March 3, 2011
SURPRISE, Ariz. - Air Force baseball rallied from a 4-1 deficit to down Northern Illinois, 10-8, Thursday afternoon at the Coca-Cola Classic at the Surprise Sports Complex. The win improved the Falcons to 4-4 and dropped the Huskies to 0-7.
Trailing 5-3, Air Force erupted with a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by a two-out grand slam by sophomore Alex Bast. Freshman Patrick Lobo also connected for a homer in the seventh inning, which was the first of his career.
Falcon starter pitcher Evan Abrecht improved to 3-0 on the season with five gritty innings pitched. After allowing four runs in the first inning, the junior right-hander settled down and held Northern Illinois to one run over the next four innings.
Sophomore Alex Baker gave the Falcons solid middle-relief pitching, working his way out of several jams in 2.1 innings worked. Baker gave way to closer Stephen Colangelo, who retired the side in the ninth inning to pick up his first career save. Kincaid Koehler and Mike Kazakoff also pitched in relief for the Falcons.
The Falcons and Huskies had 14 hits in the game. Lobo led the way for AFA, going 3-for-5 with the homer. Bast went 2-for-4 with the grand slam. Blair Roberts, Nathan Carter, Seth Kline and Matthew Roberts also added two hits each.
Alex Jones and Jeff Zimmerman led NIU with three hits each. Jamis Wells also added a pair of doubles. Northern Illiois starting pitcher Zach Oates (0-3) took the loss, allowing nine runs in 6.2 innings pitched.
After the Falcons scored a run to start the game, Northern Illinois put up four runs in the bottom of the inning to lead 4-1. The Falcons chipped away at the lead with two runs in the fourth to pull to one run. The Huskies put up a run in the fifth to make it a 5-3 game.
Air Force then put together a two-out rally in the sixth by working a bases loaded situation with a hit-by-pitch to Garrett Custons. Blair Roberts also got plunked on the very next pitch to push across the first run of the inning. Bast then stepped up and sent a rocket shot over the fence down the leftfield line to put the Falcons ahead.
Lobo then connected for a solo homer in the seventh and NIU responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to make it a 9-8 game after seven. The Falcons manufactured a run in the eighth to round out the scoring.
Air Force returns to action Friday, taking on UC Riverside at 4 p.m. Live updates will be available through the Air Force Athletics twitter page. http://twitter.com/AF_Falcons