Baseball wins a walk off, loses three games in first home series


Wes Sanderson

Junior catcher Scott Combs (right) bats during a game against Kent State Monday at Ralph McKenzie Field in DeKalb.

By DeOndre Saunders and Jordan Radloff

DeKALB — The NIU baseball team picked up one win in a four-game series against the Kent State Golden Flashes over the weekend.

Friday, game one: Kent State 8, NIU 4

NIU took its biggest lead of the game in the 5th inning after a hit from Carlos Aranda to left center created a 4-2 score.

Kent State scored six straight points in the 7th inning.

The Golden Flashes won the game 8-4.

“We rode all the emotional highs and lows today, and it was great to finish on the high,” head coach Mike Kunigonis said in an NIU Athletics news release. “Our guys battled and showed some great resiliency, and they deserved to win that second game.” 

Friday, game two: NIU 11, Kent State 10

The Golden Flashes began the game in control as they scored five points. The Huskies came back and scored five points of their own. 

Both teams went head to head in the 7th inning as they both kept scoring. NIU was down 10-9 in the 8th inning, but luckily third baseman Aaron Harper’s hit up the middle led to Tyler Thierry scoring.

The game went into the eleventh inning and the Huskies won 11-10 on a walk-off hit to right field from Arnanda. 

“Matt did a great job of shutting down Kent State to give us a chance to win,” Kunigonis said. “Carlos hit today like the player we recruited. He’s done a great job for us and he was the one to get it done today.”

Sunday: Kent State 13, NIU 3

After resuming play for the weekend on Sunday, Kent State beat NIU by 10 runs in a seven-inning game.

All three of the Huskies’ scoring opportunities came off the bat of sophomore infielder Mason Kelley. He had a double and a two-run home run.

“Mason did a great job today,” Kunigonis said. “He’s starting to come along at the plate. We need to take the positives and build on those to continue to get better.”

The Huskies will play the fourth and final game of their series against Kent State at noon Monday. It was rescheduled from Saturday.

Monday: Kent State 12, NIU 2

Kent State closed out the series with another 10-run win over the Huskies on Monday. NIU couldn’t keep up with the Golden Flashes’ first three-run rally in the top of the third inning and other ensuing rallies.

Sophomore outfielder Brandon Johnson stole home in the third inning to put the Huskies on the board. A sacrifice fly from Johnson in the seventh inning scored infielder Andre Demetral.

Looking ahead

NIU will travel to South Bend, Indiana Tuesday for a single game at Notre Dame University before returning to DeKalb Friday for another weekend home series to face off against Miami University (Ohio).