Baseball sweeps shortened non-conference series

By Eddie Garcia

DeKALB — The baseball team battled through the downpour to pick up two victories Sunday over the University of Evansville Purple Aces in Evansville, Indiana.

NIU had a 2-1 lead in game one on Friday until rain suspended play in the middle of the seventh inning.

The Huskies (12-26, 6-6 Mid-American Conference) and the Purple Aces (13-25, 4-5 Mountain Valley Conference) were expected to play out the remainder of game one, followed by game two, on Saturday, but both games were cancelled because of severe weather.

The series changed to a two-game series, as NIU played the remainder of game one Sunday with a 5-2 victory and shut down the Purple Aces in game two, 1-0, to take the series sweep.

Game one — NIU 5, Evansville 2

Senior pitcher Joe Hawks went six strong innings, allowing one run on three hits, with one walk while striking out seven of the 20 batters he faced. Hawks picked up his fourth win of the season as the Huskies bullpen closed out the remainder of the game Sunday when junior pitcher George Faue struck out three batters in an inning and 2/3.

Senior pitcher Ryne Blanton finished the last inning to pick up the save.

Freshman infielder Tommy Szczasny started the offense with a double in the first inning that advanced junior infielder Samuel Vega to third base.

Vega scored on the following play on an RBI ground out to first base by freshman catcher Jacob Dunham.

Szczasny hit an RBI single up the middle in his second at-bat in the third inning to score redshirt senior infielder Tommy Hook.

Szczansy finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI.

The Huskies managed to get three more insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning on a wild pitch that scored Hook from third and a two-run hit by junior infielder Joe Jumonville.

Game two — NIU 1, Evansville 0

It was a pitcher’s duel in game two, as NIU junior pitcher Donovin Sims pitched seven and 2/3 shutout innings to pick up his fourth win of the season in the 1-0 win.

Sims allowed four hits and three walks in the win, as he lowered his season ERA from 4.24 to 3.68, but ran into trouble with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning when he loaded the bases with two walks and a single in the inning.