An All-Red Affair: Huskies Face St. John's and Texas Tech in Lubbock

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Feb. 24, 2012

Texas Tech Tournament Central | White Lowe's Senor CLASS Award | 2012 Stats | Week 2 Notes

DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois baseball will travel to Lubbock, Texas this weekend as it faces St. John's and Texas Tech at the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic. The Huskies opened the season Feb. 17 and 18 with a three-game series at Tennessee and are currently 0-3.

LEAD OFFS
- This is the second-straight season the Huskies have headed to Texas Tech for non-conference play. All-time NIU is 2-10 against the Red Raiders.

- This will be the first meeting between Northern Illinois and St. John's.

- Jamison Wells is riding a 17-game hitting streak, carried over from 2011.

FOLLOW FROM HOME
Fans can follow all-four contests on Gametracker provided at TexasTech.com. For a subscription fee, fans can also watch a live video stream or listen to audio for contests versus the Red Raiders.

LAST TIME OUT: GOOD OLE ROCKY TOP
Northern Illinois opened 2012 with a three game series at Tennessee, going 0-3 in Knoxville. Originally slated as a game-a-day series (Feb. 17-19), due to the inclement weather Sunday the series was forced to one game on Friday and a doubleheader Saturday. The Huskies fell, 7-1, in game one and quickly found themselves in a 6-0 hole in the second inning of game two. However, NIU rallied back to within one, 6-5, in the eighth inning but eventually fell 10-5. In game three, the Huskies sparked rallies in the eigth and ninth innings but were unable to over come their deficit and fell, 7-2.

NIU AND THE RED RAIDERS
The Huskies will be making their fifth appearance in Lubbock, Texas for a series and it will be the sixth-series overall, having met the Red Raiders at Bobcat Field in San Marcos, Texas in 2008. All-time NIU trails TTU 2-10 in the series. The teams first met in 2004, which was also the same season Northern Illinois recorded its first winin a series. The Huskies last defeated Texas Tech in 2007. Complete series results are listed below.

DATE       RESULT    DATE    RESULT
2/20/04    L, 10-9    2/23/07    W, 8-5
2/21/04    W, 7-5     2/24/07    L, 4-1
2/22/04    L, 19-3    3/8/08    L, 11-5
2/11/05    L, 13-7    3/9/08    L, 8-5
2/12/05    L, 17-7    2/26/11    L, 15-3
2/13/05    L, 12-7    2/27/11    L, 14-8
2/22/07    L, 6-5

NICE TO MEET YOU
Northern Illinois will face St. John's for the first time in program history. The Red Storm were a NCAA Regional qualifier in 2011 after earning an at-large bid. In 2011 SJU loss to Seton Hall in the BIG EAST Championship for the conference's automatic berth.

CLASS, CLASS, CLASS
The NIU coaches will tell you that senior Troy White is a classy guy and apparently they aren't the only ones. The selection committee for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, an honor annually given to the Division I senior baseball player who excels on and off the field, selected White as 1-of-30 candidates for the prestigious award. See back of notes for more.

THE STREAK
Junior Jamison Wells is on a 17-game hitting streak, carried over from last season.At the end of the 2011, Wells closed the season with a 14-game hitting streak and raised his batting average 50 points from .271-to-.321. Last weekend at Tennessee, the Combined Locks, Wis. native recorded a hit in each game against the Volunteers. Mike Bersa owns the career hit-streak mark at NIU with 27 in 1992-93.

THERE'S SUCH A MAN - HE'S NOT LIKE ME AND YOU
There's an old baseball adage that sometimes the ball looks like a golf ball at the plate, and sometimes it looks like a beach ball. For senior Alex Beckmann, the latter proved right at Tennessee. Beckmann led the Huskies at UT, batting 5-for-11 (.455) at the plate with a double and an RBI. The Batavia, Ill. native also recorded an on-base percentage of .500 and was 3-for-5 with runners on-base in the series.

START WARMING UP KID
Junior transfer Taylor Nawrocki, a Fairmont, Minn. native, is slated to start his first game on the hill for the Huskies against St. John's Saturday. In his debut at UT, Nawrocki pitched 2.1 relief innings in game three with two strikeouts and four walks.

THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The following Huskies made their Northern Illinois debut last weekend against the Volunteers.

Junior Connor Duckhorn*
Junior Michael Kane*
Junior Jacob Goldenberg*
Freshman Mike Grindstaff
Junior Jordan Huffman*
Junior Taylor Nawrocki*

* - Junior college transfers

TOP DAWG
In the final game of the series at Tennessee, sophomore Chris Divarco made the most of his opportunity to play. When the Long Grove, Ill. native's name was called as a pinch-hitter in the top of ninth inning against the Vols, he singled up the middle to continue NIU's rally, following a Troy White walk.

SCOUTING THE RED STORM
St John's opened its season 1-2 last weekend at the Big-Ten-BIG EAST Challenge in Florida and won its only contest versus Minnesota, 6-1. Its losses were at the hands of Michigan State (11-4) and Illinois (9-4), the defending Big Ten champion. Pitcher Sean Hagen pitched six scoreless innings for SJU in the win over Minnesota. In the loss to Illinois, St. John's was able to shake starting pitcher Nick Chmielewski in the first inning and forced him off the mound with a 3-0 Red Storm lead. The Illini bullpen worked 8.2 innings and only allowed one run to defeat SJU.

Matt Wessinger was most-consistent at the plate, going 6-for-11 with two doubles, four stolen bases and an RBI on the weekend, while Jeremy Baltz led the team in home runs and RBI with one and four, respectively. Hagen was the ace on the hill with six scoreless innings and five strikeouts, one hit and one walk against the Golden Gophers for the win. As a team, St. John's was 7-for-8 in stolen base attempts.

SCOUTING THE RED RAIDERS
Texas Tech kicked-off 2012 with contests against No. 31 Missouri State and Tennesse Tech at home and began its season 3-0, before falling to MSU in game two of a doubleheader, 4-2. Tim Proudfoot, making his collegiate debut over the weekend, batted 6-for-14 with two triples and six RBI to lead the team. Barrett Barnes and Scott LeJeune each recorded seven hits and had batting averages of .438 and .467, respectively. Texas Tech stole 10 bases in four games.

On the hill, Rusty Shellhorn earned the victory with a seven-inning shutout, six strikeout day in his Red Raider debut against Tennessee Tech Feb. 19. Shane Broyles pitched 7.1 innings in his win versus Missouri State, and Duke von Schamann also pitched seven innings in TTU's first win over Tech. Closer Trey Masek pitched 3.1 innings and earned one save and struckout five.

A WICKED TOUGH SCHEDULE
In 14 of its first 20 contests, all of which are on the road, NIU will play three preseason top-25 opponents in St. John's, Arizona State and Oregon State. The Huskies will also take on five opponents who are receiving votes in the polls in Austin Peay, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Winthrop.

MANIAC MANVILLE
Senior pitcher Tony Manville opened 2011 with a 0-1 record, losing Feb. 26 to BYU (8-5), and went on to register nine-straight wins to tie the NIU record for victories in a season. His swinning-treak was snapped Feb. 18 at Tennessee in the Huskies 7-2 loss to Tennessee in game two of the doubleheader. It was the sixth-longest streak in NCAA Division I entering 2012.

WATCH OUT FOR THIS GUY
On Jan. 31 senior pitcher Kyle Glancy was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, joining the nation's top-45 closers on the list. The Oak Park, Ill. native recorded 12 saves and was 1-0 in 2011. Last season he was named to NCBWA midseason watch list.

LEFT SIDE - THE STRONG SIDE
CollegeBaseballInsider.com released its Mid-American Conference preview Feb. 8 and Northern Illinois received some high accolades, as polled by all 12 MAC coaches. Senior infielders Alex Jones and Troy White split the honors of "Best Defensive Infielder" and "Best Infield Arm." Jones was first team all-region and All-MAC at shortstop while White was second team All-MAC at third base in 2011.

SMOOTH AS SILK; STRONG LIKE BULL
Sophomore Jeff Zimmerman first basemen also received honor from CollegeBaseballInsider.com being named amongst the top-three "Best Pure Hitters" and "Best Power Hitters" in the Mid-American Conference. Zimmerman was the MAC's Freshman of the Year in 2011 after batting .326 with 11 homeruns, 13 doubles and 47 RBI.

SLOW-AND-STEADY WINS THE RACE
The Huskies had a slow start to 2011, going 0-10 in its first 10 games in trips to Southern Utah, Texas Tech and Arizona State. However, Northern Illinois would persevere and finish the season 30-27 overall and 16-11 in the MAC, nearly claiming the West division championship in the process. It was the fourth 30-win season in school history, all occurring under skipper Ed Mathey.

OUTSCORING THE ENEMY
For the first time since 2008, the Huskies outscored its opponents on the season 350-345.

GOLDEN GLOVES
Northern Illinois carried a .966 fielding percentage in 2011, the highest-percentage since atleast 1959, the year the program began keeping the stat. The Huskies also committed a Mathey-era (2003-present) low of 74 errors. Associate Head Coach Steve Joslyn oversees the NIU defense.

BLANK AS A WHITE SHEET OF PAPER
The pitching staff of Northern Illinois was a strong suit in 2011 as the Huskies recorded five shutouts during the season, the most-under Ed Mathey and the most since 1996. The centerpiece of the shutouts came April 10 when Jeremy Gonzales only allowed three hits and no walks in 2-0 win over Miami (Ohio).

THIEVERY
Normally, stealing from another would be frowned upon. But in baseball, its ok. Junior Jamison Wells racked up 27 stolen bases for the Huskies last season, tying for the third most in a single season in program history. He stole one base last weekend in three contests at Tennessee.

In his career Wells has accrued 40, tied for fifth all-time with Miguel Sopena (1978-81), in 97 career appearances. Alvin Maynard (1979-80) holds the NIU career record (71) and single-season record (41) in stolen bases.

BO KNOWS...
OK, Bo Jackson has no affiliation what so ever to Northern Illinois baseball, but, junior centerfielder Jamison Wells, like Jackson was for Auburn, is a multi-sport for NIU. Wells, a native of Combined Locks, Wis., doubles (no pun intended by the 16 he amassed last season) as a wide reciever for the Huskies football team. He made 14 receptions for 112 yards and appeared in 13 games for the Mid-American Conference and GoDaddy.com Bowl Champions.

BROOKS WALLACE HOPEFUL... AGAIN
Senior Alex Jones had a whale of junior season in 2011, leading Northern Illinois in batting average (.352), hits (82), total bases (118) and RBI (47). For his great season, Jones was named a quarterfinalist for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award on May 11. Northern Illinois and the Kansas City, Kan. native are again hoping he recieves the honor for a second-straight season.

SELFLESS BASEBALL
Henry Ford once said "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Northern Illinois accounted for 40 sacrifice bunts last season, the fourth-most in program history, and 21 sacrifice flies during the 2011 season.

THE POLLSTERS HAVE SPOKEN
Announced Wednesday Feb. 15, the Mid-American Conference released its preseason coaches poll and Northern Illinois was tabbed to finish fourth in the MAC West and tie for seventh overall with Bowling Green. NIU received 36 points in the poll. Kent State his the conference favorite this season with 59 points and seven first place votes, while Central Michigan is the West division favorite with 54 points and one first place votes. Complete poll results are listed below.

2012 MAC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll

MAC East Division
1. Kent State - 59 Points
2. Miami - 48 Points
3. Bowling Green - 36 points
4. Ohio - 34 points
5. Akron - 17 points
6. Buffalo - 16 points

MAC West Division
1. Central Michigan - 54 points
2. Toledo - 45 points
3. Eastern Michigan - 43 points
4. Northern Illinois - 36 points
5. Western Michigan - 21 points
6. Ball State - 11 points

MAC Tournament Champion
Kent State (7), Central Michigan (1), Toledo (1), Eastern Michigan (1), Miami (1)

*Akron coaching staff chose not to vote in the preseason poll due to being new to the league this season

RETURNING 2011 AWARD WINNERS

Kyle Glancy
NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List

Alex Jones
Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year quarterfinalist
First team All-MAC
First team ABCA All-Midwest Region
MAC West Player of the Week, March 23
MAC West Player of the Week, April 25
    
Tony Manville
Second team All-MAC

Jamison Wells
MAC West Player of the Week, May 22
College Baseball Foundation and Diamond Sports National Team of the Week, May 16

Troy White
Second team All-MAC
MAC West Player of the Week, March 1
MAC West Player of the Week, April 18

Jeff Zimmerman
MAC Freshman of the Year
First team All-MAC
Second team ABCA All-Midwest Region
Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team
Second team NCBWA Freshman All-America

2012 AWARDS AND HONORS

Kyle Glancy
NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Wath List

Troy White
Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidate