The baseball team dropped its season finale yesterday in an ugly game against Northern Iowa. UNI came out swinging, scoring 14 runs in the game's first four innings to take a commanding and insurmountable lead. The Panthers cranked out 16 hits in the game, including three home runs. The Braves managed to pound out five runs in the top of the seventh inning off of UNI's bullpen, but it simply wasn't enough, as Northern Iowa took the game 14-5.
Its hard to speculate on the reasons for a game like this without seeing it, but my best guess is probably just a lack of focus. It was the last game of the regular season and the team already had the No. 3 seed in the MVC tourney locked up. There probably just wasn't much for them to get fired up about. Either that or UNI, who had a rough in conference showing at just 8-16, really just wanted to prove something. Either way, the loss is fairly meaningless. Half of UNI's runs came off Jon Goebel, who probably won't be relied on much for innings in the tournament. The only thing that I see as being at all of concern is the three runs the Panthers scored off Tyler Thornton in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Tyler has been very good all year, finishing with a 5-0 record and a 2.82 ERA. Probably just an isolated bad outing for him, but he's fourth on the team in appearances, so he's an important pitcher to have throwing well going into the postseason.
Sticking with the baseball team, the MVC announced the baseball awards today, with seven Braves earning some type of honor. The biggest awards went to second baseman Ryan Curry and reliever Brad Altbach. Curry earned first-team All-MVC honors while Altbach was voted the 2007 MVC Freshman of the Year. He also receieved an honorable mention for the All-MVC team. The other awards for the Braves were as follows: Dan Brewer - second-team All-MVC shortstop, Michael Christl - second-team All-MVC starting pitcher, Paul Rice - honorable mention, Ryan Eigsti - honorable mention, and Justin Carr - honorable mention. Congratulations to all the players on their outstanding seasons.
The team's first round game in the MVC tourney is against Evansville this Wednesday at 3 p.m. Let's hope they bring home a win and move on.
One other quick note: women's track and field competitor Jennifer Jenkins is headed to the NCAA Mid-East Regional this upcoming weekend to compete in the hammer throw. Jenkins set the school record in the event earlier this year and she'll be one of 28 girls throwing at the event. Good luck to her!