Eastern edges Huskies

By Chris Jurmann

Mistakes are bound to catch up to you in a sport like baseball.

Errors and runners left on base were too much for NIU to overcome in a 9-8 loss at Eastern Illinois on Tuesday.

“The mistakes have definitely caught up with us,” NIU coach Ed Mathey said. “If you’re not going to play good defense, you’re going to have to hit a ton. I just wish we could have played better; not given them those extra outs.”

NIU (15-10, 3-1 MAC) has allowed an average of 3.25 errors and 10.5 runners left on base in its last four contests.

Prior to the loss, the Huskies had won 11 of their last 13 games.

The Panthers (12-16) earned the bulk of their runs in the second and fifth innings, scoring four in each.

EIU’s right fielder, Kirk Walters, hit 3-for-3 in the contest. Walters hit two home runs, walked twice, scored three runs of his own with four RBIs.

The Huskies held their own at the plate, scoring eight runs off of 13 hits.

“Offensively, I thought we played well,” Mathey said. “The guys had a great approach at the plate. Our pitchers pitched pretty well, we just didn’t get it done in the field.”

The Huskies’ Joe Piekarz (4-2) took the loss, pitching four innings and allowing eight hits and four earned runs.

Micah Gray (3-0) got the win for EIU, pitching two scoreless innings for the Panthers.

NIU played for the first time without injured first baseman Mike Hochhauser, but didn’t appear to need him. Hochhauser’s replacement, Scott Simon, went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs.

“Scott had a good day for us today,” Mathey said. “He did a fine job in the field and a couple of big hits, including the one he knocked out of the park.”

The Huskies struggled to find production from the bottom of the order.

The 7-8-9 hitters for NIU combined to go 3-for-14 with seven runners left on base and zero RBIs.