Baseball takes 2 of 3 games

By Andrew Singer

A broken-down bus and a rained out game on Saturday weren’t enough to stop the NIU baseball team from taking two of three games from Ohio over the weekend.

The Huskies (17-17 overall, 8-4 MAC) came from behind on Friday for a 5-4 win, and dropped the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, before taking the second game 19-10. Jeremy Gonzales’ run of 25.2 scoreless innings came to an end on Sunday when the Bobcats’ Taylor Emody hit a three-run home run with one out in the first inning.

“He’s human,” said NIU head coach Ed Mathey of Gonzales’ start. “He had some trouble locating his fast ball and left a few balls up in the zone.”

Before even reaching Athens, NIU’s bus broke down on Thursday night just outside of Dayton around 11 p.m. Another bus didn’t show up until 4 a.m. After arriving at the hotel around 6:15 a.m., the Huskies were able to grab a few hours of sleep before taking to the field at Bob Wren Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Down 2-1 in the seventh, NIU broke out with four runs to take a 5-2 lead. Ohio scored a run in the eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to tie the game against NIU closer Kyle Glancy, who recorded his eighth save of 2011. The win moved the Huskies’ record to 16-16, the first time since May 10, 2008 that NIU has held a .500 overall record.

Cold and rainy conditions forced Saturday’s game to be rescheduled for Sunday, setting up an afternoon doubleheader.

The first game on Sunday was scoreless until the bottom of the third when Kory Burkhart singled through the left side, scoring Wes O’Nell from second base. The Bobcats (16-20, 3-9) built a 6-0 lead before NIU broke through with its first three runs in the top of the eighth. Two more NIU runs in the top of the ninth weren’t enough to keep Ohio from taking the first game on Sunday 7-5.

Gonzales took the mound in the second game of the doubleheader looking to extend his scoreless inning streak. The drama didn’t last long, though, as the senior gave up eight runs in two innings. Tony Manville came on in relief of Gonzales in the third inning, looking to keep the Huskies in the game.

“Coming out of the bullpen, I was just looking to throw strikes,” Manville said. “My last start was on Tuesday, so I was pretty fresh and was ready to go as long as they needed me.”

The Iowa transfer put on perhaps his best showing as a Huskie, going seven innings and giving up only one earned run.

With Manville dealing, NIU took advantage in the fifth inning, exploding for 10 runs on six hits. Third baseman Troy White led the outburst with a grand slam.

“This team is showing that it’s not always about the talent level of a team,” White said. “Right now, everyone on this team has accepted their roles and everyone cares about nothing more than getting wins…and games in the MAC, we consider these playoff games.”