April 13, 2013
DeKALB, Ill. – Heard this before? Junior Eli Anderson (Glenview/New Trier) pitched a complete game Saturday afternoon to clinch the series for Northern Illinois (13-19, 8-3 MAC), defeating Western Michigan (11-23, 5-6 MAC), 3-2. Anderson scattered five hits, struck out a career-high 12 batters while allowing zero walks and zero earned runs in his fourth-consecutive complete game. The NIU hurler is 5-3 this season and is 4-0 in his last four starts.
“Eli had another good outing today, his strikeout total was up so his pitch count was up as well. We watched the quality of his pitches closely at the end of the game and if anyone had gotten on base in the ninth, we probably would’ve had to make a change,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “It would have been nice if we’d played a little better defense behind him but he was strong to the task out there.”
Anderson finished the game with 121 pitches in the effort, 87 of them for strikes, on his way to a new personal-best 12 strikeouts and zero walks. He is 4-0 in Mid-American Conference games with a 0.75 ERA, 32 strikeouts and only six walks. Anderson’s four complete games are the most by an NIU pitcher since Joe Piekarz’ five in 2004.
The early innings of the game gave the impression of a pitchers’ dual as there was no score through three. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo./Kearney) led things off with a well placed bunt to second base for a base hit and advanced to second on a groundout by Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park/Andrew). With hard wind blowing out and towards left field, Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wis./Madison Area TC) launched a 1-1 pitch over the left centerfield wall and off the scoreboard to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
“Their pitcher was very good, he puts a premium on being able to execute some stuff and we got a couple of outs we shouldn’t have against him. Landon solved him pretty quickly though and hit a home run in the fourth and that ball got out in a hurry and that was great to see,” added Mathey.
Northern Illinois added one more run in the fifth as Klonowski singled to left centerfield to score Tommy Hook (Lockport/Lockport Township) from second base and give NIU a 3-0 lead. Western Michigan rallied in the eighth and ran up Anderson’s pitch count in the stanza as it scored two runs on a hit and two errors to cut NIU’s lead to one run, 3-2.
Anderson finished strong in the ninth, grounding out the first batter, popping out the second and striking out pinch-hitter Brett Sunde to end the game and seal NIU’s eighth conference win of the season.
Klonowski and Tenhagen finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate with a combined three RBI. Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) finished 1-for-3 with two stolen bases. Tenhagen’s home run was his second of the season.
The Huskies will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon against the Broncos with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. at Ralph McKinzie Field. Klonowski (3-4) will take the mound for Northern Illinois.