Northern Illinois Continues Spring Break at Saint Louis

GO HUSKIES Jones batted .400 over the weekend with a double, a home run, two RBI and three runs scored
GO HUSKIES
Jones batted .400 over the weekend with a double, a home run, two RBI and three runs scored
GO HUSKIES

March 12, 2012

DeKALB, Ill. - With its first and second wins under its belt, Northern Illinois will begin building on its winning foundation to get back in the black against Saint Louis Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. NIU (2-12) finished last weekend 2-1 at the Riverview Inn Challenge at Austin Peay, defeating the host (5-1, 10-innings) and Arkansas State (6-5).

LEAD OFFS
- Huskie Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo.) returns to his home state representing the Cardinal and Black.
- The Northern Illinois-Saint Louis series dates back to 1967. NIU trails, 7-10-1.
- Sophomore Jeff Zimmerman cranked three home runs last weekend.
- The Huskies are 6-for-11 (.545) in pinch hitting situations in 2012.
- Jordan Rishavy knocked in the winning runs in both the Huskies wins at APSU.
- As a team, NIU has hit five home runs the last three games.
- The Huskies stole 10 bases at the Riverview Inn Challenge in Clarksville, Tenn.

PROJECTED MATCHUPS
 
NORTHERN ILLINOIS
TUESDAY    RHP Taylor Nawrocki (0-1, 12.60 ERA)
WEDNESDAY     TBD (Barry, Hermsen, Manville)

SAINT LOUIS
TUESDAY    RHP James Norwood (1-0, 3.60 ERA)
WEDNESDAY     RHP Nick Bates (1-0, 2.92 ERA)

FOLLOW FROM HOME
Fans can follow both games at Saint Louis on Twitter @NIU_Baseball or @SLUBaseball. Live stats will not be available for either game.

LAST TIME OUT: HUSKIES TAKE TWO IN VOLUNTEER STATE
Northern Illinois put its first wins on the board when the Huskies defeated Austin Peay in 10 innings, 5-1, and Arkansas State, 6-5. NIU carried a 9-8 lead into the top of the ninth inning versus Dayton but fell to the Flyers, 13-9.  Jeff Zimmerman tallied three home runs and four RBI in games against ASU and DU. As a team the Huskies totaled five home runs and 10 stolen bases.

NO ONE SAID IT’D BE EASY
Northern Illinois is currently 2-12 to start the season, with four of its losses against nationally-ranked teams. In the season-opening series at Tennessee, the Volunteers were receiving votes in most of the nation’s polls. Texas Tech was receiving votes in the first two contests with the Huskies, but cracked the top-25 for the first time since 2005 for the final game. Arizona State and Oregon State have been ranked all of 2012.

THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE
It’s a common tale for team’s in the Midwest to start slow and end fast. The Huskies are living proof of that with their month-by-month record under Head Coach Ed Mathey. Below is the breakdown of NIU baseball month-by-month and year-by-year under the Huskie skipper.

YEAR    FEBRUARY  MARCH  APRIL   MAY    OVERALL (MAC Division)
2003             1-2      12-7        11-8    10-7     34-24 (3rd West)*
2004             4-2      8-9           9-9    10-8     31-28 (t-2nd West)*
2005             0-3      6-10     5-14-1    5-9      16-36-1 (6th West)
2006             2-4      8-9        11-10    3-8      24-31(6th West)
2007             1-2      12-7         9-9     12-6    34-24 (3rd West)*
2008             0-2      9-12       11-7     8-5      28-26 (2nd West)*
2009             2-5      8-9         5-14     4-6     19-34 (5th West)
2010             0-6      8-9          9-9      7-7      24-31 (5th West)
2011             0-6      7-7        13-6      10-7     30-27 (t-2nd West)*
2012             0-7      2-5          ???      ???       ???    
TOTALS      10-39    80-84  83-86-1    69-63    242-273-1

* - Indicates team qualified for the MAC Tournament

THE UBIQUITOUS ONE
It may just be a fancier word for utility man, but sophomore Alex Klonowski is ubiquitous on the diamond for Northern Illinois. In his 13 starts this season, the Kearney, Mo. native has started five different positions (2B, SS, 3B, RF, LF) and has made four relief appearances on the mound.

In the field he has comitted one error and at the plate is batting .273 and leads the Huskies in RBI (eight) and doubles (four) this season. In his 4.1 innings of work, Klonowski  is 1-0, has struck out 10 batters and has allowed five walks.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO, I CAN DO BETTER
Northern Illinois has had the defensive edge over its opponents this season comitting four fewer errors this year than its opponents, 25-21.  The Huskies have played four errorless games this season, two of which were against nationally ranked teams (No. 11 Arizona State, No. 24 Texas Tech).

THE WRAP SHEET
Below is the Huskies all-time record against the Billikens. SLU owns a 10-7-1 edge.

Saint Louis            
NIU trails SLU, 7-10-1    
4/21/67    L 6-3    3/10/91    L 19-2
4/21/67    T 2-2    3/24/92    L 5-3
4/21/67    T 2-2    3/24/92    L 7-6
4/11/69    W 8-7    4/6/93    L 5-3
4/12/69    L 4-1     4/6/93    W 4-1
4/12/69    L 2-1    3/1/03    W 6-1
5/11/71    W 5-4    3/10/09    L 13-2
5/11/71    W 4-3    3/11/09    L 7-2
4/11/72    W 9-2    3/16/11    W 7-3
        
THE GLUE THAT BINDS BEHIND THE PLATE
Senior Brett Frantini was selected to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List March 7, awarded to the nation’s top-Division I catcher. So far in 2012 the Minooka, Ill. native has thrown out five runners attempting to steal base and has knocked in three RBI with two doubles and one run scored on five hits. Past recipients of the award include the Oakland A’s Kurt Suzuki and the San Francisco Giants Buster Posey.

WHITE HITS THE BIG APPLE
Senior Troy White missed the final two games of the Coca Cola Classic against St. Mary’s (Calif.) and No. 24 Oregon State as he went to New York City for The Jackie Robinson Foundation Awards Dinner. White is a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar and candidate for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

The event was held at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in Manhatten and featured Bill Cosby as the Master of Ceremonies and honored former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Academy Award winner Rita Moreno for their humanitarian efforts and lifetime acheivements, respectively.

THE PRIDE OF VERONA, WISCONSIN
Freshman Ben Neumann made his Northern Illinois debut in the top of the eighth inning against Dayton March 11, facing only one batter, but forced the lead out inning when A.J. Ryan grounded out to Troy White. Junior Zach Badgley came in for the left-hander from Verona, Wis. to close the inning.

TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD
Meatloaf might have sang the song in in 1977, but junior Jordan Rishavy echoed the track last weekend at the Riverview Inn Challenge when he knocked in the winning runs against Austin Peay and Arkansas State. Rishavy hit a two run double against the Governors in the top of the 10th inning and drove in the winning run versus the Red Wolves on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.

FINDING HIS STROKE
Sophomore Jeff Zimmerman, the MAC’s Freshman of the Year in 2011 and a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, found his stroke last weekend in Clarkville, Tenn., belting a home run against Arkansas State and two versus Dayton. Zimmerman currently has three this season and accounted for 11 last year.

THE KINGS OF CRASH
Senior Alex Jones and sophomore Jeff Zimmerman each hit a home run in the fourth inning against Dayton March 11, as part of an eight run inning by Northern Illinois. The Huskies had not had two players hit a home run in the same inning in nearly two years. Dave Reynolds and Brian Smith, in successive at-bats nonetheless, each homered against UW-Milwaukee at Miller Park May 18, 2010.

CLUTCH CARGO
Sophomore Joe Battaglia had a big afternoon March 10th in only seventh career start behind the plate against Arkansas State, finishing 3-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI. In the seventh inning, the Westchester, Ill. native battled 10 pitches, before sending the 11th over the left field fence. The following inning he singled to right field to drive in the Huskies first of two runs in the inning. Battaglia is batting .214 (3-for-14) and has three RBI, one home run and three runs scored.

HUSKIES TRIO NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT IN CLARKSVILLE
Seniors Tom Barry and Alex Jones, along with sophomore Jeff Zimmerman were named to the Riverview Inn Challenge All-Tournament team announced late Sunday night. Barry pitched 6.1 innings against Austin Peay, striking out five batters and only allowing three hits. Jones (shortstop) batted .400 (6-for-15) with a double, one home run, two RBI and three runs scored, while Zimmerman (utility) was 4-for-13 (.308) with three home runs, four RBI and four runs.

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
Entering the game March 2 versus No. 11 Arizona State, senior pitcher Jake Hermsen carried an ERA of 19.06. Hermsen added another bullett to his NIU pitching resume as he went a career-high 7.2 innings and hurled eight strikeouts and only three walks at the Coca Cola Classic. He kept the Huskies in the game, who were tied with the Sun Devils in the bottom of the ninth, 3-3. Hermsen was two strikeouts shy of matching his career-high in fanned batters, a mark he set against Iowa April 21, 2010.

ROCK SOLID IN THE PEN
Redshirt junior Zach Badgley has been solid for the Huskies in his five relief appearances in 2012. The McHenry, Ill. native leads Northern Illinois in ERA with a 2.57 mark in seven innings and has only allowed five hits, three walks and two runs. He surrendered the two runs in his last outing against St. Mary’s (Calif.) on March 3.

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 information.

KLONOWSKI, MANVILLE NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Sophomore Alex Klonowski and senior Tony Manville were both named to the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic All-Tournament Team for their performance over the weekend. St. John’s had two selections on the team, while host school Texas Tech earned 10 honors.
                    
Klonowski, a native of Kearney, Mo., was the second basemen of the tournament, batting 5-for-19 (.263) with 4 RBI and two runs scored in four starts. Defensively, Klonowski did not commit an error while playing at shortstop, second base, right field or on the mound. Manville pitched seven innings on the mound against No. 24 Texas Tech, surrendering five hits, two walks and one earned run. He also struck out one batter in his 27 batters faced.

PINCH-HITTING HEROES
The Huskies are batting an impressive .545 (6-for-11) in pinch hitting situations with freshman Micah McCulloch leading the way with three hits in four pinch-hit situations (.750). He has accounted for two doubles in that stretch, including one that tied the Huskies with No. 18 St. John’s at the Brooks Wallace Memorial Challenge in Lubbock, Texas Feb. 25 in the ninth inning. Chris Divarco, Jordan Huffman and Michael Kane have also contributed a hit to the Huskies pinch-hitting annals.

GUNSLINGER BEHIND THE PLATE
Senior Brett Frantini has thrown out five runners attempting to steal bases in his 12-starts behind home plate in 2012. He threw out one runner in the third inning against No. 24 Texas Tech Feb. 27 and accounted for two against the Red Raiders Feb. 26. He also threw out one runner in the season-opener at Tennessee (Feb. 17) and another against No. 24 Oregon State March 4.

GRIND-IT-OUT TO GET-IT-DONE
Northern Illinois senior Tony Manville has been a grind-it-out to get-it-done kind of pitcher, keeping NIU within winning’s distance in 2012. Capturing his first win of the season March 10 versus Arkansas State, Manville pitched 7.1 innings, allowing 10 hits, four runs, three strikeouts and only one walk. Feb. 27 versus Texas Tech, he pitched seven innings and only allowed one run on five hits and two walks and accounted for a strikeout. In 2011, the Huskies outscored their opponents 148-136 with the New Lenox, Ill. native on the mound.

THIEVERY
Normally, stealing from another would be frowned upon. But in baseball, its ok. Junior Jamison Wells currently has nine stolen bases this season and racked up 27 for the Huskies last season, tying for the third most in a single season in program history. In his career Wells has accrued 48 stolen bases, good enough for fifth all-time, in 108 career appearances. Alvin Maynard (1979-80) holds the NIU career record (71) and single-season record (41). He is five stolen bases behind No. 2 all-time.

IF YOU GIVE IT TO US, WE’LL TAKE IT
A major contributor to the Huskies big comeback against St. John’s, was the fact that the Red Storm committed five errors in the contest. So far in 2012, opponents have accrued 13 errors to the Huskies 12 in seven games.

SCOUTING THE BILLIKENS
Saint Louis is 11-5 this season and has won 10 of its last 12 games, including four-straight. Last weekend the Billikens hosted North Dakota and outscored the Fighting Sioux 27-3. Saint Louis, like Northern Illinois, opened the month at the Coca Cola Classic in Surprise Ariz., where it finished 2-2. SLU defeated St. Mary’s (Calif.), 2-2, and Winthrop, 6-2, and lost to nationally-ranked Arizona State and Oregon State.

Alex Alemann has been the ace in the hole for SLU with a 3-0 record and a 0.31 ERA, including 27 strikeouts. Alemann has pitched two complete games this season and has one shutout to his credit. At the plate, Saint Louis has three players batting over .400 in Marco Diroma (.552), Alex Kelly (.424) and Steve Fernandez (.418). Five players have 10-or-more RBI this season, including 18 by Fernandez.

WHAT IS A BILLIKEN?
The Billiken is a symbol of good luck that was a national craze in the early 1900s. In 1908, Florence Pretz, an art teacher, received a patent for her version of an ancient Asian figure. Later, the Billiken Co. of Chicago adopted the likeness, giving it its eventual name. Manufactured as a bank and statuette, the Billiken reached its peak of popularity in 1911.

It became associated with SLU at the height of Billikenmania and can be traced back to sportswriters who thought the SLU football coach, John Bender, bore a striking resemblance to the impish creature. One sportswriter drew a cartoon of Bender as a Billiken, posted it in a drugstore window and dubbed the football team “Bender’s Billikens.” The public took up the name, and it soon became the official nickname of all SLU teams.

(copied from SLU.edu)


 

 

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