Huskies keep on winning

By Chris Jurmann

If you could ask Mike Santoro what his perfect game would be, he’d be hard-pressed to come up with one much better than what he experienced yesterday at the University of Iowa.

Santoro, a right fielder, set a school record with three home runs in the game. He finished the afternoon 4-for-5 with six RBIs in a 15-7 victory over the Hawkeyes (7-10).

NIU improves to 14-9 and has won 10 of its last 12 games.

Santoro accounted for three of his team’s season-high six home runs during the evening. The team also had a season-high 20 hits.

“He was great, he was incredible,” NIU coach Ed Mathey said. “His approach at the plate was fantastic. He hit the ball all over the place.”

If not for Santoro, shortstop Joe Mazzuca would be the player getting all the credit. Mazzuca finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle. He went 4-for-5 from the plate with a home run and a pair of RBIs.

The Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead as Rob Marconi, the No. 2 hitter, notched his seventh home run of the season. Mazzuca then tripled and Santoro followed with his first home run of the game.

Iowa added a run in the bottom of the second, but 3-1 was as close as the Hawkeyes would get all evening.

Freshman Nick Hall was credited with his second win of the season in his second start of the season. Hall pitched six innings allowing three earned runs off five hits.

“This was just an outstanding game for us,” Mathey said. “Our players have been working with coach [Tim] McDonough, and it’s really improved the way they’re playing. Everyone is starting to believe we have the ability to beat anyone on any given day when we play the way we’re capable of.”

The Huskies are 3-0 versus the Big Ten this season. In all three games, NIU has scored double-digit runs. The Huskies beat the University of Michigan 12-8 on March 14 and the University of Illinois 12-10 on March 19.

The Huskies host UIC at 2 p.m. today at Ralph McKinzie Field. The Flames are 11-9 on the season and have won nine straight games, but are 2-9 on the road.

“It’s another game against an in-state rival and they’ve been knocking on the door of the NCAA Tournament recently,” Mathey said. “So we just want to play well, come up with the W, and get ready for Buffalo this weekend.”