NKU Struggles Against Alabama St.

NKU scored 7 runs and were lead by Matt Ianni on the mound to take down Northwestern 7-1.

NKU scored 7 runs and were lead by Matt Ianni on the mound to take down Northwestern 7-1.

The Northern Kentucky University baseball team avoided being swept by Alabama State over the weekend, but lost three out of the four games in the series. This leaves the Norse with an overall 5-10 record and improves Alabama State to 10-7 on the year.

The Norse scored three runs between the sixth and seventh innings on Friday night to come within two of Alabama State, but a four-run seventh frame from the Hornets put the game out of reach as the Norse fell, 9-3, at Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex. The Hornets scored in clusters, jumping on the board in the top of the first when a two-out, two-RBI singled opened up an early 2-0 advantage. Designated hitter Will Haueter had a 3-for-4 day with a double while senior catcher Logan Spurlin drove in two of NKU’s three runs.

Game two saw 3.0 shutout innings of relief with three strikeouts from sophomore Pierce Knisley. Quint Heady led the offense in the nightcap, going 3-for-5 with three RBI, a homer and a run scored. NKU struggled to string hits together, stranding 10 base runners in the contest after posting at least one hit in each of the first six innings, causing the Norse to fall 11-1 against Alabama State.

Heady had two hits and three RBI through the first inning and a half of game three to help NKU out to an early 5-0 lead in game two. Alabama State tacked on a run on a ground-out in the second and scored three runs on three hits including a two-run homer in the fourth inning to make it a 5-4 game.

Back-to-back RBI hits gave ASU its first lead of the game in the fifth, 7-5. Heady’s third hit of the game came at the top of the seventh when he advanced Anthony Vagnier to third, setting him up to score on a wild pitch for a one-run game. Heady represented the tying run when the Norse attempted a suicide squeeze later in the inning, but the senior was called out at the plate for the 7-6 result.

Game four saw sophomore left-hander Trey Ganns make his first start of the season. Ganns threw five innings and allowed four runs, three of which were earned, and also fanned five and walked none to pick up the win.

The teams exchanged runs to open the game with Spurlin knotting the game at 1-1 with his second homer of the season. Alabama State (10-7) added one run in both the third and fourth frames to take a 3-1 lead on four combined hits and an NKU miscue. Anthony Vagnier got the scoring started, pushing Will Haueter across the plate with an RBI single. Tito Montgomery then drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game, followed by a two-run double off the bat of Ryan LeFevers to cap off the inning with NKU leading 5-3. The Hornets added a run in the bottom of the frame, but NKU scored one run in each of the final three frames to provide enough insurance for the victory of 8-5.

The Norse will play again on Wednesday against Ohio University, after today’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. NKU will then play their first home series and first Horizon League series starting on Friday when they welcome Valparaiso to the Bill Aker Baseball Complex.