By Mike Anderson, NKU Sports Information
Game 1 box score | Game 2 box score
OWENSBORO, Ky. – The Northern Kentucky University baseball team punched its ticket to the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament by taking a pair of victories from Kentucky Wesleyan.
Offense was not an issue in Game 1, as the teams combined for 37 hits in a 17-12 NKU victory.
The game started harmlessly enough, with NKU’s Jason Cisper working his way around the bases after a leadoff single, eventually scoring on a Kevin Dusold RBI-single to take the early advantage. KWC’s Alex LaGreca offered a return volley in the bottom of the second, tying the game with an RBI-single of his own.
The teams then traded three-run third innings, with NKU’s Evan McDole hammering his 13th home run of the season while Jordan White countered with a two-run triple in the bottom of the frame. McDole’s bomb was the high point of a 4-for-5 game.
The Norse found some separation in the fifth inning thanks to a grand slam by Brian Erie, marking his sixth home run of the season and his 16th run batted in. The bomb was part of a five-run inning that put the Panthers on the ropes.
The teams traded runs again in the sixth inning before NKU exploded for a seven-run seventh, marked by a two-run double by Pat Muth and back-to-back homers by Dusold and Joe Mack to put the game out of reach.
Seven of the nine NKU starters had at least one hit and scored at least one run, with five of them going for three or more.
Sean Munninghoff (5-2) got the win after missing his last start, giving up five runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Andy Heston closed the game out with two innings of no-hit baseball.
Dave Middendorf pitched a gem in Game 2, striking out nine in a 5-1 complete-game victory for NKU.
Middendorf (2-3) struck out five of the first six batters he faced, setting a tone in the early part of the game.
Jason Cisper’s solo shot in the third inning gave NKU the early edge. The Norse added some breathing room in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI-single from Mack to score McDole, who led off with a double, followed by a two-run double by Jake Morris.
McDole scored again in the fifth on an RBI-double from Dusold to stretch the lead to five runs in the top of the fifth.
The Panthers (13-36, 6-12 GLVC East) finally found a chink in Middendorf’s armor in the bottom of the sixth when Chris Smith led off the frame with a double. Wesleyan would score a run in the inning, but it was all they could muster as Middendorf allowed just three hits on the game.
At 16-6 in GLVC East division play with two games remaining, NKU can now finish no lower than third place in the division after Saint Joseph’s and Lewis split their doubleheader on Saturday. NKU is 32-18 overall on the season, and has won its last seven contests, and 11 of its last 12.
The Norse and Panthers will conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for noon.