NIU slips twice to Chicago State

By David Lance

Thursday appeared to be the day the NIU baseball team would win its first game of the season.

For a while, that is.

The Huskies dropped both ends of an afternoon doubleheader at Chicago State by the scores of 4-3 and 8-2. In the first game, NIU (0-9) was closing in on its first victory as Huskies’ starting pitcher Josh Brown held CSU in check for 4-1/3 innings.

But winning 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, NIU’s losing pitcher Bernard Lee (0-1) gave up a two-run homer.

NIU’s head coach Joe “Spanky” McFarland was disappointed by his team’s near miss, but he likes the Huskies’ daily progression.

“We’ve gone from getting blown out, to being competitive,” McFarland said. “And then today, we were in the position to win the game. Maybe the next step is to get over the hump and win a game.”

The Huskies scored all three of their runs in the first inning on two hits. The rally began when infielder John Ryan’s double was followed by a walk to infielder Eric Riebel. Designated hitter Doug Feldmann then singled in Ryan, with Riebel taking third.

Riebel scored and Feldmann took second on a double steal. Following the double steal, Feldmann was on his way to stealing third when an error allowed him to go all the home.

“We had some opportunities,” McFarland said. “We didn’t pitch too bad. We’re not swinging the bat like we should, and we left a lot of guys on base. We have enough talent to win these kinds of games.”

The Huskies also led in the second game, but only briefly. Leading 2-1, four runs were scored off NIU’s losing starter Mike Young (0-3) in the second inning.

In his three innings, Young gave up six runs, but only two were earned. After the sixth inning, the game was called due to darkness.

“We’re getting better pitching,” McFarland said. “You have to give them (CSU) credit, they came out hacking. But these are the games we have to win.”