Baseball winless again

By Andrew Singer

For the second time in as many weeks, the NIU baseball team traveled west, and for the second time they came home with no wins.

The Huskies (0-6) continued on their early-season slide in Lubbock, Texas this weekend, losing two games to BYU and Texas Tech respectively.

Against BYU (4-3) on Friday, Zach Oates took the hill for the first time since twirling a one-hit, six-inning gem against Southern Utah. After giving up a run in the first inning, Oates kept the Cougars off the board for five consecutive innings.

The NIU offense scored no runs in Oates’ six innings. Tom Zelasko came on to pitch in the seventh and gave up two runs, putting the Huskies in a 3-0 hole. NIU plated two runs in the ninth, but the rally proved too little, too late.

“We didn’t have a lot going offensively until the ninth,” said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. “We didn’t do much to help ourselves out. We got the tying run to the plate and on base.”

The Huskies took on BYU again on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader. The Cougars came out of the gate strong, scoring a first inning run off NIU starter Tony Manville. BYU led 5-2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. Alex Jones highlighted a three-run inning for the Huskies, plating two runs with a triple. Troy White knocked in Jones with a single, tying the score at five. White went 4-for-5 against the Cougars.

Following a scoreless seventh, Zelasko came on to pitch for the Huskies in the eighth. The left-handed senior gave up three runs and was charged with the 8-5 loss.

Less than an hour after the final out was recorded, the Huskies were back in action against Texas Tech (7-1). NIU starter Jake Hermsen never got comfortable against the Red Raiders. The junior went four innings, giving up 10 runs, six of which came in the first inning. NIU never came close to coming back, losing 15-3.

“We are kind of in that spot where when we are not getting the hitting, we are getting the pitching,” Mathey said. “And when we are not getting the pitching, we are getting the hitting.”

Finishing off the weekend set on Sunday, the Huskies faced off against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders came out strong once again, putting up six runs against NIU starter Jeremy Gonzales in the first inning. The Huskies came back in the fourth with four runs of their own, but couldn’t keep up with the Red Raiders’ offense.

The score stood at 9-7 in favor of TTU when the Red Raiders put up five runs in the bottom of the eighth. NIU lost the weekend’s final game 14-8.