DeKALB – Morris was able to pound out hit after hit in Friday’s win over Sycamore.
However, that consistency didn’t carry over into Monday’s Northern Illinois Big 12 East series against DeKalb, as the Redskins were shut out by Barbs pitcher Austin Hop in a 1-0 loss.
“We need guys to step up and produce. We put certain guys in the lineup in certain places because they’re expected to produce,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “It’s not going to happen every time, but we’re on a string of games here where there’s only one game that really sticks out to us, and that’s the Friday game against Sycamore, where everything went our way offensively. You’re not going to be able to produce offensive numbers like that game in and game out. We’ve struggled to produce runs, and today was no different.”
DeKalb (6-7, 1-6 NI Big 12 East) had just four hits against Morris (11-7, 3-3 NI Big 12 East) starter Nick Evola, but was able to push across what would end up being the game-winning run in the bottom of the second when Dylan Farrell singled home Noah Baert, who singled to lead off the inning. Jared Johnson and Patrick Aves had the other hits for the Barbs. Hop allowed four hits and walked five batters, but the Redskins couldn’t manage to get the clutch hit.
DeKalb first baseman Jake Kuykendall threw out a runner at home to end the second, while Grant Schluntz was forced out at third to end the sixth and Matt Bernickus was forced out at second to end the game.
In the fifth, Austin Conrod was picked off first base. Hop (1-0) was able to catch the Redskin hitters off balance with his knuckleball.
“I didn’t plan to start the day. I got the text at about 1:30, and just kind of got ready, got mentally prepared,” Hop said. “Came out threw strikes. It’s all on my defense, they made a lot of good plays when [Morris] had the baserunners. I threw too many walks.”
While Morris came off a series win over a strong Sycamore team last week, DeKalb came into Monday’s game winless before getting its first conference win. The two teams continue their series in Morris Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
“I think when you look at the conference top to bottom it’s really good all the time,” DeKalb coach Jake Howells said. “... You have to play well in all parts of the game in order to win in our conference. That’s just the bottom line.”