May 10, 2014

Hammer throws a gem as Bears defeat Chicago State

By PARKER COTTON

UNCBears.com

CHICAGO – A day after the home run fueled Northern Colorado's comeback at Chicago State, on Saturday the Bears were kept comfortably ahead thanks to the right arm of senior pitcher Chris Hammer.

Hammer was brilliant in his 6 2/3 innings of work as he did not allow a hit for the first 5 1/3 innings in what turned out to be an 8-4 victory for the Bears (9-40, 3-20 WAC). Hammer (Greeley) ended his day with one run allowed on three hits and four walks, but by the time the Cougars (15-34, 3-17 WAC) scored broke through against him, the damage had been done.

"Hammer pitched one of his best outings of the year," head coach Carl Iwasaki said. "He had command of his fastball and breaking ball. He competed well and deserved the victory today."

The Bears went ahead 2-0 in the first inning on hits from first baseman Nick Miller (Loveland) and third baseman Brandon Vaughn (Louisville, Colo.). Northern Colorado added three more in the third inning after catcher Andrew Coffman's (Davenport, Iowa) two-run double scored Miller and Vaughn, and shortstop Alex Drew's (Overland Park, Kan.) single scored Coffman.

The Bears added a run in the sixth, after Vaughn drew a bases-loaded walk, and two more in the seventh as Brett Stone (El Cajon, Calif.) did the same and Jensen Park (Kaneohe, Hawaii) followed with a single to complete the Bears' scoring.

Hammer walked one in the first, two in the third and one in the seventh, before being lifted for Matt Loutzenhiser (Parker) in relief. Hammer's only charged run came shortly after the pitching change and was unearned after an error at second base allowed the run to score.

Park, Miller and Drew all went 3-for-5 at the dish with a run scored and a run batted in. Stone went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and one brought in, and Vaughn and Coffman each added a pair of hits and RBIs. In total, the Bears recorded 16 hits to the Cougars' 8.

Though he did not enter the game, senior pitcher Dan Talley (Colorado Springs) had a meaningful day nonetheless, earning his degree though he was not able to walk in the day's commencement ceremony.  

The Bears look for the series sweep at 11 a.m. tomorrow. The start time has been moved up an hour due to expected rain in the area.