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(L at Southern Illinois 3/9) 8.2 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
OPPONENTS PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION
Friday (Belmont): LHP Chase Brookshire (1-1)
(L vs SEMO) 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K
Saturday (Lipscomb): Davey Hacket (1-3)
(L at Ole Miss) 5.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 0 K
Sunday (Belmont): LHP James Buckelew (1-1)
(ND vs SEMO 3/10) 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
LEAD OFFS • Senior Jamison Wells is two stolen bases away from tying the all-time record of 71 at NIU. • 40 years ago the Huskies faced both Belmont and Lipscomb on their spring break trip in 1973. • NIU scored seven runs in the second at Murray State March 13, the most in an inning this year. • Jon Savarise earned his first career save March 13 in four innings versus the Thoroughbreds.
WELLS INCHING CLOSER Senior Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) is inching closer to breaking the all-time stolen bases record at Northern Illinois with 69 in his career. So far this season, the NIU center fielder has five stolen bases and has averaged 26 the last two seasons. Alvin Maynard (1979-80) set the record in his two seasons with the Huskies 71.
DOUBLE TROUBLE Northern Illinois scored seven runs in the top of the second at Murray State March 14 and two Huskie batters, Micah McCulloch and Jeff Zimmerman, drove in two RBI in the inning. It was the first time since Alex Beckmann and Alex Jones each knocked in two in the sixth inning at Iowa April 21, 2010 that multiple NIU players hit two RBI in the same inning.
WORKING FOR IT Jon Savarise stepped onto the mound in the sixth inning for Zach Badgley at Murray State Wednesday afternoon, closing for NIU. The Huskie freshman pitched four innings, striking out two and allowing four hits, one walk and one run to earn his first career save. It marked the first time since 2011 that a freshman earned a save. Alex Klonowski earned two as a frosh in 2011. Mark Badgley amassed 13 in his freshman season en route to Freshman All-America honors.
HOOK, LINE AND SINKER Freshman Tommy Hook (Lockport/Lockport Township) has been the Huskies model of consistency this spring break as he’s batted 5-for-16 (.312), batting safely in four-of-five games. Hook leads the team in batting average at .321 and carries a .424 on-base percentage in nine starts.
40 YEARS LATER In March 1973, the Huskies went on their spring break trip to take on Belmont, Lipscomb, Middle Tennesse and Vanderbilt. This year, NIU will again head to Nashville, Tenn. to take on Belmont and Lipscomb. The Huskies went 1-1 with Lipscomb in the series and defeated Belmont as well.
FIELD OF DREAMS In the NCAA’s second statistical report that was released March 11, NIU stands No. 8 in the country in fielding percentage at .984. Northern Illinois only had eight errors to its credit through week four.
ORANGE YOU GLAD TO BE A TWO-SPORT ATHLETE? Jamison Wells also plays football for the Mid-American Conference Champion Huskies (12-2), who made national headlines in December when they were invited to the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl to play Florida State. Wells appeared in all 14 games at wide receiver, making 16 grabs for 180 yards.
JOHN OLERUD AWARD WATCH LIST WORTHY? Junior Alex Klonowski has been a solid two-way player for the Huskies since his arrival in 2011, appearing in 84 games on the diamond with 42 appearances on the mound. “Klono” sports a .268 batting average, has 15 hits and leads NIU in RBI (8). On the mound he sports a 1-3 record, a 3.86 ERA in 28 innings with a team-high 19 strikeouts.
SCOUTING THE BEARS Two-time defending Atlantic Sun Champion Belmont, now in the Ohio Valley, has started the season very strong with a 12-4 record, highlighted by a series triumph at Georgia in the second week of the season. Two of the teams wins have come at the hands of Mid-American Conference foes Buffalo (9-2, 3/12) and Ohio (5-1, 2/16) with another pair versus Illinois State to open the month of March. Judah Akers has been the bruiser in the lineup for the Bears as he sports a .281 batting average with four home runs, three doubles, a triple and 18 RBI in 16 starts. Chase Brookshire has been stalwart on the mound as the No. 1 starter with a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings. In his last outing, Brookshire pitched a complete game, fanning 11 and walking two. He also owns a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 30-4.
SCOUTING THE BISON Lipscomb is 6-12 in the first part of its season and will host Bradley as well as the Huskies this weekend. The Bison won their opening series of 2013 when it hosted Southern Illinois-Edwardville but have been unable to claim another series since then. Lipscomb's last weekend series was at No. 7 Ole Miss, a series sweep by the Rebels. Though they sport a losing the record, the Bison have not had problems scoring runs as they've racked 101 runs this season. Four players have double-digit RBI thus far, led by Taylor Stewart's 14. Drew Adams has been a mover and a shaker for Lipscomb with five stolen bases, 12 RBI and two home runs this year. Will Blalock has been a key force in the starting pitching role this year, hurling 23.1 innings with an 0-1 record and an ERA of 4.24.
NEXT UP The Huskies will open Mid-American Conference play next weekend when it hosts 2012 College World Series participant Kent State. It marks the first time since 1976, Eastern Michigan, that Northern Illinois has hosted a reigning CWS team.