May 15, 2005
DEKALB, Ill. - The Miami University RedHawks (34-14,14-4 MAC) took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning versus Northern Illinois (14-33,4-17 MAC) but surrendered single runs in both the eight and ninth innings and were defeated 3-2. Miami's hopes of winning the Mid-American Conference regular season championship are still alive as Ball State University lost its game to Marshall by a score of 7-3. The RedHawks must now win all three games versus Kent State next weekend to host the MAC Tournament.
For the first time in the series Miami got on the board first with a run off NIU's Brian Smith in the top of the second inning. Senior Brian Canada (Fishers, Ind.) singled with one out and advanced to third on junior Geoff Orr's (Orland Park, Ill.) hit-and-run single to right. The ensuing throw to second base by Northern Illinois' rightfielder skipped past a pair of infielders and allowed Canada to score, making it 1-0 for Miami.
Northern Illinois countered with a single run of its own in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jake Blair's ninth home run of the season was the first hit off the game off Miami's John Ely (Homewood, Ill.) and made the score 1-1.
Miami took a 2-1 lead with a run in the top half of the seventh inning. The RedHawks put runners on first and second with one out in the inning when junior Jason Brown (Fairfield, Ohio) rolled a groundball toward second base. The second baseman tried to tag out Orr, who was the runner on first, but Orr avoided the tag, forcing a throw to first base. After the out was recorded at first, Orr found himself in a rundown between first and second and stayed in it long enough to allow senior Paul Frietch (Cincinnati, Ohio) to score all the way from second base.
The Huskies pushed across a run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a pair of hits and a sacrifice bunt. After giving up another hit that put runners on first and second, Ely was lifted with two outs in favor of freshman Connor Graham (Bowling Green, Ohio). Graham quickly put out the fire as he fanned Mike Santoro, the first batter he faced, on three pitches.
Graham retired the first batter he faced in the ninth inning but after a short delay due to an injured umpire, he walked a batter and then allowed consecutive singles that plated the winning run for Northern Illinois.
The loss dropped Graham's record to 4-4 on the season. Brian Smith was credited with the win for Northern Illinois and moved to 5-6.
Notes: Miami (14-4) has clinched the MAC East title as they are more than three games ahead of both Akron and Kent State, both of which are at 9-7.