May 9, 2004

NKU WINS GLVC CHAMPIONSHIP

Norse defeat UM-St. Louis, 3-1, to capture GLVC Tournament title

SAUGET, Ill. - Brad Baker came out of the bullpen and pitched 4 2/3 innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball Sunday afternoon as Northern Kentucky University won the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament with a 3-1 victory against the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Keith Jackson gave NKU (37-23) a 1-0 lead in the first inning by hammering his second home run of the season over the fence in left field. The Norse made it 2-0 in the third inning when Matt Wagers hit a run-scoring double that drove in Craig Craddock from second base.

NKU starter Matt Marksbury was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury with one out in the third inning, and Baker replaced the freshman on the mound. Baker did not allow a hit until the seventh inning, finished with three strikeouts and recorded his first victory over the season.

NKU upped its lead to 3-0 in the sixth inning when Conor McGeehan doubled and later came home on Craddock’s RBI single. Missouri-St. Louis (30-23-1) avoided a shutout by scoring a run in the ninth inning off closer Justin Seiter, who earned his ninth save of the spring despite allowing two hits and a run in one inning.

Jackson went 2-for-5 for NKU, while teammate Jerrod Fraley was 3-for-5. NKU pitching limited the opposition to just five runs in four GLVC Tournament games en route to the title.

It marked the second time in the past three years NKU has won the GLVC Tournament championship. The Norse also captured the 2002 title at Highland Heights, Ky.

NKU is the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Division II North Central Region Tournament, which will be hosted by top-seeded Ashland University May 13-15. NKU will meet Ashland in the first round Thursday at 3 p.m.

NKU, which was 17-18 after losing the opener of a doubleheader against Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on April 11, will enter the NCAA Tournament having won 20 of its past 25 games.

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Keith Jackson