Baseball no longer winless

By Brian Thomas

NIU baseball went on a nine game road trip across the Midwest over the spring break period.

The Huskies (4-16) went in without a win, but went 4-5 in the overall trip earning wins against Austin Peay, (5-1) in a 10 inning affair, Arkansas St, (6-5) Southern Illinois (9-4) and Illinois in a (3-0) shutout.

To earn its first win of the season, NIU had to go into extra innings against the Governors, but in the 10th inning it exploded for four runs.

“It felt pretty good,” said NIU coach Ed Mathey. “The guys were starting to press a little bit, but getting that first one against a pretty good Austin Peay team, beating their number one pitcher on their home field. It was a good win for us.”

The Huskies would win back-to-back games as they came out on top over Arkansas St. due to their strong defense and senior Tony Manville’s strong 7.1 innings pitched.

After the back-to-back wins, NIU would drop its next five games, ending with a 7-2 loss at the hands of Illinois.

In the loss to Illinois, NIU senior Alex Jones tripled in the eighth inning to make him the all-time career leader in triples with 12 in his career. The record had stood since 1980 when Jeff Sevenich tied Tom Wittum’s record of 11 triples from 1972.

“Alex is proud of that and he should be,” Mathey said. “I think Alex would be the first one to tell you that he would have traded that for a win in that game, but it’s great for him. He earned it. He’s been a good player for us and someone we can count heavily on.”

The Huskies would close their road trip strong as they won their last two games against the Salukis Saturday and the Illini Sunday.

NIU trailed Southern Illinois 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning and then scored eight runs over the next two innings to win the game.

Against the Illini, the Huskies got a strong pitching performance from junior Taylor Nawrocki, who went 8.1 innings allowing zero runs while striking out four batters.

NIU senior Kyle Glancy came into the game in the ninth inning with a runner on first and closed the door on the Illini to earn his third save of the year and complete the shut-out.