Baseball falls to Illinois State

By Brian Earle

Baseball dropped its midweek matchup against the Illinois State Redbirds 7-3 Tuesday at Illinois State.

The Huskies (11-19) jumped to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when junior Joe Battaglia singled to left field, driving in junior Jeff Zimmerman from third base.

The Huskies’ lead was short-lived, as the Redbirds (15-15) stormed back with four runs in the bottom half of the second to take the lead, 4-1.

The big hit in the inning came on a double to center field from senior Brett Kay, which drove in two runs. After Kay was able to advance to third base on a wild pitch, junior Mike Hollenbeck delivered an RBI single to left field, driving in Kay.

Following the Redbirds’ four runs, the Huskies answered back with two runs of their own in the third inning. With freshman Danny Seiton at second base and senior Jamison Wells at first, junior Alex Klonowski singled to center field, driving in Seiton from second base.

Later with the bases loaded, junior Landon Tenhagen drove in Wells from third on a fielder’s choice where Tenhagen was thrown out at first.

“Well that was good, that was exciting,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “I think we actually left that inning thinking we should have had a couple more, we had a couple base running glitches. You know we talk about that momentum thing all the time and coming right back… But we just didn’t sustain it tonight.”

From there on out, the Huskies struggled to do anything offensively and it was all Redbirds. The Redbirds increased their lead in the fourth to 7-3 when they added three more runs.

Freshman pitcher Bobby Kuntzendorf was not as effective as he was in his previous start as he pitched 4.1 innings and gave up seven runs, only five of which were earned.

“His big thing was he was having trouble commanding his breaking ball and falling behind hitters,” Mathey said. “And when you’re falling behind hitters and having trouble commanding your off-speed pitch, you got to throw fastballs and that plays into the hitter’s approach, so they were able to get a good piece of the bat on them.”

What concerned Mathey the most was that his usually solid defensive team did not play as sharp, having four errors in the game, leading to four unearned runs.

“I was talking with one of the coaches, I feel this might have been our probably worst defensive effort,” Mathey said. “There were four errors out there; we just weren’t moving our feet to get to the ball, and there was no excuses because the weather conditions were really good and they [have] infield turf.”