Baseball gets swept by Tennessee


Northern Star File Photo – Jamison Wells

By Matt Hopkinson

With fear of inclement weather for the series finale, NIU baseball played three games in two days, getting swept by Tennessee.

In the first series ever between the two teams, the Huskies had hopes to show that they are a strong contender this season. However, Tennessee (3-0), defeated NIU (0-3) by scores of 7-1, 10-5, and 7-2.

The first game featured a shaky start by NIU senior pitcher Tom Barry, who allowed two runs in the first inning, while hitting two, walking one, and balking.

The Huskies could not dig themselves out of the early hole, as attempts went by the boards as they stranded seven men on base throughout the game.

“We got the hits we needed,” said NIU senior infielder Alex Beckmann. “We just need to cash in on the opportunities in RBI situations.”

The second game featured a similar shaky start on the mound for NIU, this time by senior Jake Hermsen, who surrendered six runs in the second inning, putting NIU down 6-0 early.

The Huskies would rally late, scoring three in the fifth on singles by junior Connor Duckhorn, sophomore Alex Klonowski, junior Jamison Wells and Beckmann.

NIU would go on to score a run each in the sixth and seventh innings, including a solo home run by Duckhorn, the first of his career, and an RBI double by Beckmann.

Tennessee would score four in the bottom of the eighth on a three-run homer by Chris Fritts, and a triple by Chris Pierce, to seal the game at 10-5.

“This series gives us a starting point,” Beckmann said. “It shows us what we need to work on. We didn’t get the results we wanted, but I saw some good things out there.”

In the second game of the double-header, NIU continued to struggle with men on base, leaving nine.

Senior pitcher Tony Manville started for the Huskies, going five innings, and giving up four runs on nine hits.

Tennessee scored two runs in the third, fifth, and eighth inning, and one in the sixth. NIU didn’t crack the scoreboard until the eight and ninth, scoring one in each.

“We never came up with the hits we needed, but we did hit the ball hard,” said NIU coach Ed Mathey. “This is also the first time we’ve been on grass since October. I’m not going to excuse it away; we know what we have to work on. We expect to be better and we’re going to work towards it.”