DeKALB — The offense was clicking all weekend long in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as the baseball team hung 40 runs on the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks over four games.
NIU earned its first series win of the season, taking three of four games from the Redhawks.
A colossal eighth inning was enough to give the Huskies a lead and ultimately earn a 7-4 victory Friday evening against SEMO.
Junior pitcher Michael Lasiewicz had a rough start for NIU, allowing two runs in the first inning. He settled down later in the game, allowing just one more run over the next five innings on the mound. After six innings, the Huskies trailed 3-2.
Junior pitcher Kyle Seebach started his relief appearance on a bad note as well, allowing a run in the seventh inning that brought the Redhawks’ lead to two.
In the top of the eighth, the Huskies’ offense flipped the momentum of the game. A host of singles kept the line moving for NIU.
Senior first baseman Jordan Larson, senior shortstop Dylan Lonteen and senior third baseman Tommy Szczasny each singled with men in scoring positions to put the Huskies on top 6-4.
Later in the inning, a wild pitch by SEMO would bring Szczasny across the plate, raising the lead to 7-4.
Seebach then settled in and pitch two shutout innings to earn his first victory of the season.
The Huskie were able to keep the momentum rolling, winning a back-and-forth game by a score of 7-5.
Junior second baseman Alex Rodriguez got NIU’s offense going in the second inning with a two-run double, but an NIU fielding error would bring a run across for the Redhawks in the bottom of the inning.
SEMO would score twice more in the bottom of the third to take its first lead of the game.
The lead didn’t last long, as NIU junior right fielder Matt Barnes’ fourth inning single knotted the game at 3 runs apiece.
The Redhawks took their lead right back in the fifth inning, scoring an unearned run off a sacrifice fly.
The Huskies would score twice in the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead. The first run came from a solo home run by senior catcher Jake Dunham. The second run was scored on a sacrifice bunt by Rodriguez that brought Lonteen in from third base.
The lead didn’t last long after SEMO scored another unearned run off a single in the seventh inning.
The Huskies would get the last laugh after a clutch single from Szczasny brought in two runs in the eighth inning to give the Huskies a 7-5 lead.
Senior pitcher Nate Thomas held the Redhawks scoreless in the ninth inning to give NIU its third win of the season. Thomas earned the win after pitching the final four innings in relief, allowing no earned runs.
Game three was a slugfest that saw NIU lose 16-15 in 10 innings.
The Huskies started hot, getting one-run RBI singles from Dunham and Larson. NIU tacked on an unearned run to take a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
SEMO cut into NIU’s lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs off a single.
Redshirt junior left fielder Kam Smith brought NIU’s lead to two runs after his solo home run in the second inning.
Each offense simmered down until the fourth inning came, which marked the start of a barrage of offense from both teams. Starting in the fourth, runs were scored in every inning besides the ninth.
Entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Huskies led by a score of 15-6. However, SEMO stormed back and scored nine runs to knot the game at 15-15.
In the tenth, a walkoff single lifted the Redhawks over the Huskies.
Smith and Szczasny led the Huskies with four RBIs and three runs scored in the loss.
NIU finished the series with another impressive offensive performance, winning 11-5.
The Huskies started the game with a bang, scoring three runs in the opening inning. The first came from a double by Barnes, the second from a double by redshirt junior center fielder Brady Huebbe and the third came when Lonteen hit into a double play and a runner at third base came in to score.
SEMO would quickly return the favor, scoring four times through the first three innings.
The Redhawks’ lead didn’t last long, as NIU scored twice in the fourth and fifth innings to retake a 7-4 lead. Three of the runs were unearned.
SEMO would cut into the lead in the sixth inning after scoring a run when a wild pitch got by Dunham.
The Huskies held the Redhawks scoreless for the remainder of the game, while scoring three more runs in the ninth inning to take the 11-5 victory.
Junior pitcher Paul Turelli pitched well in relief, allowing only one earned run and two hits over the final four innings of the game.
The series win improves NIU’s record to 4-4.
The Huskies return to action next weekend with a doubleheader Friday. NIU will face Chicago State University in game one and University of Nebraska–Omaha in game two. They’ll then play one game against Nebraska–Omaha on Saturday and one game against Chicago State on Sunday.
Each game will be at Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois. First pitch is 11 a.m. Friday.