Baseball bundling up for road trip

By Andrew Singer

From cold to colder; the NIU baseball team travels to St. Bonaventure University this weekend to play a three-game set against Buffalo.

The series was originally scheduled to be played in Buffalo, but the Bulls decided to move the games to St. Bonaventure when the forecast in Buffalo predicted low temperatures and freezing rain. predicts conditions in St. Bonaventure to be similar to Buffalo: temperatures in the low 40s and a 30 percent chance of precipitation. With a larger threat of rain or snow on Friday, both teams agreed to play a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Huskies (7-14 overall, 1-2 MAC) played through similar conditions last weekend against Bowling Green, which is why NIU head coach Ed Mathey doesn’t think weather can be used as an excuse.

“It’s going to be one of those weekends where the weather is going to play a part,” Mathey said. “We talked to our guys, though, about the weather, and it’s fair for both teams.”

NIU first baseman Joe Etcheverry is optimistic going against a Buffalo (7-15, 0-3) team that is coming off a loss to Canisius College on Wednesday and a sweep at the hands of Eastern Michigan last weekend.

“We saw that Buffalo went 0-3 last weekend, so we feel it’s good that we can get on top of them and take advantage of the series,” Etcheverry said.

Much like the Bulls, the Huskies are searching for answers after dropping a 7-6 decision in 11 innings to Division III Aurora on Wednesday.

The Huskies lost a four-run lead in the eighth inning, when NIU pitcher Tom Zelasko gave up a two-run triple and two-run home run. NIU had the lead run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth inning, but couldn’t get the runner home in either instance.

From Mathey’s vantage point, the Huskies have gotten away from the fundamentals. Instead of grinding out at-bats, NIU batters are swinging at bad pitches and either popping the ball up or striking out.

“The one thing that we should know about our team is that, no matter who we’re playing, whether its Arizona State or Aurora, we have to come out with the same intensity,” Mathey said. “Anything short of playing with a sense of urgency this weekend is going to be a disappointment to me.”