Baseball gets swept in opening weekend


James Krause

The baseball team’s chance to spoil the Division I debut of Cal Baptist University went up in smoke this weekend with a sweep at the hands of the Lancers in Riverside, California.

Playing a pair of doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday, the Huskies start the season 0-4 for the first time since 2016.

Sophomore infielder Connor Montgomery found success from the batters box, picking up a pair of home runs in the four games. Junior infielder Tommy Szczasny displayed plate discipline, hitting only 2-for-12 but reaching base on four walks.

Saturday Afternoon-Lancers 8, Huskies 4

Sophomore pitcher Michael Lasiewicz struggled early, allowing the Lancers to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first. CBU took an early 1-0 lead after senior designated hitter Ryan Mota hit into a double play to bring home senior infielder Luke Navigato.

NIU put up its first two runs with homers in the second inning from Montgomery and first-year outfielder Nick Drobushevich in his first career collegiate at-bat.

The Huskies took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the second, but it didn’t last long. Lancers junior first baseman John Glenn hit a homerun on the first pitch of the inning, tying the game at two. A double from Navigato late in the inning brought home a pair of runs to end the second with the Lancers leading 4-2.

After a walk at the start of the third, neither team managed to put a runner on base until the fifth inning when first-year infielder Paddy McKermitt reached on a throwing error by the catcher after a strikeout.

A bunt from junior outfielder Brendan Joyce loaded the bases for junior infielder Dylan Lonteen. Lonteen flied out to centerfield to bring home McKermitt to make it 4-3 Lancers. Szczasny grounded into the second out, allowing Brobushevich to tie the game at 4-4.

Lasiewicz got himself out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of strikeouts, eventually exiting after five and a third innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Parker Kirkpatrick relieved Lasiewicz in the sixth with runners at first and third.

A single by Navigato broke the tie and a three-run home run by freshman outfielder Chad Castillo broke the game wide open for CBU, giving them a 8-4 lead that would later become the final.

Junior pitcher Logan Rinehart was credited with the win, striking out seven batters over seven innings. Sophomore pitcher Brian Pope was credited with a save with two innings of relief for the Lancers.

Saturday Night-Lancers 4, Huskies 2

The second game of Saturday’s double-header remained scoreless until the top of the fourth, when a hit from junior catcher Jake Dunham scored Szczasny from second, giving NIU a 1-0 lead.

The Huskies extended their lead in the sixth inning when a ground ball out by Montgomery brought in junior outfielder Kam Smith from third.

CBU soon closed the gap when Mora hit a two-run homer off senior pitcher Ty Jandrowski. The home run ended Jandrowski’s day, with two strikeouts and one walk in five and two thirds innings.

Junior pitcher Tristan Michaels held strong in relief of Jandrowski until the eighth inning. Navigato homered to lead off the inning and Mora hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot, to put the Lancers up 4-2.

CBU closed the game out with junior pitcher Matt Amrhein closing the door on the Huskies, striking out the side in the ninth.

Related: Huskies Baseball set to open season in warmer weather


Sunday Morning-Lancers 10, Huskies 7

The Huskies got the best of the Lancers starter, first-year pitcher Mason McGarvey, with NIU scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.

CBU responded with five runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Castillo and Mota both picked up RBIs on doubles, while sophomore catcher Rory Smith brought in two runs with a double of his own. Senior outfielder Billy Rockefeller brought in the final run of the first with a double.

An RBI double from Lonteen in the second shrunk the Lancers lead to 5-4, only for CBU to extend it again in the bottom of the third. Sophomore infielder Harrison Spohn put up another run with an RBI double, while Rockefeller brought home his second and third RBIs with a single.

The eight runs given up spelled the end of the day for sophomore pitcher Mike Fuentes, who gave up nine hits to 18 faced batters.

First-year pitcher Erik Hedmark made his season debut for the team, striking out four and allowing one unearned run in three innings of relief.

CBU extended their lead in the seventh with an RBI single from Smith, putting them up 10-4.

In one of the bright spots of the afternoon, Montgomery picked up his second home run of the series with a solo shot to make it 10-5 in the eighth.

Montgomery gave the Huskies a late RBI in the ninth, followed by an RBI double from sophomore infielder Alex Rodriguez. The Huskies looked to be surging, but it was too little too late, with Drobushevich grounding out to end the game and give the Lancers the series.

Sunday Afternoon-Lancers 8, Huskies 0 (7 innings)

The Huskies series on the west coast ended with a shutout at the hands of the Lancers.

NIU managed only three hits off starting sophomore pitcher Jorge Valerio, striking out six times against the right hander.

Huskies starting pitcher senior William Anderson only managed two and two thirds innings, after walking four batters and giving up four runs in the third inning.

NIU gave up another four runs in the fifth inning, with one run being scored on one of the three errors the Huskies committed in the shortened game. The game ultimately ended at 8-0 for CBU in the seventh inning.

The Huskies will look to pick up their first win of the season in the Mule Mix Classic in Tennessee this weekend. They open the classic with a game against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 3 p.m. Thursday from Murfreesboro.

NIU will play one-off games against Lipscomb, Belmont and Austin Peay in the weekend tournament