Baseball drops first two games against Chippewas

Roland Hacker

The baseball team dropped both games of a double header Friday to the Central Michigan University Chippewas at in its home opener at Ralph McKinzie Field.

“That wasn’t how we wanted to come out and start league play,” said Head Coach Mike Kunigonis. “We have a lot of things we need to clean up. We didn’t take care of the baseball today and it showed on the scoreboard.”

NIU got shut out 6-0 in game one of the double header.

Chippewas junior starting pitcher Pat Leatherman tossed a gem, throwing six innings of shutout baseball. Leatherman only allowed four hits and two walks while striking out eight Huskies.

Junior Tanner Foster started the game on the mound for NIU. He allowed four runs in five innings of work, but none of the runs were earned.

Junior second baseman Jason Sullivan drove in two runs, including the game winner for Central Michigan.

“We had a tough day with the bats,” Kunigonis said. “Those guys did a great job pitching on the other side. They kept us off balance. We’ve got to bounce back and get ready to go for game three.”

The Huskies got off to a rocky start in game two of the double header, giving up a two-run double to Central Michigan freshman Griffin Lockwood-Powell in the top of the first inning.

Huskies senior pitcher Donovin Sims went to work with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the fourth inning and emerged unscathed to keep the Huskies only down two runs

“That was pretty big for me and the team,” Sims said. “If that went the other way, we would probably be down six runs or so. I felt really good to get out of it and thought that might help us win the game.”

Kunigonis said it was unfortunate the team could not capitalize on Sims’ performance.

“That was a great job there,” Kunigonis said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalize on the momentum and keep it rolling. That was a great job by [Sims] to get us out of that. We shouldn’t have even been there, but we had an error or two that inning.”

The only offense NIU could produce in either game was a sixth inning inside the park home run by junior Hunter Bross. The second game ended with a final score of 8-1.

The Huskies are back 12 p.m. Sunday for the series finale at Ralph McKinzie Field to try and avoid a sweep at the hands of Central Michigan.