Eastern Michigan Baseball opened Mid-American Conference play with a three-game series sweep versus rival Northern Illinois on March 22-24 at Ralph McKinzie Stadium in Dekalb, Ill. This marks the fifth time that the Eagles have been swept this season, leaving them with a MAC worst record of 3-19-1. The Huskies on the other hand now have a slightly better record of 7-16.
Game one of the series saw the Eagles keep it close for awhile before the game got out of hand, resulting in a loss for EMU. Eastern Michigan has made a habit of giving up runs late in games. In this case it was a 6-3 loss on March 22. The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second after scoring two separate RBI singles from Jordan Larson and Nick Drobushevich, they would add two more runs in the bottom of the third.
Eastern’s offense tried for a late rally in the eighth inning, scoring two runs to make it 6-3, but it was too little too late. Game two saw almost the same scenario take place as it did in the first game. Early scores by the Huskies were too much for a late rally by the Eagles to overcome in a 4-3 loss on March 23. In the bottom of the third inning, the Huskies started with a 2-0 lead after a two-run RBI single by Dylan Lonteen.
Eastern would score in the top of the fourth and fifth inning, but each time they did, the Huskies would add on an extra run in the bottom of those innings to keep the lead intact. Zachary Owings hit an RBI single in the top of the fifth inning that tied the game at three, seemingly got the Eagles right back in the game. However, in the bottom of that inning, Josh Mutter was hit by a pitch which allowed the runner on third to advance and score to make it 4-3.
Neither team scored again for the rest of the game.
Game three was a microcosm of the entire season for the Eagles. It was another close game early on, and they ended up letting it slip away late resulting in a one-sided loss. This time a 9-4 loss on March 24 to end the series with three consecutive losses. Something happened in game three that had not happened the entire series, though, as Eastern took its first lead after Nate Jones stole home plate and Jared Kaufman hit an RBI triple to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third.
That lead would not last long as Jake Dunham hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to give the Huskies a 4-2 advantage. Northern Illinois would add to that lead with four more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to make it 9-4.
Coach Eric Roof and his team were not made available for comment after the games. After playing their first 23 games on the road, the Eagles will play in their first home game of the season on March 26 against Northwestern Ohio in Oestrike Stadium.