DeKALB, Ill. -- A three-run second inning was all Northern Illinois needed Friday afternoon in a 3-1 Mid-American Conference victory over Miami at Ralph McKinzie Field. Huskie starter Jordan Ruckman held the RedHawks to just two hits in the complete-game victory.
A Kevin Bower single in the first and a leadoff triple by Jake Romano in the eighth were the only offense that Miami could muster. Only four other RedHawks reached base in the contest -- two by walk, one who was hit by a pitch and another on a Huskie error.
Northern Illinois (17-22, 12-4) scored all of its runs after two outs were recorded in the second inning. A single, wild pitch, walk and hit batsman loaded the bases. An infield single drove in a run before a bouncer up the middle made the score 2-0. An error on a grounder to shortstop Scott Slappey allowed the final Huskie run to cross the plate.
Miami (19-21, 9-7) threatened early, putting a runner on in the second and runners on first and second in the third, but the next batter registered the third out in both cases. The RedHawks had just three more baserunners the rest of the contest, including Romano, who scored from third on a groundout to make the score 3-1.
Ruckman, who improved to 2-6, retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced, finishing with five strikeouts. Miami starter Brooks Fiala (5-5) took the loss, allowing seven hits and the three runs (two earned) in 7.0 innings. He walked two and struck out three, tied for his lowest total of the year.
The two teams meet again tomorrow as the series continues. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. (CT).