In their series against Oakland, the NKU baseball team breaks their seven game losing streak with a sweep against the Golden Grizzlies. The Norse won the first game on Saturday 11-10, followed by two wins on Sunday with final scores of 12-3 and 14-3. This brings the Norse’s overall record up to 13-34 and their conference record to 11-13, while the Golden Grizzlies fall to 10-30 overall and 8-13 in the Horizon League.
At the plate, sophomore infielder Andrew Bacon batted 2-for-2 and batted an inside-the-park home run, and four RBI as well as two runs. Sophomore infielder Griffin Doersching batted 1-for-5 earning one home run and two RBI. Freshman outfielder Brennan Gick hit a 1-for-2 for the Norse earning a double and two RBI. Redshirt senior catcher Will Haueter also hit a 1-for-2 and scored two runs for the Norse. Redshirt freshmen outfielders Sam Hedges and Trey Bowden also hit a 1-for-2 two and scored one run each.
On the mound, sophomore pitcher Kyle Service started for the Norse; he allowed six runs on eight hits as well as three walks. Sophomore pitcher Kaleb Meeks followed and pitched 2.2 innings. Meeks allowed one run and four walks while striking out two batters. Freshman pitcher Noah Richardson was on the mound for 1.2 innings and gave up no runs. The Grizzlies only earned one hit while Richardson pitched, and two of their batters were struck out. Senior pitcher Joe Martin was the final pitcher for the Norse. He gave up three runs on three hits, as well as two walks and managed to strike out five hitters.
The Golden Grizzlies gained an early lead over the Norse after scoring one run at the bottom of the first inning. The Norse fought back the second inning earning two runs of their own. Unfortunately, they didn’t keep that lead for long as Oakland scored four runs at the bottom of the second inning. The Norse remained scoreless for the next two innings while Oakland scored one run in each.
The Norse picked it back up at the top of the fifth, when Doersching hit a home run that sent him and another runner home, while Gick added in a two-run double. This brought the score up 7-6 with Oakland slightly ahead.
Neither team scored again until the top of the eighth inning with the Norse hitting one run to tie the game. Oakland fought back, though, at the bottom of the eighth, scoring three runs of their own.
The Norse finished the game off strong during the ninth inning. As the bases were loaded, Bacon hit an inside-the-park home run giving the Norse their 11-10 win with the Golden Grizzlies not scoring at the bottom of the inning.
At the plate, Haueter batted a 3-for-4, earning a home run, a triple, and three RBI. Junior infielder Collin Luty also batted a 3-for-4; a double, an RBI and one run. Junior outfielder Preston Pilat hit a 2-for-4, earning a double, two RBI and two runs. Sophomore center Matt Jewel added a 2-for-4 for the Norse gaining a double, an RBI and a run. Junior outfielder Jake Murray hit a 2-for-5, gaining three RBI and two runs. Doersching, Bacon, and freshman infielder Noah Fisher each added one hit for the Norse.
On the mound, redshirt senior pitcher Sam Williams started pitching for the Norse and pitched seven innings. He allowed three runs on three hits, as well as two walks while also striking out 10 hitters. Martin replaced him in the eighth inning allowing two hits and a walk; he also struck out two hitters. Sophomore pitcher Gunnar Barnard pitched a scoreless ninth inning by only allowing one hit and a walk.
Neither team earned a run until the top of the second inning when the Norse took a 2-0 lead. They improved that into a 4-1 lead after the bottom of the third inning. At the bottom of the seventh inning, the Golden Grizzlies brought the score up to 4-3. The Norse scored two insurance runs at the top of the eighth inning before finishing out the game at the top of the ninth inning by scoring six runs.
At the plate, Bacon hit a 3-3, with two doubles, four RBI and a run. Luty batted a 3-5 gaining a double, two RBI and two runs. He was followed by Haueter, who hit 2-for-4, earning three runs and an RBI. Doersching went 2-for-4 also with a double, two RBI and a run. Redshirt junior outfielder Billy Marion, Gick and Pilat each added in a hit for the Norse.
Freshman pitcher Proctor Mercer started on the mound for the Norse and pitched five innings. He gave up two runs on five hits and four walks while striking out two batters. Richardson followed, pitching three innings; he allowed one run on three hits and two walks while recording four strikeouts. Freshman pitcher Tyler Murphy pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Norse giving up one hit and striking out two batters.
The Norse took a 2-0 lead over the Golden Grizzlies at the top of the third inning after a scoreless first and second inning. They increased that lead to 9-2 by the top of the seventh inning. At the top of the eighth inning, the Norse added four runs giving the Norse a 13-2 lead. At the bottom of the eighth, the Golden Grizzlies earned their third and final run of the game. At the top of the ninth, the Norse scored the final run of the game, with a final score of 14-3.
This was the second Horizon League sweep for the Norse this season (the first being Youngstown State), as well as the second-straight game where Williams struck out at least ten pitchers (the first being against Milwaukee).
The Norse are back on the road next week as they take on Wright State for another Horizon League series. The opening game is this Friday and will start at 6 p.m.