Senior Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Missouri/Kearney) set the NIU baseball (16-33-1, 11-13 MAC) single-season record for complete game shutouts in a season Sunday to clinch the series over Akron in a 2-0 victory.
Klonowski scattered two hits, striking out seven with two walks on Senior Day.
The shutout by Klonowski also tied the career record for complete game shutouts in a career with three. The performance also set a new program record for shutouts in a season by the Huskies, breaking the record of six set by the 1964 team.
“Klono had command of all three of his pitches today and really only gave up one clean hit in the contest against a pretty legit Akron ball club,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “As a senior on Senior Day, those are the kinds of things out of kids and the kids you like to coach. I really appreciated his effort today. Brian got a good piece of the ball and Brandon swung well today too. That early run was very big for us and the run late was a good job of taking advantage of one mistake by the pitcher so that was good to see as well.”
While Klonowski allowed two hits in the contest, one of them was allowed by technicality as James Meeker hit a ball to the right side that struck the runner going from first to second base to end the inning. By NCAA rules, the runner is out on obstruction but the batter safely reaches first Barbase with a single.
The final hit by Akron came in the seventh inning as Kris Simonton singled to centerfield to lead the frame. But Klonowski and the NIU defense stifled the Zips as they were unable cross home plate despite two runners on base.
Klonowski struck out the side in the the fifth inning, capping his seven strikeout day.
NIU went on the board in the first inning as Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview, Illinois/St. Laurence) singled to right centerfield with one out. Brian Sisler (DeKalb, Illinois/DeKalb) followed that up with a double to left centerfield to score Mallder from first and extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
The Huskies would tack on an insurance run in the eighth inning as Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wisconsin/Madison Area TC) walked with one out in the frame. With two outs on him, Johnny Zubek (Oak Forest, Illinois/Oak Forest) hit a flare to left field that dropped 15 feet in front of the outfielder to score Tenhagen from second and put the Huskies up, 2-0.
The NIU Huskies will return to action Tuesday afternoon as it heads to Wisconsin to take on UW-Milwaukee for a doubleheader, starting at 3 p.m. Central. Both games will be seven innings.
For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.