-----Josh Bruns

By Mike Anderson & Chad Hensley, NKU Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Northern Kentucky University baseball team may have set a record Friday night for the longest bus ride to a home opener in history. After having their home opener relocated to the “Music City,” the Norse picked up a doubleheader split against Wayne (Mich.) State, winning game one 5-2, before dropping the second contest 12-8.

After Kenny Wilson singled with one out in the top of the first for the Norse, Jake Shaffer cracked the scoreboard with an RBI double down the left field line to plate Wilson for the early 1-0 lead.

The Norse added two more in the second after Chris Nann doubled and scored after a failed pickoff attempt moved him to third and Larry Pempek's grounder to shortstop was mishandled. Back-to-back singles from Jim Volpe and Jon Back set the table for a Kyle Hill wild pitch to bring NKU's third run across.

Matt Wagers extended the lead to three in the third inning, when he sent a 3-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for his second home run of the season.

Brett Witczak cut the lead in half for the Warriors with a one-out, two-run double in the fifth inning, ending the day for NKU starting pitcher Matt Marksbury. The Norse added one more run in the sixth inning on a Shaffer triple to right field, scoring Wilson from first base to make the 5-2 final score.

Shaffer finished game one 2-for-4 with a pair of extra base hits and two RBI. Nann also went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Back had a 2-for-3 performance in the first half of the twin bill.

Marksbury was solid in his first win of the season, pitching 4.1 innings and scattering five hits and two runs while striking out five. Josh Bruns shut down Wayne State over the final 2 2/3 innings, picking up seven strikeouts for his first save of the year.

The Wayne State bats wake up early in the nightcap as back-to-back doubles with two outs in the top of the first plated a pair of runs for the Warriors. The Norse answered back in the bottom half as Kevin Dusold sent a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center for his first round-tripper of the season, cutting the lead to 2-1.

Matt Cunningham opened up the second inning with a single and picked up first stolen base of the season. He advanced to third on the stolen base attempt as Back misplayed catcher Brad Johnson's throw. Scott Martin brought him home on a single to left to make it a two-run ball game again. The Warriors added three more in the third.

NKU got another run back in the fourth as Evan McDole, a redshirt freshman from Bishop Brossart High School, slapped his first double of the season to left-center. A pair of walks loaded the bases for Moulton who came up with a grounder to short to retire Jim Volpe at second as the Warriors sacrificed the run to get the out on the basepaths.

A single, an error and a wild pitch left runners on second and third in the top of the fifth with one out for the Warriors when Matt Wagers came up with what had to be the defensive play of the night, fielding a Cunningham grounder and throwing home to get Bob Schmidt attempting to score on the play. Unfortunately for the Norse, the spectacular play was for naught, as back-to-back RBI singles with two outs made it an 8-2 game

The teams would continue to trade runs, with each team scoring in the final seven half-innings. The Norse never closed to within four runs, however, and fell to a 12-8 defeat(use defeat instead of final.

NKU picked up 14 hits in the contest, a high-water mark for the season, punctuated by Kevin Dusold's 3-for-3 game two performance. Kory Lonergan went 3-for-5 in the nightcap, while Evan McDole and Jim Volpe each finished with 2-for-3 games.

Anthony Bass gave up nine hits and four runs in five innings of work for the WSU win. Brian Beltz (0-2) took the loss for NKU, surrendering eight hits and five earned runs, but picking up six of his seven outs via the strikeout. Kevin Quick turned in a solid relief performance for NKU, giving up two unearned runs and striking out four in 2.2 innings.

Northern Kentucky (1-3) finishes up their weekend with a matinee doubleheader against Grand Valley State. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. (CST) Saturday.