March 10, 2014
Tuesday, March 12, 8 p.m. CT
Wednesday, March 13, 8 p.m. CT
Thursday, March 14, 8 p.m. CT
Live Stats: GoPoly.com
Projected Starting Pitchers
Tuesday: LHP Anthony Andres (0-2) vs RHP Justin Calomeni (3-0)
Wednesday: LHP Jordan Ruckman (0-4) vs RHP Danny Zandona (0-0)
Thursday: TBD vs RHP Casey Bloomquist (3-0)
With the first leg of its spring break trip completed, the Northern Illinois baseball team (1-12-1) will begin its second leg as the Huskies make their first appearance in the Golden State since 2010 as they take on No. 11 Cal Poly. The series will begin Tuesday, March 11 with first pitch beginning at 8 p.m., Central.
Last weekend the Huskies played at No. 5 Oregon State, the highest ranked opponent since playing No. 5 Arizona State in the season-opening series February 19-20, 2010. It was NIU’s first ever series in the Pacific Northwest.
In the first game of the series, Eli Anderson tossed 6.0 innings on the mound, striking out five and walking one. While Anderson did enough to keep NIU within reach, the bats were unable to get going as OSU’s Ben Wetzler fanned 12 batters in the Huskies 6-0 loss.
Northern Illinois and Oregon State played a doubleheader Saturday and posted one of the top-combined pitching performances of the season. Senior Alex Klonowski pitched 5.0 innings for NIU, allowing zero runs, one hit and striking out four batters with four walks. Relievers Anthony Andres and Andrew Frankenreider combined for 3.0 innings, two hits, two walks and a strikeout but the Huskies fell to Beavers, 2-0, in game one. Northern Illinois followed with a seven inning, 12-2 loss in game two of the doubleheader, as Klonowski had an RBI single and Brian Sisler went 2-for-3 at the plate.
In the series finale, Northern Illinois pitchers Ben Neumann and Kevin Sweeney combined for five scoreless innings and two hits on the mound, though walking four in the effort. Neumann tossed four innings and fanned three batters, one inning shy of tying his career-high.
Sweeney pitched two innings in two appearances for the Huskies on the weekend, allowing only one walk with zero hits to his credit. Klonowski only allowed the Beavers to a .067 batting average in five innings of work.
Through seven appearances and 8.1 innings on the mound this season, Neumann has yet to allow a run on his watch. Opponents are only hitting .207 on the junior and have struck out six times to the lefty, sidearm hurler.
Klonowski was the Huskies top-hitter in the series at OSU as he recorded three hits on the weekend with a double and an average of .250. Carl Russell, in seven at-bats, posted two hits and carried the NIU batting average at .286.
Cal Poly, ranked No. 11 in the country by Baseball America, is coming off of a 2-1 series win at Seattle University, winning Friday’s and Sunday’s game with 4-0 and 2-1 results, respectively. The Mustangs only loss of the series was a 15-14 decision on Saturday to the Redhawks.
Head Coach Ed Mathey knows the difficulty of the challenge in front of his team heading into the three-game swing in San Luis Obispo this week.
“The road’s not going to get any easier from here. This is an opportunity for our guys to get better and make ourselves better as a team. While we didn’t win at Oregon State, in the long run, that series is only going to help us and make us better ballplayers. We need to keep working and be ready to go on Tuesday against a good Cal Poly baseball team.”
The Mustangs are 11-3 this season and are a consensus top-15 team this season, having won series at UCLA and Kansas State. Cal Poly’s only losses this season were at the hand of Bruins, USC and SeattleU. Northern Illinois has played at Cal Poly before, last meeting in 2010 in a midweek series that saw the Mustangs take the series, 2-0.
After a week out West, NIU will return to Illinois for a series at Bradley to close its spring break trip. The Huskies and the Braves will begin their series Saturday, March 15 with a doubleheader, starting at noon Central.