Hermsen, Huskies Roll Bradley 14-1



April 26, 2011

Final Stats

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Northern Illinois 14, Bradley 1
O'Brien Field | Peoria, Ill.
1 2 3
0 3
BU 0
0 0

W: Hermsen (1-2)  L: Kennedy (0-1)
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Attendance: 188
 Player of the Game

Jake Hermsen
7 IP
3 H
1 ER
0 BB
9 SO

 Baseball Quick Links

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· Head Coach Ed Mathey


PEORIA, Ill. - Behind a strong mound performance from junior Jake Hermsen, Northern Illinois defeated Bradley 14-1 in a shortened seven-inning contest on Tuesday evening at O'Brien Field.

Hermsen, a valuable utility pitcher and outfielder, has proved to be good for at least one outstanding start per season over his three-year career in a Huskie uniform, and it seems to come during midweek games at least two weeks into the month of April each time. As a freshman, Hermsen earned his first collegiate win in his first start as he struck out five and gave up one run in five innings against Illinois State on April 14, 2009. He did even better as a sophomore, striking out ten Iowa Hawkeyes and tossing seven innings of one-hit, one-run baseball in a win at Iowa on April 22, 2010.

"Jake was good; he was consistently throwing in the zone and had a couple pitches working for strikes," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "He was working ahead. When he's like that, it's pretty nice. Couple that with our offense being productive from the get-go and it was good to see. I hope Jake can keep his confidence and consistency going because if we can have him like this for the stretch run, it'd be a big pick-me-up. His stuff was really good tonight."

This year, the Wisconsin native turned in his annual gem on April 26, 2011. The burly left-hander was given four first-inning runs by his offense and the cushion was more than bountiful for Hermsen to work with. In nabbing his first win of the season, Hermsen (1-2) gave up just one run on three hits with a season-high nine strikeouts in seven innings.

Bradley (20-19) had to wait until the eighth batter of the game before Hermsen allowed a base runner, which came on an errant pitch that hit Josh Camalick. At that point, it was about the only contact the Braves made as Hermsen fanned five of the first seven hitters. BU's first hit came at the start of the fourth inning as Elliott punched a single through the left side. After stealing second and third, Elliott would come around to score on a sacrifice fly by Brad Kimball. The only other hits Bradley would get would be a Jason Leblebijian single in the fifth and an Eric Paulson single in the seventh.

As good as Hermsen was, the offense did its fair share of work as well, scoring 14 runs on 13 hits. Basically, two Huskies -- Alex Jones and Jeff Zimmerman -- were responsible for nine of NIU's runs. Jones, the reigning Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week, went 4-for-4 with five RBI, ending a homer shy of producing the program's first cycle since 2000. Going 16-for-21 at the plate, Jones has been an absolute nightmare for opposing hurlers over the last five games. During the stretch, the Kansas native has produced 10 RBI, seven runs, five doubles, one triple and one walk.

"Alex is doing a great job with the bat right now," said Mathey. "He's seeing the ball well and picking it up out of the pitcher's hand like he needs to. He's being selective, swinging at the pitches he wants to swing at. When he's doing that at the three spot, he can be dangerous, and so can this offense. He's in a great groove right now."

Zimmerman went 4-for-5 with four RBI and hit his team-leading fifth long ball as part of the productive first frame. With his best game of the year, the freshman now has six RBI over his last two games.

Extending his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games, Troy White drove in two runs to help the cause as well.

In order to save pitching arms for conference play this weekend, both teams agreed to call the game after seven frames.

With their second win over Bradley this season, the Huskies improved to 8-2 against intrastate opponents in 2011. Overall under Mathey, NIU is 64-29 versus Illinois foes.

The 20th victory of the year also moved the Huskies to 20-8 over their last 28 games and 10-5 on the road. In Mathey's nine seasons as skipper, NIU has failed to win 20 or more games just two times.

"Obviously, 20 wins is nice, especially if you think about the challenging first part of the season on the road that we typically play," Mathey said. "For me, it's about what we are doing in the Mid-American Conference and getting to 30 wins. We still have a lot of baseball left, but I've always thought that if you play the game the right way and do the things you need to do, the wins take care of themselves."

The MAC West Division first place Huskies (20-18, 10-5 MAC) get right back to action tomorrow as they play host to UW-Milwaukee (16-20) at Elfstrom Stadium, home of the Kane County Cougars, in Geneva, Ill. With a scheduled 6:05 p.m. CT first pitch, tickets for the game can be purchased at the gate or by contacting Cliff Bottigliero (815-753-1292 | cliffordb@niu.edu) at the NIU Ticket Office. Adult tickets are $5 while kids age 14 and under can get in for $2. Fans are encouraged to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks as the concession stands will not be open. The stadium will open an hour before first pitch. All proceeds will directly benefit the NIU baseball program.




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