Baseball takes one of three games over the weekend

By Andrew Singer

DeKALB | A stellar outing from NIU starting pitcher Jeremy Gonzales keyed a 3-0 win on Sunday, salvaging the last of a three-game series against the Bowling Green baseball team.

For the first two games of the home-opening series, it was hard to tell what was colder; the frigid temperatures or the NIU bats. The Huskie offense collectively produced only eight hits and two runs in 7-2 and 8-0 losses on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Bowling Green (8-11 overall, 2-1 MAC) starter Nick Bruns pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout on Saturday. NIU head coach Ed Mathey credited the work of Bruns, but said he believed the lack of production on Saturday had more to do with a poor approach at the plate.

“We couldn’t get [Bruns] figured out,” Mathey said on Saturday. “Bruns just had it going on, but I’m not sure why, though, because we have seen him before. We were swinging at bad pitches against him and then we were letting the good pitches go.”

It wasn’t until the second inning of Sunday’s contest that the Huskies (6-11, 1-2) grabbed their first lead of the weekend. Tom Kotis knocked in two runs with a single. With a lead in hand, Gonzales went out determined to grab the first MAC win of the year for NIU.

“We were going back and forth with them, so getting a lead was huge,” Gonzales said. “It allowed me to just go out there and pound the strike zone and shut them down.”

Alex Jones gave Gonzales another run to work with in the third, when the Huskies’ shortstop homered to right field. The third inning shot straddled the line between fair and foul, and was in doubt until the first base umpire signaled it was a home run.

The call inspired Bowling Green head coach Danny Schmitz to come out and argue the call. The Falcon boss argued another call in the top of the seventh and was subsequently thrown out of the game.

In the third-base coaches’ box, Mathey said he believes he had the best view of Jones’ shot.

“I was telling the home plate umpire that the way Ralph McKinzie Field is set up, someone in my place has the best view of right field,” Mathey said. “And from what I saw it was definitely a home run.”

NIU relievers Tom Zelasko and Kyle Glancy took care of the eighth and ninth innings to lock down the Huskies’ first home win of the season.

“Gonzo [Gonzales] was on today, and we were able to push a couple runs across early,” Jones said. “Getting a win today is big down the line in the MAC.”