Huskies Open MAC Play Versus Buffalo

GO HUSKIES Through four starts this season, Alex Klonowski has not picked up a decision.
GO HUSKIES
Through four starts this season, Alex Klonowski has not picked up a decision.
GO HUSKIES

March 20, 2014

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Week 6 - Northern Illinois (2-15-1) vs Buffalo (8-5)
Chicago State Baseball Stadium (Chicago) & Lee Pfund Stadium (Wheaton, Ill.)
Friday, March 21 vs Buffalo (6 p.m.)
Saturday, March 22 vs Buffalo (5 p.m.)
Sunday, March 23 vs Buffalo (1 p.m.)
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com

NORTHERN ILLINOIS’ PITCHING ROTATION
Friday: LHP Anthony Andres (0-3)
    2014 stats: 18.0 IP, 3.50 ERA, 8 K, 13 BB, 1.50 WHIP
Saturday: RHP Eli Anderson (1-2)
    2014 stats: 24.2 IP, 4.38 ERA, 18 K, 7 BB, 1.36 WHIP
Sunday: RHP Alex Klonowski (0-0)
    2014 stats: 22.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 13 K, 13 BB, 1.36 WHIP

BUFFALO’S PITCHING ROTATION
Friday: LHP Mike McGee (1-1)
    2014 stats: 22.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 23 K, 20 BB, 1.36 WHIP
Saturday: RHP Anthony Magovney (4-0)
    2014 stats: 27.2 IP, 1.63 ERA, 17 K, 8 BB, 0.77 WHIP
Sunday: RHP Mike Burke (1-1)
    2014 stats: 29.0 IP, 0.93 ERA, 23 K, 5 BB, 0.90 WHIP

LEAD OFFS
• The Huskies were picked to finish fourth in the MAC West this season.
• Northern Illinois is 22-25 all-time in MAC opening series  and 18-16 under Ed Mathey.
• NIU is 6-0 versus Buffalo in conference opening series.
• As a team, the Huskies have amassed 30 hits in the last two games.
Anthony Andres will make his third start of the season and his career for NIU on Friday.
• NIU is hitting .318 with runners in scoring position to its opponents .059 since March 13.

MEMORIES MADE IN THE COLDEST WINTER
The Huskies have had to endure one if its harshest winters this year. Though the snow is melting in DeKalb, the conditions are still unplayable at Ralph McKinzie Field. For the second-straight season, NIU’s opening MAC series was moved to another location as the Huskies will play Buffalo at Chicago State Saturday and Sunday, followed by a Sunday contest at Wheaton College. Last season, Northern Illinois opened the MAC at UIC against Kent State, a then-reigning College World Series participant. NIU finished the series 1-2 as it defeated the Golden Flashes, 3-0, in Saturday’s affair.

THE STREAKING, SLUGGER Justin Fletcher
18 games into his NIU career, sophomore Justin Fletcher is already on his longest hitting streak of his career at five games - tied for the longest this season by a Huskie with Brandon Mallder. In the last five games, Fletcher has been a monster at the plate with a .524 average (11-for-21) with two doubles, two triples, two RBI and three runs scored. While his on-base percentage is impressive, at a clip of .545, his slugging percentage is staggering at .810. Fletcher has three triples this season, the second-most in the MAC and tied for the 22nd most in the NCAA.

A TOUGH STRIKEOUT
Senior Alex Klonowski has made 68 plate appearances this season, the second-most on the team this season. While his average is not where he would like it to be right now, .265, he has only struck out three times this season and is ranked 29th in the country in toughest to strike out, fanning every 22.5 at-bats, or once every four games.

GAME-WINNING DINGER
In the top of the ninth inning, with two runners on-base, two outs and the Huskies trailing 7-5, senior Landon Tenhagen hit his first home run of the season on an 0-1 pitch to give the Huskies their second win of the season at UIC, 8-7. Northern Illinois led the game 3-0 after five innings and after a run in the sixth and six in the bottom of the eight, NIU found itself down, 7-3. It was the Huskies first come from behind win since May 1, 2013 when NIU scored five runs in the eighth at UIC to defeat the Flames, 7-5.

DEFENSIVE PROWESS
Through 18 games this season, the NIU defense has committed 18 errors for a team fielding percentage of .974, the 56th best fielding percentage in the country and the top in the Mid-American Conference. Turning two has also been a strength of the Huskies, who are fourth in the MAC and 141st in the country with 13 double plays this season.

AROUND THE BIGS
Did you know that former NIU Huskie Jeff Zimmerman (2011-13) has made four appearances for the Seattle Mariners this season during Spring Training in Arizona? In his debut on March 3, Zimmerman went 1-for-2 at the plate with a single to right field as he entered the game for Mariners slugger Justin Smoak. He then earned his first start for the M’s on March 10 and last appeared for the club on March 15, a 13-6 loss to the Giants. The former freshman all-american is looking to become the first Huskie since Brian Schmack (1992-95) in 2003 to make his MLB debut.

SCOUTING THE BULLS
The Bulls enter the NIU series with an 8-5 record this season, winning seven of their first nine games to start the season. In its last five games, Buffalo is 1-4 with its sole win against Lafayette at Virginia Commonwealth on March 15. UB was last in action on Wednesday afternoon at crosstown rival Canisius, who upset No. 5 North Carolina State earlier this season, and fell to the Griffins, 12-11. Tyler Mautner has been the big bat in the lineup for the Bulls, leading the team in average (.357), on-base percentage (.500), doubles (5), triples (2) and RBI (11). Mike Burke, UB’s first baseman and Sunday starting pitcher, is hitting .351 at the plate in nine games but has done significant work as a pitcher, posting a a 0.93 ERA and a 1-1 record. Pitcher Anthony Magovny has also been throwing darts on the mound as he is a perfect 4-0 in his four starts this season. With 27.2 innings to his credit, he owns an earned run average of 1.63 with a WHIP (walks/hits per inning) of 0.77.

LAST TIME OUT
The Huskies went to Illinois-Chicago Tuesday night for a showdown with the Flames in NIU’s final tuneup before the start of Mid-American Conference play. The Huskies put runners in scoring position in all but two innings in the contest, taking a 3-0 lead after five innings. UIC scored one run on a solo home run in the sixth and would hit two more home runs in the eighth inning, including a grand slam, to take a 7-3 lead. NIU mounted a charge in the top of the ninth frame as it accounted for five runs in the inning, three of which came from Landon Tenhagen’s three-run homer to left field to lift the Huskies over the Flames, 8-7. All of UIC’s runs in the game came via the long ball, stranding zero runners on base.

NEXT UP
The Huskies will return to action Friday March 28 when it heads to defending MAC Tournament Champion Bowling Green for a three-game set with the Falcons.

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois0
Buffalo12
May 23, 2013
Avon, Ohio
Northern Illinois Baseball Ends Season MAC Tournament Loss Versus Buffalo
The Northern Illinois baseball season came to a close in the Mid-American Conference Tournament against Buffalo Thursday morning as Bulls pitcher Mike Burke threw a complete game shutout to defeat the Huskies, 12-0 ...