the second inning. Schneider singled to start things off and stole second base. He came around to score on a double down the left field line by junior Landon Moseley (Lawrence, Kan.).

Northern Illinois took the lead, scoring two in the bottom of the third, but the Bears kept the Huskies off the scoreboard the rest of the day.

Schneider's home run in the sixth tied the score at 2-2 and the Bears took the lead with one run in the seventh. Junior Ben Netzel (Loveland) singled to start the frame, moved to second on a successful sacrifice bunt by redshirt freshman Rob Cashel (Park City, Utah) and scored on a single by senior Dylan Banach (Westminster, Colo.) that went back up the middle.

The Bears return home to host Regis on Saturday and Sunday. Both games are set to begin at noon at Jackson Field. Admission to all baseball games is free at home this season, thanks to Colorado Credit Union.

 "We'll take a split in our opening weekend," Iwasaki concluded. "I think there's a great opportunity for us coming up next weekend with Regis."