Schuck's Clipboard

Kalusniak continues to be in sync with Hawks' staff

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 7, 2019 7:00 am Updated: Apr. 7, 2019 7:37 am

The rapport Quincy University senior right-hander Nick Stroud has developed with junior catcher Jacob Kalusniak is the kind you'd expect has been fostered by years of playing together.

That's not the case.

They've been teammates roughly eight months, but it feels substantially longer.

"I feel like I've known him forever," Stroud said. "He just fits right in."

That's good since they keep getting paired up for each of Stroud's starts.

"We have been in sync almost every time now," Kalusniak said. "I think that's why I keep getting put with him and he keeps getting put with me. We're like brothers out there and work together."

Saturday was the epitome of that.

Stroud walked two batters in the first inning against Missouri S&T, the first of which was erased when Kalusniak threw him out trying to steal third base. The second of which was left stranded at second as Stroud recorded one of his six strikeouts to end the threat.

Beyond that, the way Kalusniak called pitches and worked the corners of the plate showed he had complete faith in what Stroud was throwing. The end result was seven scoreless innings with Stroud on the mound and two more with reliever Sam Stephens, cementing a 1-0 victory and a doubleheader sweep at QU Stadium.

It was the Hawks' sixth shutout of the season, five of which have occurred with Kalusniak behind the plate.

"Kudos to my pitching staff," Kalusniak said. "They's been fantastic."

He's been high quality himself. The St. Charles, Mo., product transferred to Quincy from Jefferson College, and his defense has been as sterling as expected. He's thrown out 10 of 15 would-be base stealers, and has committed just two errors with one passed ball.

He's called such a good game for whichever pitcher he catches that the QU coaching staff continues to allow him to call his own game.

"For a lot of teams, the coaching staff calls the game," QU coach Josh Rabe said. "I think it slows the game down. We tell them what we kind of think should happen and it's theirs. (Kalusniak) has done a really good job of learning the pitching staff fairly quickly. He's got good fingers back there."

Stroud trusts everything Kalusniak does, which explains why he's been behind the plate for both of Stroud's shutouts and all eight of his starts.

"He's got me figured out," Stroud said. "I put full trust in him."