NIU Baseball get swept by Austin Peay in heartbreaking fashion

In this past weekend's games nothing went the Huskies way, especially on the defensive end.  It certainly didn't start off well either:

We arrived at the hotel pretty late and to top it off, none of our keys worked. So there were quite a few tired and irritated guys here. We have a 4pm game tomorrow so we have some free time to either sleep, hang out or maybe get some homework done during the day.

Game 4: Northern Illinois 4, Austin Peay 7 (Box)

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Northern Illinois... 100 000 012 - 4 9 4
Austin Peay......... 421 000 00X - 7 6 3
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"Unlucky Lefty" Chuck Lukanen (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) recovered from a shaky 1st inning in which he gave up all three of his earned runs and went on to give a solid performance.  The problem is that the defense committed 4 (FOUR) errors behind Chuck.  Two by 1B Dave Reynolds in the first couple innings gave 3 runs to the opposition and SS Alex Jones gave up one in the 2nd.  3B Troy White committed an error in the 5th, but after the bases got loaded up, Chuck retired the final 3 batters of the inning.

If those early innings don't happen, the Huskies win this game.  RF Jordin Hood (3-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) hit his a 2-run home run in the 9th to put the Huskies somewhat in this one.  DH Joe Etcheverry (1-3, 2B, 2 BB, 1 SO) had a nice game getting on base while getting that XBH.  Reynolds (3-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB) played pretty well, but didn't come close to making up for the errors.  NIU's LOB was 12 compared to Peay's 7.

Kyle Glancy made his debut this year in the bullpen and Tom Barry bounced back from getting destroyed by ASU to finish the game.  Neither surrendered a run.

Game 5: Northern Illinois 3, Austin Peay 4 (Box)

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Northern Illinois... 000 001 002 - 3 4 3
Austin Peay......... 002 110 00X - 4 5 1
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Zach Oates (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) pitched the game of his life, entrenching him in one of the top starting spots on this squad. But the Huskies still couldn't win because of a lack of defense again.  Jayme Wells made his first start at 2B and made two critical errors giving up 2 runs in the 3rd and the 5th innings.  Cory Krupp made his first start in LF and also dropped a crucial ball in the 3rd inning as well.  Tom Zelasko pitched one scoreless inning to end it.

The leadoff man Krupp (0-2, 3 BB, 1 RBI, 1 SB) was our best threat getting on base even though he didn't get a hit.  Jordin Hood (1-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 SO) racked  up some pretty decent stats.  We had a high LOB again with 10 compared to Peay's 3.  The Huskies also struck out 15 times compared to only 6 K's dealt to Peay.

Game 6: Northern Illinois 8, Austin Peay 9 (Box)

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Northern Illinois... 000 040 013 00 - 8 10 7
Austin Peay......... 102 010 220 01 - 9 8 1
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In keeping with the theme of the weekend, 1B Dave Reynolds, 3B Troy White, RF Jake Hermsen (twice), C Brett Frantini and SS Alex Jones (twice) all had errors in this game!  That's 6 runs given up on 7 errors!!!!

Jeremy Gonzales (5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO) had a solid start, despite struggling with finding the strike zone.  Glancy (1.1 IP), Zelasko (0.2 IP), Andy Dean (0.2 IP) and Barry (3.0 IP) all didn't give up a single earned run in relief.

The offense finally started to get going spearheaded by Joe Etcheverry (3-4, HR, 4 RBI, 1 R, 2 BB) and his 3-run home run in the 9th inning to tie the game at 8 a-piece.  Troy White (1-5, 1 RBI, 2 R, HBP)  is finally starting to get hot these past couple games and I believe that he can be the catalyst for the offense.

What to take from the weekend:

Our pitching is good, very good.  Except our defense is bad, very bad.  The errors will begin to disappear as the Huskies experience more games on the diamond.  It also seems like the offense came around against a MAC-calibur team like Austin Peay.  I'd be a lot more worried if our pitchers were getting shelled, but defense we can fix as the conference nears.

Up next the Huskies are goin' back to Cali:

The Huskies will get back to action next weekend as they head to California for their nine-game spring break trip starting with a noon CDT contest against Cal State Bakersfield on Friday, March 5th. NIU will also face Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the break.

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