OXFORD, Ohio – The RedHawk baseball team opened its critical series against Northern Illinois with a 9-5 victory on Thursday at McKie Field. The win kept Miami's MAC Tournament hopes alive heading into game two on Friday, which begins at 4 p.m.
The Huskies jumped out to the game’s first lead with a solo shot in the top of the second, but the Red & White would strike right back with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Adam Yacek led off the Miami half with a double to left center before Cal Elvers reached on an error while trying to sacrifice bunt. With runners now on the corners, Steve Sada laid down a safety squeeze bunt single to plate Yacek and knot the game at 1-all. Carlos Texidor followed with a sacrifice bunt of his own, moving Elvers and Sada to third and second base, respectively, which set up yet another safety squeeze, this time by Hayden Senger. Tyler Harris capped the inning with an RBI single through the left side, bringing Sada in to touch home and give the ‘Hawks a 3-1 edge.
NIU would cut its deficit in half in the third by scoring on a fielder’s choice. The Huskies tacked on two more in the top of the fourth to take retake the lead at 4-3. However, Miami had an answer yet again, pushing across two tallies of their own to move back in front, 5-4, courtesy of a two-run blast by Tyler Harris.
The Huskies pulled even again in the sixth, plating one on a sacrifice fly. But again, the RedHawks had something to say about that. In bottom of the inning, Sada hustled home from third on a wild pitch and Senger recorded a sacrifice fly to move Miami out to a 7-5 margin.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Red & White got themselves some insurance with another pair of tallies. Dallas Hall led things off with a walk, which was followed by a Ross Haffey single and a Landon Stephens hit by pitch. With the bases loaded, Yacek lifted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Hall. Elvers followed with RBI single through the left side to score Haffey and get MU a 9-5 lead.
Seniors Harris (3-for-5) and Sada (2-for-4) finished with multi-hit days. All but one RedHawk tallied a run for Miami while seven notched at least one hit.
RedHawk starting pitcher Grant Hartwig went three innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out one. Nick Ernst (W, 3-2) handled the final six innings of work, surrendering just two runs on four hits. He also recorded four punch outs. NIU starter George Faue took the loss for the Huskies after tossing 5.1 innings while allowing seven runs on eight hits.