Huskies drop final home series


The Huskies closed its final home stand with two losses to the University of Toledo Rockets.

By Roland Hacker

DeKalb — The baseball team lost two of three games this weekend against the University of Toledo Rockets at Ralph McKinzie Field.

NIU dropped the first two games of the series but rebounded to win the finale Sunday.

Sunday was also Senior Day and the Huskies celebrated with a blowout victory.

“We have spurts where we have a couple great days and then a couple lows,” said Head Coach Mike Kunigonis. “We need to get better and that’s been our mantra: to go out and get better.”

Friday — Rockets 6, Huskies 3

Senior outfielder Scooter Bynum opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning with a solo homerun.

Senior outfielder Joe Jumonville followed suit with a solo homerun of his own in the bottom of the fourth inning. Redshirt junior infielder Ty Jandrowski extended the lead to 3-0 with an RBI sacrifice fly allowing Bynum to score later in the fourth inning.

Senior pitcher Tanner Foster worked a scoreless game into the eighth inning when he gave up a solo homerun. He finished the inning, and left the game with a 3-1 lead.

In the top of the ninth inning, redshirt senior pitcher Andrew Frankenreider came on in relief of Foster. Frankenreider gave up a two-run home run that tied the game and ultimately forced extra innings.

The Rockets went back to work in the tenth inning, scoring three more runs to give them a 6-3 lead. The Huskies failed to respond in the bottom half of the inning, sealing their extra innings defeat.

Saturday — Rockets 15, Huskies 0

The game was deadlocked at zero through three innings, but the play became one-sided after that. The Rockets scored two runs in the fourth inning and added four more in the sixth inning. Toledo continued to crush the ball, getting 19 hits and winning 15-0.

Freshman pitcher Michael Lasiewicz started the game for the Huskies and allowed six earned runs in six innings of work. The bullpen did not fare any better, allowing nine more runs in the remaining three innings of the game.

Sophomore pitcher Eric Hammer was the only NIU pitcher that did not allow a run Saturday.

Sunday — Huskies 12, Rockets 4

The Huskies drew first blood in the series finale. Jumonville grounded out in the second inning with runners on second and third, but putting the ball in play plated a run for NIU.

The Rockets answered back in the top of the third with a three-run homerun.

The rest of the day was all Huskies after that as NIU outscored Toledo 11-1.

As the Huskies got the bats going, senior pitcher George Faue came in and shut things down in relief of starting junior pitcher William Anderson. Faue worked 4.1 innings and allowed just one run on two hits.

“Today was a fantastic day for [Faue,]” Kunigonis said. “He’s shown in his career here that he is very good out of the bullpen. It’s one of those things, when he comes out of the ‘pen, our guys just know it’s going to be a quick [inning.]”

Sunday was also Senior Day and Kunigonis worked as many seniors into the lineup as he could, including bringing in senior pitcher Donovan Simms to get the last out of the game.

“Anytime we can win it’s great,” Kunigonis said. “On this day, it’s more special to be able to send [the seniors] off with a positive note from this field. I want to send these seniors out with as many wins as we possibly can. It was great to do it today, and we have to continue to do it the rest of the way.”

The Huskies return to action 2 p.m. Friday in Bowling Green, Ohio to take on the Falcons.

“We still have eight games left to play,” Kunigonis said. “My message to this group was that it doesn’t matter what the standings are, I want us to finish as high as we possibly can.”