May 1, 2006
IOWA CITY, Iowa -
Senior Julio Siberio played a major role in every one of the Northwestern three wins over the weekend at Iowa. In games one and two he picked up two saves, the first of which he threw two and two-third innings. In game four (today's second game) he pitched the last five and one-third innings, helping NU win the second game of Sunday's doubleheader 7-6. The win kept NU in prime position for a Big Ten Championship run with three weeks left in the Big Ten season. The weekend's three wins also helped NU (17-24, 14-6) keep pace with Michigan (26-15, 14-6) and keep them in a tie for first place.
After losing game one 16-2, NU went out in front 1-0 in the top of the third inning. Sophomore Max Mann (Los Angeles, Calif./Brentwood) led off with a double to center and went to third on a Geoff Dietz (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurch) sacrifice bunt. Shortstop Tommy Finn's (Valparaiso, Ind./Andrean) groundout to second base scored Mann for the first run of the game.
With a pitching staff depleted after throwing numerous innings in the first three games of the series, junior George Kontos (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) stepped up for the team and started the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. Kontos also started game one of the twin-bill and in game two lasted three and two-third innings before senior Julio Siberio (Davie, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) took over.
Siberio was as good as he has been all season. After giving up a single to the first batter he faced, he gave up only one hit over the next four innings before three hits in the ninth.
Siberio took over for Kontos in the bottom of the fourth inning when Iowa took a 4-1 lead.
The Wildcats responded with three runs of its own in the top of the fifth inning. Catcher Geoff Dietz's (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) sacrifice fly, which scored Anthony Wycklendt (Glendale, Wis./Nicolet), preceded Finn's RBI infield single. Mann scored on Finn's hit. Wycklendt and Mann led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Following Finn's single, Aaron Newman (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) singled to right field and went to third on a Jake Owens (Stevens Points, Wis./Pacelli) double. He scored on a wild pitch and in turn tied the score 4-4.
NU went ahead 7-4 in the top of the seventh inning on four hits and sacrifice fly. Finn hit a one out single up the middle and went to third on pinch-hitter Tony Vercelli's (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) double down the left field line. Both runners crossed the plate after Owens singled up the middle. After an Iowa pitching change, first baseman Pat McMahon (Mundelein, Ill./Carmel) singled to center, moving Owens to third. After a Dan Brauer (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton-Warrenville South) walk, Owens scored on a Caleb Fields (Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick) sacrifice fly ball to left field.
Iowa mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Siberio held on for the win. He gave up two runs on three hits. Siberio totaled 9.0 innings pitched for the weekend with two saves and a game-four win. He now has three career saves--all this season and in Big Ten play--and leads the team with a 3.55 ERA in 13 appearances (five starts).
Northwestern is next in action when it takes on Northern Illinois at Kane County this Wednesday at 7 p.m. It is the second-consecutive year the two teams will meet at a neutral site.