Baseball drops to 7-5 in MAC play after series loss to Western Michigan

James Krause

DeKALB — The baseball team avoided its second conference sweep of the season, but dropped the series to the Western Michigan Broncos this weekend.

After losing Friday and in the opener of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies won the getaway game to stay above .500 in Mid-American Conference play.

Head Coach Mike Kunigonis said his team earned their lone victory after fighting hard all series.

“We battled all day and salvaged our weekend with a big inning in the second game,” Kunigonis said in an April 13 NIU Athletics news release. “We did a great job to play hard all day and it paid off in the end.”


Friday – Broncos 9, Huskies 4

Junior catcher Jake Dunham opened the scoring for the Huskies in the second with a solo shot to put NIU up 1-0.

The Broncos took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second before NIU tied the game with a junior outfielder Brendan Joyce RBI single.

The Huskies retook the lead in the fourth after junior first baseman Jordan Larson doubled to tally two RBIs as NIU took a 4-2 lead.

After scoring one run in the fifth, WMU tied the contest with an RBI from sophomore infielder Logan Hudson. Another two runs scored off a senior infielder Cooper Marshall double and two more from sophomore outfielder Blake Dunn scored to give the Broncos an 8-4 lead after six innings.

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The Huskies had opportunities to pull out the win but left eight runners on base without scoring in the last three innings, including stranding the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth.

WMU junior pitcher Will Mullen picked up the win, pitching 4.2 scoreless relief innings despite allowing 11 hits.


Saturday Morning – Broncos 10, Huskies 4

The Huskies look to bounce back but the Broncos opened the scoring with four runs in the second inning. The rally was started by a 2-RBI double by junior infielder Drew Devline. WMU scored on a sac fly and an RBI single by senior infielder Jimmy Roche to complete the inning.

NIU got their only run in the first five innings off a sac fly in the third, while WMU scored three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth to lead 9-1 half way through the contest.

A sac fly RBI by first-year outfielder Nick Drobushevich gave NIU their second run in the sixth, followed by a single from Larson to score another made the score 9-3.

Drobushevich homered in the eighth to reach 20 RBIs on the season, but this would be the closest the Huskies would get to the Broncos, losing 10-4.

Senior pitcher William Anderson recorded his fourth loss of the season, giving up five earned runs in 3.1 innings of work.


Saturday Afternoon – Huskies 12, Broncos 6

The Huskies trailed early 5-3, but a great fifth inning at the plate gave them the boost to avoid the sweep.

Junior outfielder Dylan Lonteen led off the scoring for NIU with an RBI double to bring the Huskies within one.

With a double down the left field line, Dunham knocked in the tying and go-ahead runs for the Huskies. Dunham would finish the weekend hitting 4-10 with four RBIs.

Junior outfielder Kam Smith, who had two RBIs early in the game, singled to right to score one and give NIU a 7-5 lead.

Drobushevich finished the five-run inning by stealing home to give NIU a 8-5 lead. The first-year also kicked off the scoring the following inning with a 2-RBI single.

Junior pitcher Tristan Michael would be credited with the win in the eventual 12-6 contest, pitching 3.1 relief innings.

The Huskies conference record improved to 7-5, putting them at fourth in the MAC standings behind Miami of Ohio, Ball State and Central Michigan.

NIU will play a pair of back-to-back non-conference games this week, starting on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The team then returns home to start a four-game home stint against the Trinity Christian Trolls starting 3 p.m. Wednesday.