Huskies decisioned by YSU

By David Lance

Along with the typical Easter brunch servings, NIU and Youngstown State University decided to add knuckle sandwiches to the menu.

A scuffle between the two baseball Mid-Continent Conference opponents briefly halted the Penguins 4-3 first-game win Sunday afternoon at McKinzie Field. YSU also won the second game, 2-0.

With YSU leading 1-0 and batting with the bases loaded in the second inning of game one, Jay Hall put down a suicide squeeze with one out. NIU catcher Mark Fiore fielded the bunt and waited to tag out Dean Cicoretti.

“I felt I had as much a right to the plate as he did,” Cicoretti said. “So I just went ahead and took him out.”

Fiore went flying. He got up and pushed Cicoretti down. Both benches emptied. Cicoretti got up swinging, but the umpires intervened before more blows landed.

According to the rule book, a runner has to try to avoid the catcher on a play at the plate, so the umpire kicked Cicoretti—who was out on the play—out of the game.

“I wasn’t aware of that rule,” Cicoretti said.

“Not only did he not slide, but he came up with an elbow to my face,” said Fiore, who was sporting a swollen lip after the game. “When you’re playing ball, you’ve got to know the rule.”

With the score tied at three, a Jeff Davenport single brought in the winning run off loser Jim Gurney.

YSU’s Jon Crays gave up two hits—neither left the infield—in six innings to win game two.

“Now we’re so frustrated up at the bat,” said NIU head coach Spanky McFarland, who’s team fell to 12-26, 3-7 in the conference.

Loser Jesse Richardson gave up a bases loaded walk to right fielder Louis Vassalotti in the third. Vassalotti scored from first off Richardson in the fourth on a double by second baseman Chris Yanero.

On Friday, the Huskies and Brent Horlock (1-1) won the first game of a doubleheader at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 4-1. NIU won the second game 5-4. Jeff Schmitt (1-1) took the win.

On Saturday, NIU lost the first game of a twinbill with Valparaiso, 3-1. Mike Young (2-4) was the loser. The Huskies won the second game 3-2, and Josh Brown (3-2) was the winner.