Baseball drops four games in Arizona

By Brian Thomas

The competition level didn’t get any easier for NIU baseball as it dropped four more games over the weekend in Arizona.

The Huskies (0-10) played two top 25 ranked teams in Arizona St. and Oregon St. They also played Winthrop and Saint Mary’s.

NIU lost to Winthrop Thursday, 14-7, Arizona St. Friday, 4-3, Saint Mary’s Saturday, 10-5, and Oregon St. Sunday, 11-3.

“The teams down here are pretty good,” said NIU coach Ed Mathey. “They all play pretty well. I know two of the teams are ranked in the top 25, but Winthrop was a regional team a couple of years ago and they have had a good program down there and Saint Mary’s has also done a good job.”

The Huskies almost came away with a win against No. 11 ranked Arizona St. Friday, as they were tied at three in the bottom of the ninth inning when Abe Ruiz got the game-winning single that drove in Joey DeMichele to beat the huskies.

NIU senior Jake Hermsen gave a career performance as he pitched a career high seven and two thirds innings while recording eight strikeouts.

“It would have been one of those big wins for a program,” Mathey said. “We’ve done that before in the past. I told the guys what I was most excited about was the level that we played at, our energy, our enthusiasm, our focus and that was going to be a challenge for us the next two days and we just didn’t get back to that.”

What the Huskies learned about themselves this weekend is that they need to be more consistent as a team.

“We have to get more consistent in a few areas,” Mathey said. “We have to get more consistent in terms of our pitching. Obviously, we have to do a better job with that. We need to work ahead in the counts; pitching is a big part of baseball, and ours has not been very consistent We need to start executing.”

Offensively, in the four games that NIU played, it recorded 36 hits but only scored 18 runs.

“From an offensive stand point, we need to do a better job of getting on base,” Mathey said. “We need to draw a few more walks, get ourselves a few more opportunities and come through on those opportunities.”