Bobcats take series over Huskies

Roland Hacker

DeKALB — The baseball team (8-18, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) dropped two of three games in its weekend series against the Ohio University Bobcats.

Saturday featured a double header split by the two teams with Ohio taking Sunday’s rubber match by a score of 12-4.

“We battled all day in that doubleheader and [that] gave us a chance going into Sunday,” said Head Coach Mike Kunigonis. “It didn’t go our way [Sunday]. It was big not to get swept, and we’re one weekend away [from] being right back in [the] top half of the league.”

Saturday game one — Bobcats 6, Huskies 1

The Huskies scored an unearned run on a fielding error in the top of the third inning to take an early lead.

Ohio responded in the bottom half of the inning, scoring on a single to left field and a subsequent throwing error by senior outfielder Joe Jumonville.

Ohio’s third inning run was the first of six unanswered runs. They scored again in the bottom of the fourth inning and exploded for four runs in the fifth inning.

“I think we’re pretty close to where we want to be,” Kunigonis said. “Our record may not be perceived that way, but for the coaching staff and our group, we know we’re close. Things are going to turn around, hopefully sooner than later.”

Saturday game two — Huskies 6, Bobcats 5

Ohio jumped out to an early lead in game two of the doubleheader, scoring two runs on a pair of doubles in the first inning.

Ohio scored another unearned run on a passed ball in the eighth inning.

Despite allowing three runs, freshman pitcher Michael Lasiewicz turned in another good performance. Lasiewicz allowed no earned runs and four hits, while striking out five batters in just over seven innings on the mound.

The Huskies scored their first run in the fourth inning. Freshman outfielder Connor Montgomery hit a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing freshman outfielder Kam Smith to advance to third base. A throwing error on the play allowed Smith to then proceed home.

NIU scored again in the fifth inning when senior outfielder Scooter Bynum scampered home on a wild pitch.

Smith got caught in a run down in the seventh inning, allowing sophomore catcher Jake Dunham to score on the play.

The game went to extra innings tied at three. Once extra innings began, the game heated up.

Jumonville drove in two runs with a base hit to center field in the top half of the tenth inning.

Sophomore infielder Tommy Szczasny followed suit with an RBI base hit to center field of his own.

In the bottom half of the inning, Ohio scored two runs of their own, but NIU was able to hang on and clinch victory in the second half of the double header.

“As a team, we really battled in that second game,” Kunigonis said. “We had a lot of guys doing a lot of good things to get us that win. It’s a team effort, not an individual efforts. We win and lose as a team.”

Sunday — Bobcats 12, Huskies 4

In the rubber match Ohio came roaring out of the gates, scoring 12 unanswered runs in just the first four innings of the game. Ohio was aided by the long ball, blasting a pair of three run homers in the fourth inning.

Senior infielder Samuel Vega got the Huskies started in the sixth inning with an RBI single to score freshman infielder Tommy Washington. Dunham followed up with an RBI single of his own.

NIU was back at it in the seventh inning, scoring another pair of runs in consecutive innings. Washington reached on an error, allowing Smith to score. After that, senior infielder Brad Wood hit an RBI sacrifice fly.

The Huskies’ rally fell well short and the game ended with a score of 12-4.

The baseball team will go back to work against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers 3 p.m. Tuesday at Ralph McKinzie Field.

“We’re looking to bounce back Tuesday and bring some momentum into the home stand,” Kunigonis said. “It’ll be nice to be home for awhile and sleep in our own beds and be at our own facilities.”