Picking up the pieces from a rainy Tempe

Well with today's game rained out, let's take a look at how the NIU baseball fared against the #5 team in the nation this weekend:

Game 1: Northern Illinois 0, Arizona State 8 (Box)

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Northern Illinois... 000 000 000 - 0 4 0
Arizona State....... 014 200 10X - 8 9 0
-------------------------------------------

Starting pitcher LHP Chuck Lukanen had a rough go, giving up 7 hits and 7 ER in 5.2 innings.  He fought hard out there, but walked 8 batters, while only striking out 4.  These stats really aren't bad at all against the #5 team in the nation.  The 4th inning was brutal giving up 4 runs, but should 3 of them have counted?

ASU was on the verge of only getting one run in the inning, but junior left fielder Matt Newman came through in the clutch. Newman crushed a ball down the leftfield line that the only question about it was whether it was fair or foul.

First base umpire Steve Mattingly ruled the ball fair and it was a three-run home run for Newman that caused the ejection of NIU assistant coach Steve Joslyn.

It really wouldn't have mattered, because the offense just wasn't there for the Huskies all day.  1B Dave Reynolds was 2 for 4 with no strikeouts.  Not a single Huskie got an extra hit.  Which makes sense considering that ASU's pitcher might be picked in the 1st round of the MLB draft.

RHP Jeremy Gonzales made his debut in the bullpen to get the last out in the 6th, while LHP Tom Barry finished the game.

Game 2: Northern Illinois 5, Arizona State 10 (Box)

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Northern Illinois... 010 031 000 - 5 6 0
Arizona State....... 201 600 01X - 10 10 3
-------------------------------------------

LHP Jake Hermsen (3.2 IP; 8 H; 9 ER; 7 BB; 3 SO) started off the game fairly strong, but had to be pulled from the game after giving up 6 runs in the 3rd.  Hermsen just couldn't find control all game resulting in 7 walks and 3 wild pitches all in that 3rd inning.  The JC transfer RHP Jeremy Gonzales (4.1 IP; 2 H; 1 ER; 2 BB; 5 SO) did a remarkable job in relief, allowing the Huskies to get back in this game somewhat offensively.

RF Jordin Hood (2-3; 1 BB; 1 HBP, 1 RBI; 1 R; 1 CS) did an excellent job getting on base and setting the Huskies up offensively.  LF Dave Reynolds (1-3; 2 BB; 1 RBI; 1 R; 2 SO) performed well for the 2nd straight game.  Again the Huskies couldn't even get a single XBH, which severely hampered their chances of scoring enough runs to make this a game.  Compare and contrast with the 4 doubles that ASU had.  Lineup notes: Etch played 1B while Reynolds went to LF and Brian Smith DH'd.

Game 3: Northern Illinois 1, Arizona State 26 (Box)

Score by Innings                  R  H  E
-----------------------------------------
Northern Illinois... 001 000 0 - 1 5 3
Arizona State....... 299 051 X - 26 25 0
-----------------------------------------

Um, ouch?  RHP Brian Smith (1.2 IP; 9 H; 11 ER; 3 BB; 0 SO) made his first start in 3 years and obviously was a little rusty.  The last time he started for the Huskies, this blog didn't even exist!!  LHP Tom Barry (1.1 IP; 8 H; 9 ER; 2 BB; 1 SO) didn't provide much relief.  Freshman RHP Ben Etcheverry (3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) made his debut and performed admirably, given the circumstances.  ASU set a school record with 6 triples in this game.

The offense just wasn't there and as the blowout ensued, a lot of the younger guys got a chance to see the field.  "Lil' Etch" got a hit in his only AB.  Again, the Huskies failed to get an XBH in 3 out of the 3 games played which is an extremely disappointing stat.  JC transfers LF Tom Kotis & C Brian Riegler each got the first hits of their careers.  Riegler got the start at catcher, so I guess he's the backup?

What to take from the weekend

The Huskies managed to stay in 2 out of the 3 games and never gave up.  Even though the Huskies were extremely overmatched, they kept their composure and got a lot of good innings in.  There was a lot of good glove work on the defensive end, as only 2B Buonavolanto and LF Beckmann had errors in the final game, neither of which affected the scoreboard.  The biggest issue on the offensive end was the fact that the Huskies didn't manage even one extra base hit in either of the three games.  That has to improve if you want to win games.  It's a shame that the Huskies didn't get a chance to play the 4th game today, because I thought they had a pretty good chance at coming out and battling for a victory.

Jayme Wells watch

Game 1: (0-2, 2 SO) Game 2: DNP, Game 3: (0-2, 2 SO) Started at CF.

The Huskies (0-3) will return to action next weekend with a three-game series against Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. The games will be at 4 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Raymond C. Hand Park.

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