The Northern Kentucky University baseball team has the winning formula brewing as they continue on with their 12-game winning streak.
The Norse, who have not lost since March 17, began a four-game series with Southern Indiana March 30, which included a doubleheader March 31. Throughout the series, NKU’s bats came alive, outscoring the Screaming Eagles with a combined total of 39-17 while earning the sweep.
Head coach Todd Asalon has been impressed with his team’s performance.
“We’ve been working really hard on having a good approach at the plate,” Asalon said. “Coach Schartz[er] does a good job with our hitters, and they’ve responded. It’s a matter of confidence, and when someone is hitting well, the next player feeds off of that.”
The Norse seemed to bring in every runner across the plate as well, grabbing a total of 43 hits to go along with the 39 runs. Asalon said that with the way they have played in recent games, the confidence level with the team can’t be contained.
“It’s sky high,” Asalon said. “Our guys come out every day and expect to win now. We’ve been down in the season, but we’ve battled back and won some close games. Our senior leadership stepped up and got the job done, and this is where we are.”
The high confidence level was carried into the next series against Bellarmine (which was a doubleheader April 2), where NKU’s pitching took the center stage. The Norse threw two scoreless games against the Knights, including a one-hit shutout during the first game. The Norse also used Bellarmine’s error-prone defense to their advantage, scoring a total of six unearned runs in the series.
NKU pitching coach Dizzy Peyton was quite impressed with the way his pitchers picked apart Bellarmine’s batters.
“We did what we are trained to do today,” Peyton said. “We attacked the hitters all day and hit a lot of our spots.”
Peyton also added that the team’s confidence level is very high, and that they will continue to do what they have always done to keep winning.
“We’re just trying to win one game at a time, one inning at a time,” Peyton said.
Right-handed pitcher Mike Nastold started in the opening game, throwing for three innings (currently on a pitch count), striking out four and allowing no hits. He too recognizes that his team is on a roll right now, but says that they have to stay focused down the road.
“We need to stay level-headed as we face our next competition,” Nastold said. “We can’t take anybody for granted or look past certain teams. Any team can beat anybody on any given day, so we just need to remain focused and keep building on our confidence.”
The first game in the doubleheader series was named the “Blue Ribbon Game,” as it featured the Family Nurture Center in attendance, encouraging all other fans to wear blue to the game in order to help spread the word about Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Kappa Delta sorority assisted during the day by selling items and accepting donations for the non-profit organization. All proceeds went to the Family Nurturing Center’s Blue Ribbon Campaign, which funds child abuse and bullying prevention programs throughout the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area.