Huskies Head to Albuquerque for Fuddrucker's Lobo Invite

GO HUSKIES Sophomore Justin Fletcher hit a triple in the opening series versus Minnesota and posted an on-base percentage of .333
Sophomore Justin Fletcher hit a triple in the opening series versus Minnesota and posted an on-base percentage of .333

Feb. 20, 2014

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Week 2 - Northern Illinois (0-3) vs Missouri State (2-1); New Mexico (2-2)
Lobo Baseball Field (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Friday, February 21 vs Missouri State (1 p.m.)
Friday, February 21 vs New Mexico (5 p.m.)
Saturday, February 22 vs Missouri State (1 p.m.)
Sunday, February 23 vs New Mexico (1 p.m.)
Live Stats:
Radio (vs UNM):

Friday (MSU): RHP Eli Anderson
    2014 stats: 0-0, 1.29 ERA, 3 K, 2 BB, 0.71 WHIP
Friday (UNM): RHP Dirk Ormsby
    2014 stats: 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 0 K, 0 BB, 20.00 WHIP
Saturday (MSU): LHP Jordan Ruckman
    2014 stats: 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 3 K, 4 BB, 2.58 WHIP
Sunday (UNM): RHP Alex Klonowski
    2014 stats: 0-0, 10.38 ERA, 3 K, 4 BB, 2.19 WHIP

Friday (MSU): RHP Cody Schumacher
    2014 stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 K, 2 BB, 1.00 WHIP
Friday (UNM): RHP Drew Bridges
    2014 stats: 1-1, 11.57 ERA, 2 K, 0 BB, 1.90 WHIP
Saturday (MSU): RHP Jon Harris
    2014 stats: 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 3 K, 5 BB, 1.67 WHIP
Sunday (UNM): RHP Josh Walker
    2014 stats: 0-1, 20.25 ERA, 1 K, 0 BB, 2.50 WHIP

• Senior Chris Divarco is second in the Mid-American Conference in hits through the first week of the season.
• Senior Eli Anderson pitched seven innings in his first start of the season, the longest outing in the MAC.
• The Northern Illinois infield turned four double plays versus Minnesota, three of which occurred on Saturday.
• The Huskies left 25 men on-base in the series at Camelback Ranch.
• Northern Illinois outhit Minnesota last weekend, 28-25.
• Junior Ben Neumann pitched in all three games of the series, hurling 2.1 scoreless innings with zero walks.

It’s been awhile since NIU has played both Missouri State and New Mexico, though the Huskies have only played a combined seven games all-time against both teams with a combined record of 2-5. Northern Illinois last played Missouri State in a doubleheader in 1997 in Springfield, Mo., in which the Huskies fell twice to the Bears in seven innings, 8-3 and 8-7. The series between the Huskies and Lobos dates back even further, 1972, the season NIU finished 21-7 en route to earning an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Northern Illinois split the series with New Mexico, winning games two and four in Albuquerque. NIU and UNM combined for six home runs in the series, including two grand slams in game three by the Lobos. For scores of the last series played, see page 12 of the notes.

The Huskies, Bears and Lobos could combine for a slew of home runs this weekend in Albuquerque, as the listed elevation there is 5,332, according to Wikipedia. Traditionally, New Mexico has hit the ball well over the years as they combined for 51 home runs during the 2013 season.

Junior Dirk Orsmby will earn his first career start Friday evening when the Huskies take on New Mexico in NIU’s second game of a doubleheader. Orsmby threw 0.1 innings in the season-opener against Minnesota, surrendering one run and one hit in the effort. The 6-8 righty is the tallest player at NIU since Larry Funsch in 1978-79.

Senior Eli Anderson was named the Huskies’ No. 1 starter on the mound for NIU’s opening series versus Minnesota earlier last week, right where he finished the final three games of the season. Judging by his performance last Friday versus Minnesota, Anderson may be picking up where he left off in 2013, a season in which he earned First Team All-MAC honors and was a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Breakout Player of the Year Award. Anderson tossed seven innings for the Huskies, throwing 71 pitches (43 strikes) in seven innings of work. The Glenview, Ill., native’s seven innings were the longest by a MAC pitcher through the first weekend of the season. Anderson led the Mid-American Conference in innings pitched with 115.1 innings, six complete games.

Last Sunday against Minnesota, senior Alex Klonowski started his first game of the season on the mound for NIU. Klonowski batted third in the Huskies lineup and was 4-for-5 at the plate with an RBI, a feat he’s only accomplished once for Northern Illinois while starting on the mound. He was a perfect 4-for-4 versus Akron last season, driving in two runs in the effort. He’s the first Huskie to record four hits in a game since Tommy Hook accomplished the feat at Ohio last season on April 20th.

Senior Chris Divarco had his best series as a Huskie last weekend in Arizona, batting for 7-for-12 (.583) with a double, two runs and two RBI to lead NIU versus the Golden Gophers. The series performance bested his weekend versus Ball State May 17-19, 2012 at Ralph McKinzie Field, where he was 5-for-13 (.385) with a double, a home run, a run and an RBI in three games against the Cardinals.

Versus Minnesota at Camelback Ranch, junior relief pitcher Benn Neumann was called upon for the Huskies in all three games, pitching 2.1 innings combined in the series. The Verona, Wis., native hurled 0.2 innings in relief in the first game of the series, surrendering only one hit while striking out one. His longest outing, 1.1 innings, took place in the seventh and eighth innings on Saturday where he again struck out one and only allowed one hit.

Sophomore transfer Justin Fletcher stepped into some big shoes in Arizona last weekend as he batted in the leadoff spot in the series versus Minnesota, replacing Northern Illinois’ all-time stolen base leader Jamison Wells. The product of Pekin, Ill., posted an on-base percentage of .333 in the series with a triple, an RBI and getting hit with two pitches. Last season at Illinois Central, Fletcher posted a .378 batting average with an on-base percentage of .448, 44 RBI, 44 runs, 13 doubles, two triples and three homeruns.

After its first series of the season at Central Arkansas, Missouri State is 2-1. The Bears started the series 2-0 after defeating UCA, 11-5, on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday, however, MSU would fall to Central Arkansas in game three of the series, 6-4. As a team, the Bears hit .297 and drove in 19 of their 21 runs in the series. The pitching staff combined for a 3.46 earned run average. Conor Smith leads the team in average and hits with clips of .467 and seven, respectively. He had three doubles, a home run and four RBI in the series. Matt Fultz and Patrick Drake also drove in four runs last weekend. Cody Schumacher, Friday’s starting pitcher against NIU, pitched four innings in relief in the season opener, striking out four and allowing zero runs in the effort.

New Mexico will enter the series with an even 2-2 record after taking the second game in a doubleheader at San Diego, 3-2 (11 innings), and a midweek contest Tuesday night at No. 19 Arizona State, 7-1. The Lobos are batting .279 as a team with an on-base percentage of .366 through four games while team’s ERA holds at 6.50. John Pustay carries the team’s highest batting average at .412  while Chase Harris has brought home the bacon with his .300 average and five RBI. Harris has also hit two doubles with one homerun. The bullpen for UNM has been strong thus far as three pitchers have a 0.00 ERA through a combined 7.2 innings.

The Huskies will head to Southern Illinois February 28-March 2 for their annual three-game series with the Salukis. It will be the first games played at the new Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale.



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