Baseball wins second consecutive series over Chicago State and Nebraska-Omaha


Jan Salmon | Courtesy Southeast Arrow

Senior infielder Tommy Szczasny prepares for a pitch during NIU’s Feb. 21-23 series against Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Huskies would take three of four games in the series.

By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — Baseball had another successful weekend, winning three of four games against the Chicago State Cougars and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks over the weekend at Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois.

Game One

The Huskies came from behind to start the weekend off on a high note, winning Friday’s early game 4-3 over Chicago State. Junior pitcher Paul Turelli tallied his first win, and junior pitcher Kyle Seebach tallied his first save in NIU’s victory.

Senior starting pitcher Ryan Anderson found himself in trouble early, allowing a pair of runs in the second inning to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

The Huskies responded nicely in the bottom half of the inning, getting an RBI single from senior left fielder Brendan Joyce that drove in senior shortstop Dylan Lonteen.

The Cougars would regain their three-run lead in the top of the fifth inning after a sacrifice fly brought a run across to score.

NIU’s bullpen locked down after the inning, allowing zero runs for the remainder of the game. The Huskies’ offense did its part, driving in three more runs.

Junior second baseman Alex Rodriguez, senior catcher Jake Dunham and senior first baseman Jordan Larson all finished with one RBI apiece in the mid-to-late innings.

Game Two

NIU kept chugging along in the back-end of Friday’s doubleheader, winning game two 8-5 over Omaha.

Junior starting pitcher Michael Lasiewicz’s outing started a bit sour after allowing a solo blast in the top of the first inning, but Lasewicz settled down, letting up only two more runs over the course of his 6.1 innings on the bump.

Similar to game one, NIU responded well to the deficit. In the second inning, first-year catcher Jacob Schroeder’s single drove in a run to tie the game.

Omaha redshirt junior pitcher Joey Machado got roughed up a bit in the third inning. Machado gave up two triples, a double and a single, which plated four runs.

NIU and Omaha each scored a run in the fourth to bring NIU’s lead to 6-2.

The Mavericks mounted a bit of a comeback, scoring twice in the fifth and once in the seventh.

Senior pitcher Nate Thomas came in and shut the door on Omaha’s chances, allowing no runs in the last two innings.

In the eighth, redshirt junior center fielder Brady Huebbe and Larson tacked on an RBI each to give Thomas some insurance runs ahead of the ninth.

Game Three

A late push wasn’t enough for NIU to come back against Omaha in a 9-5 loss Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore starting pitcher Brandon McPherson had a rough outing, allowing four earned runs in five innings. He didn’t receive any support from the offense who didn’t bring a run in until the seventh inning.

The Mavericks’ offense gained an early lead and never gave it up, scoring twice in the second inning.

A triple in the fifth inning would drive in two more runs. In the sixth inning, a triple and a sacrifice fly would increase Omaha’s lead to 7-0.

NIU would finally get on the scoreboard in the seventh when Huebbe’s single drove in two runs, though Omaha would counter with two runs of its own in the bottom of the eighth inning to bring their lead back to seven.

The Huskies began mounting a comeback in the ninth inning after RBI’s from Huebbe, Larson and Smith made it a 9-5 game. Unfortunately, that’s all NIU’s offense could muster.

Game Four

NIU returned to its winning ways on Sunday with a win over Chicago State.

The Huskies got on top early and never relinquished the lead in a 6-4 victory.

NIU had a big second inning, bringing in four runs across to score. The first run came on a wild pitch from the Cougars, bringing in Dunham. Redshirt junior third baseman Kam Smith then drove in two more runs with a double. Sophomore second baseman Paddy McKermitt then drove in Smith with a single to cap off the inning.

Sophomore starting pitcher Erik Hedmark cruised through the first four innings until he hit a snag in the fifth inning. An infield single brought in a run for the Cougars, making it a 4-1 game. Hedmark wouldn’t make it out of the inning, but finished with only an earned run in 4.2 innings of work.

The scoring subsided until the seventh inning when the Cougars scored two runs off a double, and one more run off a sacrifice fly to tie the game 4-4.

Larson came up clutch in the next half inning, driving in two runs off a single to give NIU a 6-4 lead.

Thomas would finish the game on the mound for the Huskies, tossing a scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth inning to earn himself his second victory of the season.

With the series win, NIU improved to 7-5 on the season.

They’ll look to stay hot and earn their third consecutive series win next weekend with a three game set against the Southern Illinois University Salukis. The first game starts 3 p.m. Friday in Carbondale.