By Michael Benson on April 23, 2014 5:49 PM
Men's Tennis: The Huskies finished the regular season against Buffalo, winning the affair 5-2. The team clinched the regular season championship with the victory, giving the Huskies the first seed in the MAC Championship Tournament. The tournament will be held at Ball State on April 25 and 26.
Track & Field: NIU took second at the Blue Demon Invitational out of five teams. Claudette Day set a new NIU record in the high jump, going up to 1.78 meters. Next up for the team is one of largest track & field competitions in collegiate athletics, the Penn Relays.
Men's Tennis: NIU bested Ball State on Saturday, 6-1. The win improved the team's record to 15-5 with a 2-0 MAC figure. The Huskies have just three matches left on the schedule before the MAC Championships.
By Michael Benson on April 2, 2014 2:34 PM
Baseball: NIU played a three game series at Bowling Green over the weekend, winning one of the games. The win was a 9-0 final on Friday. On Saturday, the team played a doubleheader, losing both games, 4-1 and 7-3. The Huskies currently hold a 4-19-1 record in 2014.
Track & Field: The Huskies competed at the Raleigh Relays, Bobcat Invitational, and Texas Relays over the week, finding some level of success at each. They'll next compete at the EIU Big Blue Invitational on Saturday, April 5.
By Michael Benson on March 24, 2014 2:04 PM
Wrestling: NIU sent two players to the NCAA Championships recently, Rob Jillard and Nick Smith. Both lost in the second round of their weight classes. The two combined to give NIU 53rd place at the event.
Softball: The Huskies split two games at Iowa State, seeing their record move to 10-12. Both games were played on Sunday. NIU took the first, 15-6. The team lost the second, 6-5. Neither game went the standard seven innings, as the first ended after five and the second was forced to an eighth inning.
Wrestling: NIU ended the regular season on a high note at Buffalo. Against the Bulls, the Huskies were able to come back from being down 11-0 in the match to win 20-14. The Huskies ended the regular season with a 7-11 record and a 2-6 conference record. They will next play at the MAC Championships on Saturday, March 8.
Women's Golf: NIU golfers performed well as they took sixth in the Islander Classic on on Tuesday, February 25. The team shot a 299 on the final day of the tournament, the third lowest team total in the history of the program.
To steal and paraphrase a line from Major League, "welcome, to another season of Northern Illinois baseball."
The defending Mid-American Conference West Division Champion Huskies opened practice Friday, January 24 at the brand Chessick Practice Center, adjacent to the Yordon Center. It was the team's first full practice at the facility.
Matt Gray of College Baseball Central, a former scout turned writer, came out from Woodstock, Ill. to take in the opening practice of the season, snap some photos and talk with a few players and coaches.
Gray has already written three articles on the Huskies, talking with Head Coach Ed Mathey, 2013 First Team All-MAC pitcher Eli Anderson and with various others about the first practice of the season.
Former Northern Illinois baseball player Joe Mazzuca, who closed his collegiate career with the Huskies in 2003, has established a career for himself playing in the Italian Baseball League, winning his third Italian Baseball League Championship with T & A San Marino last Sunday.
After playing three seasons in the Florida Marlins organization, who drafted him in the 12th round in 2003 and reaching as-high-as the single A level in Greensboro, Mazzuca tried his hand in the Italian League where he has played the last eight seasons of his professional career.
Mazzuca began his career with De Angelis Godo in 2006 with the Knights, eventually moving to Fortitudo Unipol Banca Bologna in 2008 where he played four seasons. He won his first Italian League Championship in Bologna in 2009. The last two years, Mazzuca has played for the baseball club in San Marino and has won two championships with the club. He has also represented Team Italy at the international level, winning the 2010 European Championship over the Netherlands for the country and participating in Olympic qualifying.
On Sunday, September 22, San Marino won game five of the Italian League Championship Series, 4-1, over Telemarket Rimini to claim its second-consecutive championship over Rimini. Mazzuca led the charge in the top of the second inning, driving a solo home run over the left field wall in the top of the second inning to give San Marino the early lead.
Watch the highlights of the championship game below posted by the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball).
Photo by @NWLBaseball (Northwoods Baseball League Twitter)
It started with a Mid-American Conference West Division Championship last spring. Now, members of the Northern Illinois baseball team have found success on their summer baseball teams in the Northwoods League.
Relief pitchers Anthony Andres and Ben Neumann both played their collegiate summer baseball in the Northwoods League and in the state of Wisconsin as Andres played for the Eau Claire Express and Neumann with his hometown Madison Mallards.
Andres, who finished his the 2013 campaign at NIU with a 3.86 earned run average in 30.1 innings of relief for the Huskies. The senior to be made his Northwoods League debut on June 28 at Wisconsin Rapids and surrendered a home run in his first pitch, followed by three more runs and five hits in 0.2 innings of work. Andres would follow with 26-straight scoreless innings of baseball for the Express. To read more on Andres' impressive run, click here.
Neumann, a junior from Verona, Wis., was one of the Mallards most-consistent pitchers in 2013 as he made 20 appearances in relief with 36.2 innings of work. He finished the year with a 1.96 ERA, a 3-2 record, 27 strikeouts and 10 walks. While statistically Neumann's season was a success, his team followed that same path of success as it won its first Northwoods League World Series since 2004 as it defeated the Dulth Huskies 2-0 in the best of three series. To read more about the Madison Mallards win, click here.
Both players return to Northern Illinois for its 2014 campaign, set to begin mid-February.
Anyone who follows Northern Illinois baseball closely knows that Jeff Zimmerman was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 19th round earlier this month. Zimmerman signed a professional contract with the Mariners June 13, five days after he was drafted, and was assigned to their Rookie affiliate in the Appalachian League, the Pulaski Mariners after workouts with extended spring training camp players.
Through five games, Zimmerman is second on the team in batting average amongst players with 15-or-more at bats this season at .300 and leads the squad in RBI (5), runs (5) and home runs (2). He also has 12 total bases this season, the second-most on the team.
Zimmerman made his professional debut June 21st at the Burlington Royals, starting at first base and batting in the seven hole. Though he did not record a hit in his three at-bats, his glove made a difference in the game as he helped turn two double plays to aid in the starting pitching performance of 16-year old Brazilian Luiz Gohara, also making his professional debut (4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K).
Two nights later, the NIU product recorded his first career hit and scored the first run of his career in the Mariners home-opener against the Bluefield Bluejays. Zimmerman finished 2-for-5 with a run to his credit. In the series finale June 25, he again recorded two hits and run, this time finishing 2-for-4 and driving in his first career run, a two out RBI single.
Last night against the Danville Braves however, Zimmerman had the biggest night of his professional career. While he finished the game 2-for-5 again, he smashed two home runs with four RBI and three runs, including a three-run homer to right centerfield in the eighth inning with two outs to lead a comeback for Pulaski over Danville, 12-6. Teammate Luke Guarnaccia hit a first pitch grand slam to score Zimmerman in the seventh.
Only seven games into the season, the Mariners are 3-4 and will have their first day off of the season July 2. Game two of the series with Danville will begin tonight at 7 p.m. All home games and select road games can be followed on here.
Follow Zimmerman's progress this season on PulaskiMariners.com. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook by liking "Pulaski Mariners" and on Twitter @PulaskiMariner.
Track & Field: NIU took 11th place at the MAC Outdoor Championships over the weekend. Janay Mitchell accounted for eight team points by finishing third in the 100 meters and seventh in the 200 meters. Meanwhile, Sidra Sherrill (shot put), Natalie Tarter (heptathlon) and Jamie Burr (800 meters) also scored points for the Huskies.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois closed out their regular season over the weekend with a busy three meet schedule. At the Penn Relays, the Huskies got a MAC auto bid from Sidra Sherrill in the shot put, while Janay Mitchell solidified her spot in the 100 meters. Meanwhile, NIU got strong showings at West Chester and UW-Whitewater.
Men's Tennis: Northern Illinois saw their season come to an end as they hosted the 2013 MAC tournament. The Huskies advanced to their first title match since 2004 when they upset No. 1 Ball State, 4-2, Friday. Their run ended Saturday, though, when they fell to Western Michigan, 4-3.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois dominated the competition at the Huskie Open with nine event titles. Megan Gregory (100 hurdles, 200 meters), Janay Mitchell (100 meters), Ida Burbulla (high jump), Sidra Sherrill (shot put), Alex Schad (long jump) all earned wins, along with the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. Out west at the Beach Invitational, Meghan Heuer earned an automatic bid to MACs in the 800 meters.
Men's Tennis: Northern Illinois closed out their regular season Sunday with a big 4-3 win over Buffalo. The win helped secure NIU a spot in next weekend's MAC Championships, which the Huskies host.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois took third place at the Chicagoland Championships in Romeoville, Ill. Natalie Tarter, Sidra Sherrill and Megan Gregory each claimed event titles for the Huskies, while Tarter's 4,206 points in the heptathlon set a new school record.
Baseball: The Huskies moved to 4-2 in MAC play this weekend with a three-game sweep of Akron in Avon, Ohio. The series began Friday with a tight 4-3 win courtesy of two runs in the top of the ninth. NIU got another one-run win Saturday with a 2-1 win behind Eli Anderson's complete game performance. Northern got the sweep on Sunday by crushing the Zips, 14-4.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois had several strong performances over the weekend at the Texas Relays and Raleigh Relays. Megan Gregory and Meghan Heuer each clinched MAC automatic qualifying marks to highlight the split-squad weekend.
Track & Field: The Huskies kicked off their outdoor season Friday in Tampa, Fla., with several quality performances. Meghan Heuer won the 1500 meters, while 10 different individuals combined for 14 top 10 finishes.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois dominated their Senior Night showdown with Eastern Michigan, winning 194.775-192.550. Megan Melendez, Jaelyn Olson, Kim Gotlund and Natalie Sutter all won individual honors on the night.
Baseball: Northern Illinois went 1-2 at Minnesota's Dairy Queen Classic with all three contests coming down to the last inning. In Friday's tournament lid-lifter, the Huskies fell to Utah, 6-1. On Saturday afternoon, NIU and Dartmouth were locked in a pitchers' duel, but it was the Big Green who came away with a 1-0 win. In the tournament finale, Alex Klonowski's complete game two-hitter lifted the Huskies to a 2-1 win over the host Golden Gophers.
Softball: NIU split their Sunday doubleheader in Carbondale, Ill., as part of Southern Illinois' Coach B Classic. In the first game, the Huskies squeaked out a 3-2 win against Butler, but lost in extras to Saint Louis in the second game.
Wrestling: The Huskies capped their MAC slate on a positive note, defeating Buffalo, 20-18. Nick Smith, Rob Jillard, Andrew Morse and Matt Mougin got wins for NIU early before Jared Torrence won the meet with an overtime decision at heavyweight.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois recorded a season-best score for the second consecutive meet, but it was not enough in a 195.175-194.375 loss at Iowa State. Kim Gotlund posted career-best scores on the balance beam and uneven bars.
Men's Golf: NIU opened their spring season Monday and Tuesday with a fourth place finish at the MAC Match Play in Dade City, Fla. After upsetting second-seeded Akron in the first round, the Huskies lost to eventual champion Bowling Green to close out Monday. On Tuesday, Northern dropped a tight contest against Eastern Michigan in the third-place match.
baseball great Scott Simon (2003-07) is being inducted into Athletic Hall of
Fame at his alma mater Marian Central Catholic and will be honored Friday night
during the school's football game with Immaculate Conception at 7 p.m.
Simon, a native of
Algonquin, Ill., is Northern Illinois' all-time leader in hits with 318 and
held the Mid-American Conference's record until the 2012 season when Kent
State's Jimmy Rider broke the record. He also owns the NIU doubles record.
During his career
for the Huskies, Simon was twice named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list
and was a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Earning All-MAC honors
in 2003, as well as Freshman All-America status, he was also a twice named to
the Mid-American Conference's All-Academic team.
Prior to NIIU he
was the Suburban Catholic League and Northwest Herald Player of the Year during
his senior year, when he hit for .536 with six home runs, striking out only
five times as the team's captain.
To read more about
the Marian Central Catholic Hall of Fame Class, click here.
On August 10th former Northern Illinois shortstop Bobby Stevens was called up to the Mississippi Braves, Atlanta's AA affiliate from the Advanced A Lynchburg Hillcats. Since his call up, Stevens has made nine appearances between the outfield and first base for the M-Braves, carrying a .182 batting average with four RBI and a double. He is errorless in his appearances in the field
In an extra innings thriller at Trustmark Park, the former Huskie got the signal in the bottom of the 13th with the score tied, 1-1. Stevens made the most of his opportunity and with a runner on, he belted his first home run with the ball club to lead the Braves to a 3-1 victory, their fifth straight. It was the team's first walk-off since August 30, 2008 and the first pinch-hit walk-off since August 4, 2008.
Nearly two months after he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, former Northern Illinois hurler Jake Hermsen earned his first career minor league victory for the Ogden Raptors in his five-inning, four strikeout, shutout performance. The Raptors went on to defeat the Idaho Falls Chukars, 4-1, for the team's second-straight win, following a three-game losing streak.
Hermsen, a native of New London, Wis., finished the first half of the season seventh in the league in earned run average with an impressive 3.97 clip and boosted himself to sixth after last night's performance (3.46).
As you may recall, former Huskie Jake Hermsen became the first NIU baseball player drafted by a Major League Baseball club since 2008 on June 6th. Since then, Hermsen has made five appearances and starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie League affiliate, Ogden Raptors.
The New London, Wis., native currently owns an 0-2 record and has pitched 24.1 innings this season. However, his record on the mound is not what's turning heads thus far into his Minor League Baseball career.
Hermsen was drafted in the 28th round by the Dodgers (866th overall) this season, becoming the first Huskie drafted since Bobby Stevens (Baltimore Oriorles, 16th round) and Trevor Feeney (Detroit Tigers, 31st round) were drafted in the 2008 MLB Draft.
Which leads to a perfect segway into the second half of this Huskies Happening.
After being released by the Baltimore High-A club Fredrick Keys, he was signed by the Lynchburg Hillcats in the same league (Carolina) and has made 14 appearances this season for the team. At the plate he is batting .167 with a home run and five RBI, however, he is batting a combined .246 with his four combined teams during the 2012 season. In his 12 games in the outfield, he has eight putouts and three assists in 12 chances (1 error, .917 fielding percentage).
Track & Field:
Northern Illinois posted a program-best 53.33 points at the MAC Outdoor Championships to take eighth place. Janay Mitchell won the conference's 100 meters title by recording the top times in the prelims and the final. In addition, the quartet of Chanel Kellyman, Roneisha Frye, Mitchell and Rasheta Butler dominated the 4x100 relay to take first, beating second place Western Michigan by nearly a half-second. Additionally, Roneisha Frye also got All-MAC honors for her second-place finish in the 100 hurdles, setting a school record at 13.63 in the finals.
Baseball will be the lone team in action this week as they close out their regular season with a busy week. NIU travels to Milwaukee to face the Panthers on Tuesday, then returns home Thursday to start a three-game, MAC regular season-ending series with Ball State at Ralph McKinzie Field.
The Huskies' season came to an end over the weekend as they dropped two games to Western Michigan. After leading early in Saturday's tilt, NIU fell to the Broncos, 5-3. Things were very similar in the second game of the series on Sunday, as NIU took a 2-1 lead through the first inning and a half. However, WMU put up one run in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-2 decision.
Men's Golf: Northern Illinois finished in seventh place as hosts of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championships
at Rich Harvest Farms after the final round of the tournament was cancelled due to inclement weather. Individually, freshman Thomas Dunne led the way for the Huskies with a tie for eighth place.
Two Huskie squads - baseball and track & field - are in action during finals week. The track & field team heads to Central Michigan for the 2012 Mid-American Outdoor Championships, which take place Thursday through Saturday. For baseball, they head to Kalamazoo Friday for a pivotal three-game set against the Western Michigan Broncos.
Track & Field:
Northern Illinois capped its regular season off on a high note over the weekend at the Drake Relays and UW-Whitewater Alternative Meet. In Des Moines, the Huskies posted two top-five finishes, including a third-place finish in the 4x100 relay, and broke five school records. At UW-Whitewater, NIU brought home six event titles, while seven different athletes set new personal records.
Women's Golf: NIU concluded its
2011-12 season with an eighth-place finish at the 2012 Mid-American
Conference Women's Golf Championships at Hawthorns Golf & Country
Club in Fishers, Ind. Sunday. Senior Kelsie Passolt finished her NIU career on high note, turning
in her lowest score of the season for a three-round event carding a 223
(78-80-75) to tie for eighth place, a career-best finish at the MAC
Men's Tennis: With a 3-2 lead late in the contest, the Huskies fell to Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament
semifinals, 4-3. The Huskies end their impressive 2012 season 21-7.
Women's Tennis: Northern Illinois dropped its quarterfinal
matchup of the Mid-American Conference Tournament against the No.
2-seeded Akron Zips (22-3, 7-1 MAC) on Friday, 4-0. The loss marked the
end of the Huskies' season as the team finished with an 11-12 overall
record and a 2-6 mark in MAC play.
Three NIU teams will compete in the last week before final exams. Men's golf hosts the MAC Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., starting Friday. Meanwhile, baseball takes on Northwestern at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva, Ill., and travels to UIC before hosting Central Michigan in a three-game weekend series, while softball caps off their regular season with games at Notre Dame and Western Michigan.
Football: Quarterback Jordan Lynch
showed that he plans a seamless transition into the starting role as he
threw for 402 yards on 29-of-44 passing with four touchdowns Saturday
at Huskie Stadium in Northern Illinois' Red-White Spring Football Game.
Lynch led the Red team, composed of the Huskie starting units on
offense and defense, to a 31-6 victory over the White team in the final
spring football practice of 2012.
Baseball: Despite strong pitching, the Huskies were swept at home over the weekend by the Toledo Rockets. The series opened with a 7-3 win by UT despite the Huskies holding the lead through seven innings. The Huskie offense struggled again on Saturday with a 5-1 loss, then dropped the finale in extras by a 4-3 margin.
Track & Field: The Huskies had a big week at two major meets during the weekend, breaking five school records between the Kansas Relays and Mt. SAC Relays. On Thursday, Courtney Oldenburg broke her own NIU mark in the 1500 meters with a 4:27.64 run, while Juliane Totzke toppled the 10,000 meters record with a 36:23.93 clip. Friday saw Chanel Kellyman set a new record in the 100 meters and Roneisha Frye (100 hurdles) and Rebecca Cronin (800 meters) added their names to the record books on Saturday.
Men's Golf: The Northern Illinois men's golf team wrapped up the regular season
portion of its schedule with a seventh-place finish at the Boilermaker
Invitational at the Kampen Course on the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
Freshman Thomas Dunne was the top-finishing Huskie, taking 13th with a final round 75.
The Huskies dropped their final two regular season games at home this weekend. NIU was swept by Akron, 7-0, on Saturday, then dropped their Senior Day showdown with Buffalo, 5-2. The squad finishes their regular season at 11-11 overall and 2-6 in the MAC.
Huskie teams will compete this week. Three programs (men's tennis, women's tennis and women's golf) will head to their respective MAC Championships, including women's tennis hosting the conference tournament in DeKalb. In addition, softball hosts their final home game of the year Wednesday against Northwestern and baseball welcomes Milwaukee on Tuesday.
On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson played in his first Major League Baseball game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping them defeat the Boston Braves, 5-3. Though he finished 0-for-3 at the plate, he scored one run and recorded a sacrifice hit in the team's win.
Just another ball game right? Wrong. Robinson took his first step towards changing the landscape of the United States by playing in the game, becoming the first African-American to play in the league and engraining himself in Civil Rights icon. That same season, Robinson aided Brooklyn to its first World Series Championship since 1920.
Fast forward to today, and the No. 42 is retired by every franchise in MLB, with only one player still wearing the jersey (Mariano Rivera wore the number before it was retired in 1997).
I was promptly reminded by myself that NIU baseball has a first person connection with Jackie Robinson, through his foundation of course, in senior third baseman Troy White, senior from Chicago and a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar. At the beginning of March, received the Nike Award for his work with Cit Cubs program, working alongside Theo Epstien, President of Baseball Operations with the Chicago Cubs.
All accolades aside, White was spectacular for the Huskies on Sunday as he finished the day 7-for-11 at the plate with six RBI, a home run, a double and three runs in NIU's doubleheader. It was an amazing thing to witness at McKie Field on the Miami campus. The Redhawks press box workers simply asked "What's he going to do next?" It was that impressive.
I guess it was meant to be though. Friday, Phil Hersh ran an article in The Chicago Tribune about White's journey to NIU and his off the diamond works and happenings. When I returned to DeKalb, there was a stack of newspapers and a magazine article with a picture of Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widowed wife, and a yellow Post-it note with the words "Troy White reference" and an arrow point out to where in the article.
I read the paragraph and smiled, closed the magazine with my finger saving the page and I saw a picture of Bubba Watson underneath the iconic words "Sports Illustrated" splashed on the front. White was referenced in the article as a success story of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Check it out and see for yourself.
Needless to say it was a pretty good weekend for NIU baseball. Not only did the program sweep Miami (Ohio) for the first time since the teams first met in 1968, there was also some good press, and that's a good.
My final contribution to the article, a shameless plug for the Northern Illinois Baseball Twitter feed...
For everything NIU baseball, follow on Twitter @NIU_Baseball or click the follow link below.
Track & Field:
The Northern Illinois track & field team closed out their weekend at
the Lee Calhoun Memorial Invitational on a high note, taking four event
titles Saturday in Macomb, Ill. Despite holding several of
their top performers out of the meet, the Huskies took third place in
the 13-team field with 126 points. Marquette won the meet with 202
points, while host Western Illinois was runner-up with 165.5 points.
Men's Golf: Junior Kurtis Luedtke recorded his best collegiate tournament finish,
tying for eighth, helping lead Northern Illinois to a
tie for fourth place at the COG Mizzou Intercollegiate. The Huskies
posted a final round score of 298 to finish the 54-hole event with a
total of 887, tied with IUPUI. Host Missouri won the team title
for the second consecutive season with a total score of 856, the Tigers'
Ryan Zech took individual medalist honors with an eight-under score of
The Huskies finished seventh at the Falcon
Invitational hosted by Bowling Green Friday and Saturday. Allie Parthie moved up seven spots after trimming two
strokes off her first round score of 80 to card a 158 and finish in
ninth. Senior Kelsie Passolt made the biggest jump, climbing 15
spots to 22nd after posting a second round 80 to finish with a 163.
Six Huskie teams are in action during the upcoming week. The big event in DeKalb this weekend in SpringFest, which takes place Saturday with the Spring Football Game, baseball playing Toledo and women's tennis battling Akron.
On one of the beautiful 80 degree days DeKalb had to offer in the month of March, I went outside to watch the team practice at Ralph McKinzie Field and was quickly approached by Head Coach Ed Mathey. As we talked about the happenings of NIU and baseball in general, senior third baseman Troy White took a stab at a hard hit ground ball and came up with the ball and flinged the ball back to home plate as he continued to take the ground balls at practice.
As Mathey and I just laughed at the amazing play that was made by White in front of our own eyes, Mathey said to me "Don't be surprised if that kid becomes a millionaire. Whatever he pursues, he's going to be successful at."
Following an interview Monday morning, I think Troy may have found a believer at The Chicago Tribune in columnist Phil Hersh. Hersh and White spoke on the phone for about 10 minutes and wrote a great piece on White's road to Northern Illinois.
In case you missed it on our YouTube page, here is a television feature released earlier this year on White's story.
Baseball: Northern Illinois came close to grabbing a win over the weekend, but Ohio emerged with a three-game sweep over the Huskies in DeKalb. The NIU bullpen lost control of the game Friday in a 13-2 Bobcat victory. The two schools were locked in a pitcher's dual on Saturday - including NIU's Jake Hermsen throwing 138 pitches and getting seven strikeouts. Yet, Ohio got timely hitting for a 3-1 win. The series concluded with a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams combine for 29 runs and 31 hits, but the Bobcats got the sweep in a 19-10 marathon.
Northern Illinois rebounded from a tough first week of April to grab thee conference wins over the weekend. NIU would split a Friday doubleheader with Eastern Michigan, dropping the first game, 2-0, before grabbing the second in a 4-0 win. Playing at Central Michigan on Saturday, the Huskies dominated the Chippewas in a 5-1 win. The next day, NIU got a go-ahead two-run home run from Dani Parrish in the top of the seventh for a 4-2 win against CMU.
Track & Field:
The Northern Illinois track & field team won the Chicagoland
Intercollegiate Championships Friday in Chicago behind six event titles
and several top five finishes. NIU scored 174 team points on the
blustery day to take first in the 18-team field, followed by DePaul in
second place with 136 and UIC in third with 85.
The Northern Illinois University women's golf team finished ninth at
the Marsh Landing Invitational hosted by the University of Cincinnati
Tuesday. The Huskies were unable to move up the leaderboard after shooting
a final round 332 for a total of 697. Stetson won the event, carding
an 894, with SU's Alex Buelow winning the individual championship
posting a 217.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois gymnasts Kim Gotlund and Tanya Rachan had mixed results in representing the
Huskies in the 2012 NCAA Gymnastics Champaign Regional on Saturday at
the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall. Representing NIU with two competitors in the NCAAs for the first time
since 2009, Gotlund had one of her best all-around scores of the season
while Rachan slipped up for the first time all season in the floor
Northern Illinois stayed unbeaten in MAC action with a 6-1 win against Ball State. After dropping the doubles point, the Huskies rattled off six singles wins to defeat the 2011 MAC champions. On Sunday, NIU lost 4-3 to Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis.
Seven Huskie teams are in action during the upcoming week. Softball hosts DePaul Tuesday, Buffalo Friday and Kent State Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, baseball hosts Illinois State on Tuesday and men's tennis welcomes Toledo (Saturday) and Buffalo (Sunday) to Rockford.
Track & Field:
Northern Illinois broke three school records over the weekend with athletes competing at both the Texas Relays and the adidas Raleigh Relays. In Austin, Texas, the 4x400 relay team of Chanel Kellyman, Rebecca Cronin, Julianne Cronin and Rasheta Butler set the new NIU standard with a 3:46.21 run. In the sprint medley relay later that day, Kellyman, Janay Mitchell, Butler and Rebecca Cronin added their names into the record books at a 3:57.72 clip. Meanwhile, Juliane Totzke broke the 5000 meters record in North Carolina with a 16:57.17 run.
The Northern Illinois men's golf team concluded play at the Irish Creek
Collegiate on Sunday, closing the tournament with a 10th place finish.
Junior Kurtis Luedtke was the highest-finishing individual for NIU, tying for 26th with a 54-hole total of 217.
The Northern Illinois University women's golf team struggled in its
final round, but still finished in the top 10, placing seventh at the
18th Annual Saluki Invitational at Hickory Ridge Golf Course Monday. The Huskies shot a second round 325 to finish the tournament with
a 642. The host Salukis of Southern Illinois won the event with a 608.
SIU's Cassie Rushing took the individual championship with a 146.
Six Huskie teams will compete during the upcoming week. Among the events in DeKalb include baseball hosting Ohio for a three-game set, women's tennis welcoming Toledo and Eastern Michigan, and men's tennis hosting Ball State.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois earned its highest team scores of the season on
both floor exercise and vault en route to a fourth-place finish at the
2012 Mid-American Conference Gymnastics Championships Saturday at the
NIU Convocation Center. The result reflected a marked improvement from
the Huskies' seventh place finish of a year ago as five different NIU
gymnasts in six events earned spots on the awards stand at the
conclusion of the meet.
Baseball: Northern Illinois won their home opener Tuesday with an 8-6 victory against the UIC Flames to give sophomore Eli Anderson his first career win. The team opened MAC play at Kent State, but were swept in the three game series. Alex Klonowski notched four hits against the Golden Flashes in a 12-6 Friday loss. Saturday turned into a pitchers' duel, but KSU emerged with a 6-1 win. The Huskies could not prevent the sweep Sunday with a 5-3 loss.
The Huskies earned a pair of top four finishes in Florida during the week to complete their mid-March Florida trip. at UCF's Rio Pinar Invitational, NIU was led by Blake Emory's final-round 67 to earn fourth place in the 15-team field. Later in the week at the FAU Spring Break Championship, Northern took third place, trailing only Florida State and Ohio State in the team standings.
The Northern Illinois University women's golf team sits in third
place after posting a strong first round at the 18th Annual Saluki
Invitational at Hickory Ridge Golf Course Sunday.The Huskies shot a season-low 317 with junior Allie Parthie leading the way with a four-over-par 76.
Parthie is in the top 10 placing sixth after one round of play.
Facing the preseason Mid-American Conference favorite Western Michigan, the Northern Illinois men's tennis squad entered unafraid and defeated the Broncos, 5-2. It was the
Huskies 11th win all-time versus the Broncos and the first win in at
least a decade against WMU.
Seven NIU teams are in action during the week. Among the highlights are softball's home opener Tuesday against Illinois State and ensuing four-game weekend slate, the start of baseball's eight-game homestand and men's and women's tennis' DeKalb openers.
Jamison Wells stole his 14th base of the season against UIC Tuesday afternoon
Northern Illinois won its home opener Tuesday afternoon against Illinois-Chicago, 8-6, largely in part to a six run second inning. Northern Illinois tacked on two runs in the fourth inning and hit a walloping 13-for-33 (.393) against UIC.
All things considered, I think it was a successful opening day. A good crowd of students, parents and fans came out to Ralph McKinzie Field to support the Huskie baseball team under the sunny 80 degree sky... In March. In fact, it was actually warmer in DeKalb yesterday (83 degrees) than it was in Phoenix, Ariz. (66 degrees). It was a beautiful thing.
Aside from a good crowd in the stands, there was a good crowd in the press box as well to cover the Huskies. Check out some of the links from yesterday's game and another from Saturday afternoon's win against Southern Illinois, the start of NIU's three-game win streak.
NIUHuskies.com - TIMELY AND CONSISTENT HITTING CARRIES HUSKIES OVER FLAMES
Wrestling: Huskies Kevin Fanta and Brad Dieckhaus
were eliminated Thursday at the NCAA Championships at Scottrade Center
in St. Louis, Mo. to end the Northern Illinois wrestling team's 2011-12
season. Fanta lost to #9 Nick Dardanes of Minnesota, 12-4, then was
eliminated by pin against Iowa State's Luke Goettl. For Dieckhaus, he
lost an 8-4 decision to Nathan Schiedel of Binghamton before being
forced to forfeit his wrestleback match due to injury.
Gymnastics: Senior Tanya Rachan
scored a 9.900 on floor exercise, the top score by a Northern Illinois
gymnast on floor since 2005 and the first 9.9 by a Huskie on any event
since 2009, to lead NIU at the State of Illinois Classic Saturday in Champaign, Ill. With the score, Rachan tied for first on
floor exercise and was named to the 2012 All-State team. Rachan's score led the Huskies to a season-best 49.000 team total
on floor exercise, the team's top score on any event all season and a
mark the floor squad had targeted since the first meet of the season. Natalie Sutter scored a 9.825 on floor exercise to tie for fifth and freshman Peyton Taylor added a career-high 9.800 to take seventh place.
Track & Field: The Northern Illinois track & field team got their outdoor season
off to a quick start in Saturday with two event titles and two
records at the UCF Black & Gold Challenge. As a team, the Huskies
combined for 15 top five finishes and nine personal records in the
Huskie teams will be in action this upcoming week. Baseball opens their
home schedule Tuesday with a game against UIC at 3 p.m., then begin MAC
play during the weekend at Kent State. Additionally, men's golf has two
tournaments in Florida, while men's and women's tennis open conference
play on the road. Women's golf is also in action, as they head to
Southern Illinois for the SIU Invitational.
Northern Illinois defied the odds and made a deep run in the MAC Tournament all the way to the quarterfinals. The Huskies were stuck in a nail-biter Wednesday afternoon against Akron. Trailing 60-59 with under ten seconds to go, Kim Davis grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in with six seconds remaining to give NIU a 61-60 victory over the Zips. Their season came to an end Thursday afternoon, though, when third-seeded Toledo earned a 72-62 win.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois struggled on its first event, the
uneven parallel bars, and went on to a disappointing third-place finish
and an overall score of 192.075 Saturday night at the EMU Eagle
Invitational. The Huskies finished behind host Eastern Michigan, who totaled a
193.850, and runner-up Air Force (192.250), while picking up a win over
Temple (190.725), to put their season record at 5-7 overall. NIU
finishes its MAC regular season slate 2-4.
With two singles matches left to play, Northern Illinois was at the
heels of No. 68 Brown, 3-2. However, the Huskies were unable to overcome
of the deficit and fell to Bears, 5-2. The loss drops NIU to 10-5 on the season.
Spring break week will have many teams competing in warmer climes, as five of the seven teams in action (women's golf, men's tennis, softball, women's tennis, track & field) will be in Florida. Meanwhile, baseball has a two game set in St. Louis before a weekend round-robin at Southern Illinois, while wrestling caps off their season at the NCAA Championships in the Gateway City.
The Huskies closed out their regular season by splitting two hard-fought games. On Wednesday's Senior Night, NIU came from behind to defeat Toledo, 65-61, behind double figures from Abdel Nader and Aksel Bolin. That momentum partially carried into Saturday, where the visiting Huskies grabbed an early lead on Ball State. However, the Cardinals emerged with a 62-51 win in Muncie.
Northern Illinois faced Western Michigan twice in DeKalb this week with far different results. On Tuesday, the Broncos spoiled Senior Night with a 66-64 overtime victory in the Convo, despite Satavia Taylor's 20 points. The Huskies, though, exacted revenge on their MAC West rivals in the first round of the conference tournament, handing the Broncos a 68-51 defeat Saturday.
Wrestling: Senior Brad Dieckhaus and sophomore Kevin Fanta both secured bids in the NCAA Championships for Northern Illinois Sunday at the MAC Championships. As
a team, the Huskies finished fifth with 41 points, falling just a
half-point behind Ohio for fourth. Central Michigan won the tournament
title with 89 points, followed by Kent State, Eastern Michigan and the
host Bobcats. Buffalo took sixth place on the day.
Gymnastics: The Huskies recorded the second-highest team score in school history en route to a
195.100-194.350 dual meet victory over Illinois State Sunday in Normal. NIU posted its best team totals of the year on uneven parallel
bars, balance beam and floor exercise with six scores of 9.800 or higher
in three different events. The Huskies did not count a score lower than
9.650 on the day while raising their record to 4-5 overall. Northern
Illinois' total topped its previous season best of 194.775, set Feb. 11
at Bowling Green. The 195.100 matches the mark posted on Feb. 1, 2004 at
Kent State which ranks behind only the 195.650 school record set March
23, 2003 at the State of Illinois Championships.
Softball: The Huskies went 2-2 over the weekend at the Coach B Classic in Carbondale, Ill. On Saturday, NIU defeated Wright State, 5-1, before falling later to SIU-Edwardsville, 4-3, in eight innings. Northern would go 1-1 again on Sunday, shutting out Western Illinois, 5-0, and losing to the host Salukis, 15-7.
Women's Tennis: Northern Illinois took down the Milwaukee
Panthers on Sunday by a score of 4-3 for its sixth win of the season. It
was the second time this year the Huskies found themselves on the
winning end while at the Boylan Tennis Center. With the victory, NIU sits at
6-4 on the season.
NIU's upcoming week will be dominated by MAC Tournament action. The women's team heads to Cleveland Wednesday to take on Akron at 1:30 p.m., while the men open their tournament Monday night at Eastern Michigan. Additionally, men's tennis hosts Brown in Rockford Friday; gymnastics goes to Ypsilanti, Mich.; baseball is in Clarksville, Tenn., and softball plays in Columbia, Mo.
To fans of baseball there are two words that will always bring a smile to their faces - spring training. It marks the start of the new season. It reminds us of sunshine, the smell of the fresh cut grass and the sound of leather smacking together around rawhide.
For over a century, baseball teams have traveled southbound to get out of the rain, cold and snow to work out the kinks and prepare for the long season's grind in warmer climates. Whether its black and white photos of players in hawaiian shirts, or fictional stories of Walter Matthau's character Morris Buttermaker striking out Ted Williams a la Bad News Bears, fans can't help but smile or be nostalgic over spring training.
After opening the season at Tennessee, the Northern Illinois baseball team is on their longest road stretch of the season, having just concluded a four-game trip in Lubbock, Texas. The team traveled straight from Texas Tech to Surprise, Ariz. for a four-day stretch at the Coca Cola Classic, where the Huskies will meet Arizona State, Oregon State, St. Mary's (Calif.) and Winthrop. (click here for game notes)
First record of the Huskies heading south was in 1951 on a trip to Mississippi and then to Memphis, under then-Head Coach Ralph McKinzie's steady watch. From that year on NIU went almost annually to Louisiana or Mississippi to open its season, generally at the end of march. The '51, enshrined in the Huskie Athletics Hall of Fame, finished the trip down South 3-2 and finished 11-6, en route to the IIAC Championship.
The document in the gallery (the last photo) is a travel itinerary from the team's trip in 1965, where they traveled by train on the Illinois Central's Panama Limited line to Hammond, La., to play at LSU and Southeastern Louisiana.
The itinerary shows the team stayed at Strawberry Stadium on the campus of the Southeastern Louisiana for the first two nights of the trip, before leaving Hammond for New Orleans to play Loyola (La.). The itinerary also shows the team ate in each school's respective cafeteria for meals during the trip.
The photos caught my eye at first because of the old cars parked in front of the stadium, mostly 50's era automobiles. Not to mention a big, giant brick wall that read "Strawberry Stadium" on its backside. The stadium, erected in 1936, is still home to the Lions, but has since been renovated. And of course, the rest and relaxation photos of players laying in the grass and working on their Illinois tan was funny as well.
For fun, Google the stadium and compare the press box in 1962 to today... Drastic changes! The stadium is but a mere shadow of its former self in many respects.
With the advent of flying from location-to-location in today's world, its hard to imagine teams traveling by train for a long haul trip to play baseball. But, those were the times and I'm sure the trip resonated or still resonates to the guys on the trip. As skipper Ed Mathey said about this year's trip, "It's a day the kids won't soon forget."
Like I said earlier, spring training will always bring a smile to a baseball fan's face. It inspired me to write this posting and share some of the goodies from the archives, along with highlights from yesterday's big day for the Northern Illinois baseball team at Camelback Ranch.
I'd like to close by once again giving a big thank to the Chicago White Sox organization for providing us with video, publicizing us on their website and of course for letting us practice at the facility.
Seven NIU teams were in action during the past week, including track & field excelling at the MAC Indoor Championships and men's tennis winning eight-straight on their home court. Men's Basketball:
Northern Illinois dropped two MAC West road games during the week, but hung close in both instances. On Wednesday, the Huskies led division-leading Eastern Michigan by 13 half way through the second half, but the Eagles stormed back to take a 48-45 victory in Ypsilanti. NIU returned to Michigan Sunday to face Central Michigan, where they lost 74-64 despite Abdel Nader's 24 points.
The Huskies struggled in two road games during the week, falling at Central Michigan and Toledo. NIU headed to Mt. Pleasant Wednesday, but cold shooting doomed NIU in a 73-50 loss to the Chippewas. Northern followed that up with another offensive setback in a 49-39 defeat to the Rockets.
Northern Illinois seniors Shonda Clore, Ashley Guerra and Tanya Rachan provided eight great routines on
Senior Day to lead the Huskie gymnastics team to its second-highest
overall score of 2012, but it was not enough to overcome Central
Michigan as NIU dropped a dual meet to the Chippewas, 194.950-193.925,
Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center.
Track & Field: Chanel Kellyman and Megan Gregory each won conference titles Saturday at the Mid-American Conference
Indoor Championships, helping the Northern Illinois track & field
team to their best indoor conference finish as a member of the MAC. The
Huskies' 48 team points earned them a seventh place finish in the final
standings, topping host Akron by ten points. Additionally, Kellyman (60
meters) and Gregory (60 hurdles) - who earned all-MAC first team honors
for their performances - became the first individual indoor MAC
champions in NIU track & field history, while NIU broke school
records in six different events at the meet.
Baseball: The Huskies' offense improved, but NIU dropped their first three games at the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic in Lubbock, Texas. Northern fell behind early against No. 18 St. John's, but came back to force extras before the Red Storm belted a walk-off home run to win, 11-9. Later on Saturday, NIU took an early lead against host Texas Tech, but fell 8-5 to the Red Raiders. The Huskies got out to a 3-0 lead Sunday night against TTU, but lost again, 10-4.
Northern Illinois closes out February and kicks off March this week with eight teams in action. Among the games are women's basketball Senior Day Tuesday vs. Western Michigan, men's basketball Senior Day vs. Toledo, men's tennis hosting Southern Illinois and Eastern Illinois Saturday in Rockford and women's tennis welcoming Milwaukee to the Boylan Tennis Center.
It was another chock full week of Huskie action, with nine teams in action both in DeKalb and on the road. Men's Basketball:
The Huskies returned to MAC West play and stepped out for a non-conference matchup this week, but suffered a pair of losses. Playing in the Convo Wednesday night, NIU dropped a 78-63 decision to Western Michigan as Tony Nixon scored a season-high 12 points for Northern. The Huskies stepped out of conference play Saturday for a BracketBuster game at SIU-Edwardsville. Despite 12 points each from Abdel Nader and Nixon, the Cougars drilled a last-second shot to defeat NIU, 64-62.
Northern Illinois split a pair of MAC West games at home during the week to start on the regular season home stretch. NIU evened their record to 12-12 overall and 6-6 in the MAC with a 58-44 win against Ball State, with Claire Jakubicek leading the way with 17 points. That momentum did not last for the Huskies, though, as they dropped a 77-57 game to Eastern Michigan. Kim Davis led the way with 26 points.
The Huskies closed out their 2011-12 regular season Saturday with a 23-14 loss to Buffalo. Shawn Fayette (149), Brad Dieckhaus (184), Mike Lukowski (197) and Jared Torrence (285) each won matches on Senior Day, but Buffalo's six wins - including a pin and two major decisions - were too much to overcome.
Northern Illinois came up with its second-highest score of the 2012
season but it was not enough to overcome a strong performance by
Mid-American Conference powerhouse Kent State Sunday as the Huskies fell
Track & Field: The Northern Illinois track & field team ended their 2011-12 indoor
regular season with an impressive showing at the Ball State
Quadrangular, as they captured three event titles and broke two school
records en route to a second-place finish. Janay Mitchell Broke the school's 60 meters record for the third time this season with a time of 7.54, while Roneisha Frye eclipsed the 60 hurdles record with a run of 8.59.
Baseball: Northern Illinois opened their 2012 season at Tennessee, but were swept by the Volunteers in the three-game set. The Huskie bats went silent in the first game, only scoring one run in a 7-1 defeat. They would get more run support in a Saturday doubleheader, but dropped both games to the Vols, 10-5 and 7-2.
Softball: The Huskies dropped all three games in a rain-soaked weekend in North Texas to fall to 3-5 on the season. NIU lost their tournament opener to Creighton, 5-4, in eight innings Friday morning, then were bested, 8-3, by the host Mean Green. After Saturday's action was rained out, NIU could not get timely hitting in a 5-1 loss to Creighton Sunday.
The Huskies improved to 6-0 at home this year with a pair of wins against Valparaiso and IUPUI. NIU began the day with a 6-1 win over the Crusaders, then folloowed that up with a 5-2 defeat of the Jaguars.
Men's Golf: Northern Illinois opened their 2012 spring season in Dade City, Fla., where they took third place at the MAC Match Play tournament. After a convincing 4-2 win over Ohio in the opening round, the Huskies nearly knocked off top-seeded Ball State in the semifinals, but fell 3.5-2.5. NIU would rally in the third place match, though, with a 4.5-1.5 win against Miami (Ohio).
Another busy week awaits the Huskies with seven teams in action. Among them, only men's tennis and gymnastics are at home. the men's tennis squad looks keep their perfect home record intact Saturday against Dayton and Western Illinois, then Sunday versus Cleveland State. Meanwhile, gymnastics hosts Central Michigan Sunday in DeKalb.
Day one of Northern Illinois' first baseball road trip was a
simple one - travel. The Huskies travel party of 27 players, four coaches, one
special assistant to the coach (Mickey Mathey), one trainer and myself, made
the 10.5 hour, 613 mile trek to the Hilton at the Knoxville Airport.
As we boarded the bus, we were handed a sandwich, a bag of
potato chips and a bottle of water. The players started the trip with two hours
of study hall and the student-athletes took advantage of that. It was quiet and
plenty of the players had their required readings in hand. Following the study
hall, coach popped Moneyball into the DVD player - naturally, the bus was
silent during the flick.
Our first stop of the trip was in Shelbyville, Ind., where
we switched bus drivers. And no there wasn't a monorail or a lemon tree (wanted
to give a shout for all you Simpsons fans out there). From there we kept on
driving and watched Contagion following the first movie. In perfect timing, the
movie ended and we stopped in Lexington, Ky. for dinner at Fazzolis, who may or
may not have run out of breadsticks and pasta following our arrival. The final
movie of the trip was Ides of March. While some watched the movie, a good
portion of the team in the back of the bus played multiple games of Mafia until
we reached our destination at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time.
The good news is, it's beautiful in Tennessee today. The low
temperature here is 10 degrees warmer than the high in DeKalb right now. We're
looking at a partly sunny day with 59 degrees - looks like a good day for
baseball to me.
THE NEW PLAN
With the high probability of inclement
weather on Sunday, the series finale between Northern Illinois and Tennessee
has been moved up and the two squads will now play a doubleheader on Saturday
beginning at noon.
Both games will be nine-inning contests with approximately
45 minutes in between.
The Huskies and the Vols will kick off the 2012 campaign
this afternoon at 3 p.m. Central at Tennessee's Lindsey Nelson Stadium. NIU
senior southpaw Tom Barry will take the mound against UT's right-hander Drew
For all you Tweeps of @NIUHuskies, you might have seen a new
edition to the NIU Twitter family in @NIU_Baseball, run by myself and Assistant
Coach Ray Napientek. Be sure to follow us for road trip updates, news, notes,
and of course, your occasional laughs. This was a favorite of mine during the
trip, with Mike Grindstaff and Ben Neumann playing Bejeweled on an iPad.
With the baseball season only three days away, the Northern Illinois Huskies have some pep in their step heading into the 2012 opener at Tennessee. The Daily Chronicle released its season preview in this morning's edition, talking to Head Coach Ed Mathey and seniors Kyle Glancy, Alex Jones and Troy White. The NIU players made it clear in their interviews what their intentions were this season and Glancy said it best at the end of the article...
"We're feeling confident. It seems like that year we can really go to the next level and win the MAC championship and hopefully get an NCAA berth."
As you may remember reading earlier in the year, a pair of former Northern Illinois baseball players, Chuck Lukanen (2009-10) and Brian Smith (2005-06, '08, '10) won the Frontier League Championship with the Joliet Slammers. As the baseball season begins to warmup, the Joliet Slammers featured Lukanen, talking to him about his breakout season and reflecting on the championship.
Though we haven't rolled up the tarp here in Illinois and boughten our peanuts and Cracker Jack, or even worn shorts since October for that matter, baseball season is right around the corner. In exactly nine days, the Huskies will open their season in SEC country to take on Tennessee in a three-game series with the Volunteers. So naturally, with the season around the corner, baseball publications have been releasing conference previews for the past couple weeks formulated from questionnaires from all 300 NCAA Division I baseball teams.
CollegeBaseballInsider.com released its Mid-American Conference baseball preview today and several Northern Illinois players made several of the "Best" lists, as polled by all 12 MAC coaches. Huskies Alex Jones and Troy White tied for the Best Defensive Infielder, and also shared the Best Infield Arm honor, while teammate Jeff Zimmerman was named amongst the "Best Pure Hitters" and one of the "Biggest Power Threats" in the Mid-American Conference.
Needless to say, 2011 is going to be an exciting on the diamond for NIU. Check back for more updates as they're released.
Senior baseball player Troy White has continued his outstanding contributions to the community with his affiliation in the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Over the Holiday break, White along with representatives from the Chicago Cubs and Citi Bank, spoke to Chicago area youths about the importance of their education and speaking to them on improving their confidence.
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper released its preseason poll Dec. 20 and though Northern Illinois did not receive votes in the poll, 11 of the Huskies 28 opponents in 2012 received votes in the first edition. Florida was the voters top-prediction to win the 2012 national championship, upending two-time reigning national champion South Carolina.
Three of the teams in the poll (Arizona State, Oregon State and St. John's) appeared in the top-40, while the rest of the eight teams also received votes and are considered to be in the top-100. There are 300 teams in the NCAA's Division I fielding baseball programs. The Huskies will open the season Feb. 17 at Tennessee at 3 p.m. central time and are one the team's also receiving votes.
Former Northern Illinois baseball player Andy Deain (2006-09) recently made headlines in the Northwest Herald this week as he was named the pitching coach at Prairie Ridge High School, his alma mater. Deain was one of Prairie Ridge's top pitchers in his two varsity seasons before missing his senior season, finishing 22-1 his sophomore and junior seasons. With the Huskies, Deain had an outstanding pitching career (mostly in relief) finishing with a 14-3 record, 11 saves and 122 strikeouts.
A pair of Northern Illinois baseball alum, Chuck Lukanen '10 and Brian Smith '10, won the Frontier League Championship Series Sept. 18 with the Joliet Slammers by defeating the River City Rascals, 6-5. The Slammers took the five-game series 3-1. Congratulations to Chuck and Brian on their accomplishment.
For more on the Slammers run to the league championship, click here.
Former Huskie Trevor Feeney (2005-08) has had an impressive run in the Detroit Tigers farm system this summer. Feeney, a native of Channahon, Ill., was called up to the Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers Triple-A affiliate, Aug. 19 where he made a start the following night against Louisville.
Soon after his game, the Double-A affiliate Erie Bulldogs recalled Feeney and he will start on the mound tonight against the Bowie Baysox, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Fans that want to listen to the game online, can click the link below and stream through the game through their media player (Windows Media Player or iTunes). Look for Erie Bulldogs in a bold black box on the top of the page, click "Listen" and it should load.
Earlier this week I talked about NIU senior third basemen Troy White beginning the Northwood League playoffs this week with the Battle Creek Bombers. After taking games against Green Bay Monday and Tuesday by scores of 10-3 and 9-8, respectively, the Bombers await tonight's winner of Alexandria-Mankato for the Summer Collegiate World Series.
Congratulations to Troy and the rest of the Bombers. To read the full recap from the Northwood League, click here.
Huskie Troy White has had a
spectacular summer in the Northwood League, considered to be one of the top
collegiate baseball league's in the country, and will begin the playoffs this
week with Battle Creek Bombers. The team won the South Division with a record
of 43-26 during the regular season and will begin a playoff series with the
Green Bay Bullfrogs Aug. 15 at 7:05 p.m.
White, a native of Chicago has appeared in 62 contests this season at third
base for the Bombers and even played in this year's Northwood League All Star
Game. He is currently hitting .282 at the plate and is the top-fielding third
basemen in the league with a fielding percentage of .961. He is also 16th in
the league hits and amongst the league leaders in extra base hits with 22.
Check the links below for more information on White and the Battle Creek
After driving 2,100 miles,
covering six Western states in a 53 hour span, I bring to you my first entry in
Huskie Happenings. My name is Matt Scheerer and I'm the newest Assistant Media
Relations Director for NIU, covering women's soccer, men's tennis and baseball.
I come to DeKalb from
Portland State University and am a native of Vancouver, Wash. There I covered
women's soccer, track and tennis, along with producing the department's video
content for their website and Facebook fan page. Before PSU, I was an intern in
Harvard University's Athletic Communications Office. I'm looking forward to bringing
my experience in new media platforms to promote and publicize Huskie Athletics.
While I could
probably write a book about all the driving I've done the last two weeks, a North
Dakota wedding included, and my experience in Sidney, Neb., the birthplace of
Cabelas - The World's Foremost Outfitter - I'm keeping the entry short and
simply using this as an introduction. So if you see me at a game, say hello and
Former Huskie baseball player Bobby Stevens (2006-08) was recently promoted in the Baltimore Orioles organization. The second baseman was moved from the Orioles' Advanced A team (Frederick Keys) to their AA team (Bowie Baysox). Baltimore's 16th round pick in 2008 was hitting .241 with six homers and 21 RBI in 64 games for the Keys this season before getting moved up. Congrats to Mr. Stevens as he continues to progress toward his goal of reaching the Majors!
The Southtown Star's Pat Disabato recently chatted with 2011 MAC Baseball Freshman of the Year Jeff Zimmerman, breaking down "Zimm's" ascent from Victor J. Andrew High School (Tinley Park, Ill.) standout to the cream of the crop of Mid-American Conference rookies. Click here to read the article.
NIU Hall of Famer Dave Mason will be inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame on December 9th. The Philo Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will feature Mason along with two others. At Philo High School in Duncan Falls, Ohio, Mason won 11 varsity letters, four football, four baseball and three basketball. He was named an all-conference performer for baseball four times, football three times and basketball once. He was a starter in every year in each sport.
In 1970, Mason took the reigns of the NIU baseball program, where he left an indelible mark. He put together a .531 winning percentage (94-83-1) in five seasons as head coach for the Huskies and took the 1972 team to NCAA Tournament, giving the program its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. In 2008, the 1972 team was inducted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame, and two members of the team (Tom Wittum and Jay Graziano) were later inducted in the Hall as individuals.
A few months back, NIU baseball head coach Ed Mathey spoke on camera to Rawlings about the importance of coaches at the Division I level. Click here to view the video that is featured on Rawlings' Facebook page. His part is near the end from about 1:43-2:06.
"It's not everyday that you can walk into the dugout and be congratulated by Ryan Klesko."
That's what NIU baseball's Trey Lang said Tuesday night after Ryan Klesko visited the clubhouse of the Hannibal Cavemen, a collegiate summer team in the Prospect League. Klesko, a former MLB standout, and Woody Williams, another former MLB standout, recently became part of the ownership group for the Hannibal, Mo., team. The two pros took the time to meet and greet the team Tuesday night. To read about the details and advice that Lang, his Huskie teammates Jake Hermsen and Jeff Zimmerman, and the rest of the Cavemen received, click here.
Former NIU Huskie baseball players Andy Deain (2006-10), Chuck Lukanen (2009-10) and Brian Smith (2005-10) all made the Opening Day roster for the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League. The Slammers begin their season tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. CT at home against the Washington Wild Things. To follow their progress, check out the team's website by clicking here.
Fifth-year NIU pitching coach Ray Napientek and his wife Randi welcomed the newest member of the Huskie family this morning at 9:24 a.m. Weighing in at eight pounds and 20.5 inches long, Katherine Anne Napientek and the family are doing well and resting. The Napientek's second addition to the family makes three-year-old Kara a very excited big sister. Congrats to the Napienteks!
Missed some of the last weekend's action as NIU baseball grabbed first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 2-1 series win over Toledo? Don't worry, Jude Wilbers, from WREX Channel 13 in Rockford, was there to get highlights of Game One. For video of the exciting 4-3 walk-off Huskie win, click here.
Assistant coach Ray Napientek has been handling Ed Mathey's pitching staff for five years. During his experience, he has developed a knack for how to handle each pitcher and pitching staff differently. Yesterday, the Northern Star's Andrew Singer chatted with the Huskie pitching coach to find out what his secrets to success are. Click here to read.
If you have been out to Ralph McKinzie Field this season, you may have noticed some changes. If you haven't been out to "The Ralph" yet, there have been some changes, and the field is looking as sharp as ever. Since being built in 1965, the field has gone through several modifications. The latest upgrade improved the warning track, infield, bullpen, mound and home plate ring, among other smaller changes. For more info and pictures of the improvements, check out this page done by the Midwest Athletic Fields, the company that worked on the field during the fall and winter months.
Prior to the 2011 baseball season, the NCAA mandated new regulations for the metal bats used during games, focusing on slowing down the ball's exit speed off the barrel. With the bats expected to perform more like wood than metal, the NCAA baseball community figured to see a change from a high-powered offensive game to an execution-and-defense-oriented game. A little over halfway through the season, the Northern Star's Andrew Singer caught up with some of the Huskies to get an update on how the new bats have changed the game. Click here to read Singer's article.
Jeremy Gonzales made history yesterday, becoming just the second NIU pitcher ever to be named National Pitcher of the Week. Today, "Gonzo" is featured on the front page of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association website, as seen above. For a first-hand glimpse of the site, click here.
To earn the honor, Gonzales hurled a three-hit complete game shutout on Sunday against Miami (Ohio). For more details on the senior's impressive accomplishment, click here.
By Joe Summins on February 25, 2011 12:50 PM
This weekend in NIU Athletics is an interesting scheduling anomaly. Saturday, the men's and women's basketball teams will be facing Toledo in a doubleheader action. The women play host to the Rockets in a key Mid-American Conference West battle. Tip off for Saturday's contest, which is also Senior Day and NIU PinkZone game, is set for 3 p.m. As fans are leaving the Convocation Center, they can turn to 1360 AM WLBK and probably catch Bill Baker's pregame show prior to the start of the men's basketball contest at Toledo. The men's game begins at 6 p.m.
While it isn't that unusual for two teams in the same conference to be playing each other in two different sports on the same day, it is unique when the same schools from two different conferences square off in doubleheader action. That will be the case Saturday in Lubbock, Texas as the baseball team faces Texas Tech at 12 p.m., while the softball team, which is in Lubbock for the Jeannie McHaney Memorial Classic hosted by Texas Tech, will face the No. 21 Red Raiders at 4 p.m.
Fans can watch Saturday' women's basketball game through Huskie All-Access and both of softball's games with Texas Tech through RaiderVision All-Access.
Click on the image above to view the 2011 Northern Illinois Baseball Interactive Guide. The "iGuide" presents the Huskie baseball program in a dynamic and engaging format that
includes program information, highlights, video, history and more. Get your fix of the Huskies before they open the season Friday at Southern Utah.
Pitchers and catchers reported for Major League Baseball's 2011 season on Sunday and Monday. But entire college baseball teams, the Huskies included, reported a long time ago to prepare for the 2011 campaign. NIU throws the first pitch of the year Friday against Southern Utah in Cedar City, Utah. Stay tuned to NIUHuskies.com this week for the release of the 2011 iGuide, season outlook and preview of the Southern Utah three-game weekend series. The 2011 baseball season is underway this week!
By Joe Summins on February 9, 2011 10:34 AM
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager and Northern Illinois grad Ned Colletti was featured on ESPN.com Los Angeles a couple days ago to discuss the upcoming season for the Dodgers. The Cubs face welcome Los Angeles to Wrigley Field for a three-game homestand April 22-24.