Baseball returns to campus

The Northern Kentucky University baseball team held its first home games on campus this weekend in a four-game series against Kentucky Wesleyan College at the freshly renovated Bill Aker Baseball Complex.

NKU came out strong in the first game Saturday, outscoring Kentucky Wesleyan, 12-1, in a seven-inning game.

This game held the highlight of the weekend with senior outfielder/catcher Bryan Rose’s grand slam in the fourth inning.

Senior pitcher Dave Middendorf allowed only three hits and walked two in the victory. Other contributors were freshman infielder Zac Asman with a two-run double and junior outfielder Max Colaner with a two-run homer.

Game two went differently with the Norse struggling to score, and losing to the Panthers, 9-2.

On Sunday, NKU came out swinging again in the first game, roughing up KWC, 10-3. Senior catcher Brian Erie and sophomore infielder Brett Cisper finished with three RBIs apiece. Rose, Asman and sophomore infielder Bradley Vanderglas all scored twice.

NKU fell short once again in game two, losing to the Panthers, 6-3. The Norse struggled in the field, committing two errors which allowed the Panthers to score two unearned runs.
Head coach Todd Asalon still has faith in his team, but plans on going back to the fundamentals in practice.

“We need to work on a ton of things,” Asalon said. “At practice on Tuesday we are getting back to the basics of catching and throwing the baseball. Our errors have been costly, to say the least. We will be fine, but right now we are not playing with confidence.”

Asalon is not sure why the Norse have been able to get off to quick starts and falter in the second game of double headers. In the first game of doubleheaders this season, the Norse are 7-2, but are just 3-6 in the second game.

“I wish that I had an answer about game twos of our series,” Asalon said. “I’m not sure if it’s a lack of focus, overconfidence or desire. As a coach, I need to do a better job of having our guys ready to play. It’s not from the lack of talent. We just need to understand that we need to finish off our opponents and have a passion to win.”

The team had previously been playing at Champion Window Field in Florence, Ky., because their home field was under construction with irrigation and sod renovations. The players are glad to be back home, according to Asalon.

“I know they were very happy to be on campus and in the friendly surroundings.” Asalon said. “I think we adjusted well, but just didn’t play consistent ball.”

The Norse are currently 14-11 overall and 4-6 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

NKU will travel to Louisville April 6 to battle Bellarmine University, in a doubleheader beginning at noon.

Story by Stephen Wilder