DeKALB – The DeKalb baseball team was desperate for a win heading into Monday's Northern Illinois Big 12 East series opener against Kaneland.
The Barbs were swept by Sycamore last week and were looking for their first conference win. Making the task tougher was the fact DeKalb had to face hard-throwing Kaneland right-hander Anthony Holubecki.
DeKalb got to Holubecki early with a run in the bottom of the first inning, but Kaneland stormed back with four in the second on its way to a 7-2 win.
The Barbs fall to 5-5 and remain winless in the NI BIg 12 East at 0-4. The Knights improve to 8-3 and are 4-0 in conference.
Holubecki, a sophomore who already has committed to Notre Dame, gave up two earned runs in five innings before being pulled because of a high pitch count. He struck out seven and walked four.
"He's tough. He's going to get his strikeouts. I actually thought our approach against him wasn't bad, we just never got the big hit," DeKalb coach Jake Howells said. "When you're facing a guy who's throwing that well, you may only have a couple opportunities to put together big innings. And we had opportunities, we just never got the big hit."
DeKalb got on the board first when center fielder Josh Snead lined a single to left, scoring Patrick Aves. It was one of only three hits for the Barbs. Aves and Jordan Keck had the others.
"I was just trying to stay patient, wait back. I know he's a good pitcher going to Notre Dame," Snead said. "All I was trying to do was get a nice base hit through the hole."
The Barbs got another in the third when Aves scored on a wild pitch, but left two men on to end the inning after leaving two on in the first.
Kaneland got four runs, three earned, in the second off DeKalb starter Zach Moan, and added three in the seventh off reliever Max Fleetwood. Moan fell to 1-2 after giving up six hits while walking two and striking out eight.
DeKalb hit three balls hard in the fifth inning – Holubecki's last, but they were hit right at Knights fielders. Reliever Nick Stahl came on in the sixth and struck out the side and didn't allow a baserunner in his two innings, earning his second save.
"Stahl, I'll tell you, we're really impressed with Nick right now," Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. "He's so efficient coming up throwing strikes, throwing the hammer there."
At the plate, Joe Laudont finished 2 for 3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored for Kaneland. Tyler Carlson was 3 for 3 with a walk, run scored and two stolen bases.