Northern Kentucky University’s Baseball team got off to a rough start with a 0-2 record, after losing to Grand Valley State 6-4 and Wayne State 2-1, Feb. 24.
Against the No. 5 ranked team in Division II, Grand Valley State, NKU found itself down 5-0 by the 4th inning, but cut the deficit to 5-3 by the 7th. The Norse, which out-hitting GVSU by a margin of 11-to-7, stranded 10 base-runners compared to just six for GVSU and were unable to get closer than two runs for the remainder of the game.
The game against Wayne State took 10 innings to decide, after NKU, which had trailed 1-0 since the 3rd inning, tied the game in the top of the 9th with an RBI single from the pinch-hitter Jason Cisper.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, after NKU had failed to score in its half of the inning, GVSU got a runner to second base with just one out. With a left-handed batter on deck, NKU head coach Dave Asalon put in left-handed reliever Kevin Jordan. Jordan was able to get a ground ball for the 2nd out, but in the next at-bat gave up a game-winning hit to left-field.
“It was a good, low pitch, but the kid golfed it to left field,” Asalon said.
With the losses, NKU, for the second year in a row, start-out 0-2, hopefully not like last season the Norse started 1-9 before finishing 27-26.
Next on the schedule for the Norse is a three-game set against defending Div. II National Champion University of Tampa, Mar. 1 and 2.
“We’re gonna get tested (against Tampa). I hope we can take two-out-of-three to win the series,” Asalon said.
Despite the slow start on the diamond for the Norse, junior outfielder Jake Shaffer, along with his teammates, had something to celebrate recently, as Shaffer was named by Baseball America to the Div. II All-American Team. Shaffer was one of four outfielders and one of 14 players named to the team.
Shaffer, who led the team in most offensive categories last year, is off to a slow start the first two games, hitting just 1-for-8.
“I’m not worried about him this year. He’s gonna get pitched tougher, but he’ll get his numbers. He doesn’t seem to feel the pressure.”