Jan. 31, 2013
Head Baseball Coach Ed Mathey, now in his 11th season as the skipper of Northern Illinois baseball, discusses the Huskies upcoming schedule. NIU has 15 newcomers in this year's program and is opening the season Feb. 15 down in Lubbock, Texas at the Brooks Wallace Memorial Tournament, hosted by Texas Tech.
Coach Mathey spent a few minutes talking with NIUHuskies.com about the schedule and what his approach was when he set it up.
Coach Mathey on the 2013 schedule overall…
I think it falls in line with our philosophy. It puts forth a challenging non-conference schedule. We got some good trips, playing some good teams. What I like most about it too is it’s got a bit of a multi-dimensional flavor to it, meaning that while we’re going to Texas Tech we’re also going to be playing BYU and Northern Colorado down there. We’ll head to Minnesota to play them and we’re also going to have Darmouth and Utah up there in the Metrodome. It will give our guys a lot of different looks, which I think this team needs as we move forward.
Obviously we’re going to have a lot of guys who are playing Division I baseball for the first time on this year’s roster so I think those looks will help us continue to grow and settle into the team we hope to be come conference season.
Coach Mathey on this season’s trips…
Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas, is a place where we’ve been before. It’s a good place to go, you got some great people down there, a good stadium. We’re familiar with the environment and know what it takes down there to win some games. Going back to Reno, we haven’t been there in quite some time but it’s going to be a challenge.
They’ve got a pretty good club coming back and I know the facilities are good and the ball tends to travel a little bit out there in the higher altitude, and of course, heading up to Minnesota it’s place in a dome. In my time here, we haven’t played a game indoors so it’s going to be exciting from that stand point and it’s still a relatively local trip.
Of course you have the fact that we are playing some new teams, so we’re looking forward to that. It’s always good to see how you stack up when you’re unfamiliar with your opponent because it emphasizes a little bit more on how you’re going to play than what you’re going to do, then, how you’re going to adjust to your opponent, which is always an important component for kids to understand. But we’re excited about it.
Our common spring trip opponent, Southern Illinois, they’re going to be a good club. Then we’re going to head down to Murray State, then finish up with a little bit of a tournament down in Nashville, which is a good destination in mid-March weather wise and for fans to come to, so I’m hoping that the travel that we have excites a few people out there and they come out to support the Huskies.
Coach Mathey on the Mid-American Conference schedule and hosting 2012 College World Series participant Kent State…
That’s where our goal is at – our goal lies in conference and hopefully through those first 20 games we find our strengths, we get our rotations identified and we find out exactly who we are. It is about Mid-American Conference play for us and we got a very challenging schedule. We do open up this year with Kent State and I think it’s really exciting we got a team who made such a great run last year and who kind of grabbed the attention of college baseball and made a real good run through regionals. They played some great games then of course and they went out West to take on a five seed in Oregon, won that series out there and played very well in the College World Series.
They’re coming into DeKalb and for people want to see college baseball, I think that’s good place to start. We’re excited about that. In addition we got some challenging road trips this year. We spend five weekends on the road I believe in Mid-American Conference play so this is the year that we rotate with more road games with trips to Akron, Ohio, which is a bit of a trek. We head back to Toledo and they’re looking to be a pretty good club this year.
Central Michigan is always a challenging place to go and play and finally Ball State at the end of the year but in addition we have our four home series which is Kent State, Miami (Ohio), a conference tournament team last year, then we have the two Michigan’s in here, Western and Eastern, so all and all I think it’s a very good schedule.
We’ll have some very good non-conference games I think once we get back home here, including our annuals game at Northwestern, UIC and Milwaukee. We do travel to Iowa this year so we have added an extra Big Ten team in our schedule. So it’s going to be challenge for our guys and I’m looking forward to it.