Baseball splits four games in weekend series at Akron

The NIU baseball team now has a 3-14 season record


Sophomore pitcher Connor Langreder throws a pitch during a game against Sacramento State Feb. 21 in Sacramento, California.

DeKALB — The Huskies faced the University of Akron Zips in a four game series over the weekend, winning two games in their second Mid-American Conference series of the season.

Day one: NIU 9, Akron 5

A season high 17-hit performance propelled the NIU baseball team over the Zips 9-5 on Friday in Akron, Ohio.

“Today was a great team effort to get the win,” head coach Mike Kunigonis said. “Kyle (Seebach) gave us eight good innings on the mound and the bats came alive.”

Senior Kyle Seebach pitched eight innings, only giving up three earned runs on ten hits.

The Huskies’ bats were hot as sophomore designated hitter Carlos Aranda went 4-4 within a run scored and a walk, while sophomore infielder Eric Erato went 2-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

With a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning, NIU started to pull away as sophomore Jonathan Latham ripped a single to left field to drive home a run and put the Huskies up 4-3.

In the sixth, Erato hit an RBI single to score one, followed by sophomore outfielder Andre Demetral, who laced a double into the gap to score two to make it 7-3 Huskies. 

Another run by sophomore infielder Aaron Harper and a score on a passed ball by Erato gave the Huskies a 9-3 lead in the eighth inning. 

Akron answered with two in the bottom of the eighth but it was too late as redshirt freshman pitcher Matt Solomonson entered in the ninth and threw a scoreless inning. 

“It was nice to see us limit Akron’s opportunities during the game and see us take advantage of ours,” Kunigonis said.

Day two, game one: Akron 3, NIU 1

The Zips scored the first run of the game in the third inning after senior infielder Tate Wargo hit to the right field which led to a run-batted-in from graduate catcher Jackson Haas. 

The Huskies scored their first run of the game in the fifth inning after junior catcher Scott Combs hit to left center.

Akron scored two more times in the fifth inning and won the game 3-1.

Day two, game two: NIU 8, Akron 2

NIU scored its first run in the third inning after a hit to second base from sophomore infielder Andre Demetral.

The Huskies had their biggest lead of the game at 8-1 in the eighth inning, in which they made three runs.

Demetral led the Huskies in RBIs with three. NIU won the second game 8-2. 

Thoughts from Coach Kunigonis 

Coach Kunigonis thoughts second game:

“The hitters did a fantastic job of grinding out eight runs and battling the entire game. Pittman and Pederson were awesome and were key in our bounce back to split the day.”

Coach Kunigonis thoughts on overall performance:

“Today was an extremely tough day to play in the elements. Our guys did a great job grinding it out all day.”

Day three: Akron 4, NIU 2

In the final game of the series at Akron, NIU fell 4-2 in a hard-fought battle. Each side utilized four pitchers from their respective bullpens. Both of the Huskies runs were batted in by junior catcher Scott Combs.

The scoreboard remained empty until Akron struck first in the third inning with a pair of runs. NIU answered back in the fourth with a sacrifice fly from Combs to score sophomore infielder Andre Demetral. Following another pair of runs for the Zips in the sixth inning, Combs returned with a solo home run in the seventh.

The end result

NIU’s overall record is now 3-14 and they have a record of 3-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Akron’s overall record is 5-12 and they have a record of 4-4 in the MAC.

The Huskies will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana Tuesday to take on the Purdue University Boilermakers at 3 p.m.