Norse bullpen struggles in loss to EKU


Colin Johnson

Trey Ganns (23) and Will Haueter (16) tap helmets

The NKU baseball team lost 6-5 to Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday at the Bill Aker Baseball Complex. The Norse fall to 10-17 on the season.

NKU wasted no time, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After Jake Richmond and Will Haueter got on base, Trey Ganns blasted his fifth home run of the season to deep left field.

Charlier Jerger, normally a relief pitcher, made his second start of the season for NKU. Jerger pitched three innings and gave up one run on four hits. He did not record a strikeout, and walked only one batter.

“Charlie did a great job,” head coach Todd Asalon said. “He did what we needed him to do, get nine outs and turn it over to someone else. I was really proud of his effort.”

In the fourth inning, sophomore Will Haueter singled to left field, one of three hits on the day, scoring Brad Bohlen and giving the Norse a 4-1 lead.

“He’s a really good hitter, he led us in doubles last year as a freshman, so we know he can hit,” Asalon said. “He did a really nice job and I’m hoping he catches fire for the weekend.”

Joe Martin replaced Jerger, and made quick work of the Colonels in the fourth inning, but in the fifth inning EKU right fielder Nick Howie hit a two-run homerun to left center, trimming the NKU lead to just one run.

Two batters later, Shea Sullivan homered to the same spot, tying the game at four. Martin pitched two innings, giving up three runs on three hits and striking out three.

The game remained tied until the sixth inning, when NKU sophomore Jordan Menfee gave up a leadoff homer, giving EKU a 5-4 lead.

“Tip your hat to Eastern Kentucky. I think three of their home runs were on two strikes,” Asalon said. “We just didn’t put them away.”

Menfee rebounded well, retiring the next four Colonels to come to the plate before giving up an infield hit in the seventh inning.

Haueter recorded his third hit of the day when he led off the NKU seventh inning with a double. Ganns then grounded out to second base, and moved Haueter to third base with one out.

Junior Mike Moffatt then hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Haueter and tying the game at five with two innings to play.

EKU answered in the eighth inning when Miles Jones hit a solo homerun to left field off of Menfee. Asalon immediately went to the bullpen, bringing in right hander Travis Rowland.

“We had our chances, we’d get ahead in the count and then make a mistake up in the zone,” Asalon said. “We just have to do a better job when we have two strikes of putting batters away.”

Rowland pitched two perfect innings, but the Norse couldn’t plate a run in the ninth inning despite having two runners on and just one out, giving NKU their second loss of the season to the Colonels.

NKU travels to Valparaiso for a three game weekend series, beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Norse are 5-1 in Horizon League play, and are currently in third place in the conference.