Baseball drops second straight 3-game series

By Brian Earle

Baseball dropped its second straight three-game conference series over the weekend at the hands of Bowling Green in Westfield, Ind.

The Huskies won the series opener Friday in impressive fashion, shutting out the Falcons 9-0. The Huskies used three pitchers to complete the shutout, led by starter Anthony Andres.

“Bowling Green can put some runs up, and they have done that. They have some dangerous weapons in their lineup,” said coach Ed Mathey. “For us, it was good to pitch the ball and close it out with a zero and hopefully that will give us some momentum.”

Andres lasted six innings and gave up five hits and four walks while fanning two batters. Dirk Ormsby gave up one hit in two innings, and Jordan Ruckman pitched a perfect ninth inning to close the game.

“[Anthony] had a couple tough innings that he had to make some pitches to get out of and he did and our defense was up to the cause, too,” Mathey said. “Anthony wasn’t as clean as he can be, but it was effective. Dirk Ormsby I thought was throwing the ball very well… . Jordan Ruckman came in and I thought Jordan was up to his old self, in terms of he was throwing the ball effectively in the strike zone.”

The Huskies got off to a quick start at the plate, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. With infielder Tommy Hook on third base and infielder Justin Fletcher on second base, designated hitter Micah McCulloch drove them both in on a single through the left side.

The Huskies added three more runs in the top of the third when outfielder Brandon Mallder drove in three runs on a bases clearing double to right field, scoring infielder Alex Klonowski, Fletcher and Hook.

NIU recorded 10 hits, three coming from Fletcher, who scored each time he got on base. Mallder was perfect at the plate, going two for two with four RBIs and three walks.

Due to poor weather conditions on Saturday, the teams played a double-header Sunday in which the Huskies lost both games.

In game one, the Huskies struggled to get anything going offensively as they were defeated 4-1. They recorded just one hit in the game, which came in the top of the sixth inning from Hook.

The Huskies scored their lone run in the top of the second inning. Klonowski reached first base on a fielding error by Bowling Green first baseman Jeremy Shay. Later with Klonowski on third base, Mallder grounded out to the shortstop, which drove in Klonowski.

The Falcons answered back in the bottom of the second for two runs of their own to take a 2-1 lead. They recorded three hits in the inning and took advantage of an error by McCullochin right field.

Bowling Green pitcher Mike Frank kept the Huskies in check on the mound for seven innings. He surrendered the lone hit, gave up three walks and struck out three batters. Pitcher Ethan McKenney earned the save as he blanked the Huskies in the final two innings.

“Their pitcher was effective, he had a pretty good slider going today,” Mathey said. “You know, you just tip your cap to him and say ‘Hey, get ‘em next time.’”

The Huskies got the bats going again in the series finale, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 7-3. A five run fifth inning from the Falcons led to the Huskies’ demise as they gave up four hits and committed two costly errors in the inning.

NIU had its chances at the plate, recording 10 hits, but stranded seven runners on base.

“That’s a good news, bad news thing,” Mathey said. “The bad news is you’re not driving in runs, the good news is you’re getting guys out there, you just have to continue to work at it.”