Baseball tops Northwestern

By Nathan Lindquist

Playing under the lights of Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva, the NIU baseball team scored eight runs in the first inning and held on to defeat Northwestern 10-5 Wednesday night.

The eight runs were a season-high output for one inning for the Huskies (12-29-1), as junior pitcher Nick Hall kept Northwestern (21-19) from getting back in the game.

After squandering a four-run lead at Chicago State on Tuesday, the Huskie offense was determined to put the game out of reach early.

“The tension was high [Tuesday] night after the loss,” Mathey said. “Our guys were really disappointed and they came out focused and wanting a win.”

Senior centerfielder Jeremy Busch went 2-for-5 with three runs scored, giving him seven in the last two games. Busch leads the team with a .340 batting average, seven home runs and a .560 slugging percentage.

Hall yielded five runs with four strikeouts in 6.1 innings to pick up his third win of the season.

A season after winning 31 games and earning the No. 5 seed in the MAC Championships, the Huskies have struggled to get 12 victories and only two in conference play.

A 5.90 team ERA and key injuries to offensive players have tested the Huskies this year, Mathey said.

“We lost a lot of great pitchers from last year to graduation and it’s tough to try and replace them,” Mathey said. “We also lost Scott Simon (wrist injury) and a few other guys have been banged up this year. But our guys are still going out hard every night.”

With nine MAC games remaining, NIU is not in the top six teams that get bids to the MAC Championships starting May 25.

In 12th place in the 13-team conference, the Huskies need to win at least six of their last nine MAC games to make the tournament.

NIU’s next series is a three-game set at Eastern Michigan starting at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Eastern Michigan has been a nemesis of ours dating back to when they beat us in last year’s MAC,” Mathey said. ” We got to take first things first before we think of how many games we need to win the rest of the season.”