Despite being considered the underdog, the Northern Illinois University Huskies (11-24, 5-7 Mid-American Conference (MAC)) came into Oxford and swept the Miami University baseball team (17-19, 4-8 MAC). All three games came down to the final inning, but the Huskies pulled away and won by scores of 8-7, 7-5 and 13-11.
“We’re not firing on all cylinders,” Head Coach Dan Simonds said. “The other part is that we have to get that attitude and swagger back we had earlier this year.”
The RedHawks top of the order provided a crucial offensive spark throughout the series, but it was not enough. Senior center fielder Ryan Brenner went 8-16 with four runs and three RBIs while batting in the leadoff spot. Freshman Matt Honchel kept his batting average above .400 by going 5-14 with three runs and two RBIs. Senior right fielder Bryce Redeker led the team with six RBIs in the series while going 4-13, and junior first baseman Kevin Bower was 6-14 with two runs and one RBI.
The team as a whole combined to score 23 runs over the course of the series but the Huskies were a step ahead all weekend.
“We just couldn’t put it together when we were hitting well,” Bower said. “It just didn’t click all weekend.”
While the run production was there, the pitching was lacking for the Red and White. The RedHawks gave up 11 hits in the first game, followed by 15 in the second and 19 in the finale.
“We have to work ahead [in the count],” Simonds said. “When you don’t work ahead and fall behind in the count, the result is 19 hits. You can’t have that.”
Junior pitcher Brooks Fiala got the start in the first game but lasted only five innings and gave up seven runs, all earned, on 10 hits. He got a no-decision, as freshman pitcher Nathan Williams was tagged with the loss after pitching 1.1 innings and giving up one unearned run on an error by Honchel.
Senior pitcher Shawn Marquardt also had a rough day in his start in Sunday’s first game, giving up five earned runs over 4.1 innings on 10 hits.
Junior pitcher Mac Thoreson got the start in the finale but was no better than the other two starters. He went only 3.1 innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits. Williams got the loss in the finale as well.
Senior Matt Rosinski pitched in both doubleheader games. He pitched 3.1 innings and gave up three earned runs on three hits and two walks.
“We’re a good baseball team,” Simonds said. “I still believe in these guys 100 percent.”
The RedHawks will stay home as they host the University of Dayton Flyers Wednesday. The two teams were scheduled to play Tuesday as well, but that game has been cancelled due to over-scheduling.
“We have to come out and play well in the mid-week game,” Bower said. “We need to have a couple of good practices.”
The Flyers are 17-20 overall but are 8-4 in Atlantic 10 Conference play.
“We bounce back by focusing on the next game,” Simonds said.
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. under the lights at McKie Field. Fans can listen to the game on www.redhawkradio.com.