By Jordan Milewczik
The Missouri Tiger Baseball team downs another opponent to extend its win streak to six games with a 6-3 victory. They haven’t dropped a game since Feb 29 against No. 22 Oklahoma, and the victim this time was the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Huskies.
NIU came in after being swept in three games by Southern Illinois this past weekend. They look to try and rebound their season as they fell below .500 due to the sweep.
Both teams would send new starters to the mound. The Tigers sent Freshman Shane Wilhelm to the mound. Wilhelm has been solid out of the bullpen this season and got the start with a 4.26 ERA through 6.1 innings of work and a subpar outing against Texas on March 1.
“I think he didn’t have his best stuff but he battled,” Peter Zimmermann said. “I’ve seen him be better … but he’s young though. He’ll continue to get better and better and be a dude here for years to come.”
Paul Turelli got the nod for the Huskies against their toughest opponent of the season. He came into the day with a 2.31 ERA in 11.2 innings pitched through five appearances. He would throw a season high seven strikeouts against the Tigers.
Both teams had a near identical first inning as they would combine for six runs. Jake Dunham would open the scoring with a laser into the Tiger bullpen in left field to give the Huskies an early lead and get under Wilhelm’s skin.
Zimmermann would continue to solidify himself as an offensive threat while Brandt Belk is out with a shoulder injury. Zimmermann responded in the bottom of the inning by hitting the ball to the exact same spot but put the ball completely out of the park.
“I think everyone knew that [was gone],” head coach Steve Bieser said. “He hit that well, and it made the right sound.”
Wilhelm and Turelli would then enter a pitching duel until they would exit the game. Turelli would strike out six of nine batters following Zimmermann’s home run. Wilhelm wouldn’t let an NIU player past second base until he was pulled following the fourth inning.
“I felt like I settled in and battled out of tough spots,” Shane Wilhelm said. “Just one bad pitch and he took advantage of it.
Scoring was scarce until the bottom of the fifth inning when Missouri tacked on two more runs. The Tigers would capitalize on an error by the right fielder with Mark Vierling bringing in Austin James and Chad McDonald singling in Blake Jackson.
After that inning, the Tigers would take full control of the game. They would tack on another run in the seventh on a wild throw to second base on a throw down. Missouri would hold on to win the game by a final of 6-3. The teams will square off again Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
“We can’t look forward to the weekend because this is a good team,” Zimmermann said. “They battled today, and they’re gonna come out hungry tomorrow.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org