Huskies Welcome MAC Leader Central Michigan

GO HUSKIES Alex Klonowski was 4-for-4 at the plate and fanned eight batters in 5.0 innings last Easter versus Akron.
Alex Klonowski was 4-for-4 at the plate and fanned eight batters in 5.0 innings last Easter versus Akron.

April 17, 2014

NIU-CMU Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Week 10 - Northern Illinois Huskies (9-26-1; 5-7 MAC)
Central Michigan Chippewas (23-14; 10-2 MAC)
DeKalb, Ill. | Ralph McKinzie Field
Friday, April 18 vs Central Michigan (3:05 p.m.)
Saturday, April 19 vs Central Michigan (1:05 p.m.)
Sunday, April 20 vs Central Michigan (1:05 p.m.)
GameTracker: Game One | Game Two | Game Three
Live Video: NIUtube Game One | Game Two | Game Three

Friday: LHP Anthony Andres (3-4)
    2014 stats: 43.2 IP, 3.30 ERA, 20 K, 27 BB, 1.55 WHIP
Saturday: RHP Eli Anderson (1-5)
    2014 stats: 57.0 IP, 4.42 ERA, 46 K, 15 BB, 1.31 WHIP
Sunday: RHP Alex Klonowski (1-4)
    2014 stats: 54.1 IP, 3.31 ERA, 36 K, 23 BB, 1.16 WHIP

Friday: RHP Jordan Foley (4-2)
    2014 stats: 59.1 IP, 3.19 ERA, 57 K, 19 BB, 1.15 WHIP
Saturday: RHP Pat Kaminska (6-1)
    2014 stats: 61.2 IP, 1.90 ERA, 46 K, 9 BB, 0.96 WHIP
Sunday: LHP Nick Deeg (3-3)
    2014 stats: 50.2 IP, 4.26 ERA, 42 K, 17 BB, 1.45 WHIP

• CMU is 10-2 in the MAC this season, the best winning percentage in the conference (.833).
• The Huskies are in a four way tie for sixth in the conference with BGSU, Miami and Toledo.
• NIU is 14-20 against CMU in regular season games since 2003.
• This weekend’s series is the final conference series at Ralph McKinzie Field in April.
• Northern Illinois is 6-4 on Easter Sunday, having played every year except for 2003 and 2005.

The NIU Huskies have not backed away from the bright lights since the start of the Mid-American Conference season as it owns a 3-1 record in game one of their conference series. Northern Illinois has outscored its opponents 38-21 in Friday games and is hitting .273 in those contests against each teams top-pitcher. NIU starting pitcher Anthony Andres has been solid in his Friday starts, pitching one combined shutout with an ERA of 3.16. At the plate, Justin Fletcher has arguably been the toughest out in the conference as he is 10-for-17 (.588) at the plate on Friday’s with three doubles, four RBI, eight runs and on-base percentage of .600 with zero strikeouts.

While No. 3 Justin Fletcher has been the star of Friday nights for the Huskies, the man in front of him in the lineup, Tommy Hook, has been equally as valuable on Friday’s for NIU as he is 6-for-14 (.429) with an OBP of .556, seven runs, a triple and two RBI. With Fletcher’s eight runs and Hook’s seven, the Huskie duo has combined for 39.5 percent of Northern Illinois’ runs in game one of its MAC series.

The NIU pitching rotation of seniors Eli Anderson, Anthony Andres and Alex Klonowski has been strong for the Huskies in their combined 12 starts as the group has given the Huskies their best chance to win this season. Through a combined 83.0 innings of work, the trio has a WHIP of 1.29 with a shutout, two complete games, 53 strikeouts and 26 walks.

The Huskies took last season’s series at Central Michigan, dropping Friday’s game, 6-3, before taking Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, 7-2, 5-3, respectively. Though NIU dropped the first game, 6-3, it battled against First Team All-MAC pitcher Jordan Foley as it scored three runs on six hits with five walks to get Foley off the mound after 6.2 innings. Eli Anderson tossed his third-straight complete game on the mound against the Chippewas on Saturday with the Huskies scattering 10 hits at the plate to even the series. In the finale, Northern Illinois rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the top of the eighth with two runs in the frame and two more in the ninth to clinch the series over the Chips, 5-3.

Central Michigan owns a 23-14 record this season with a 10-2 mark in conference games. The Chippewas opened their Mid-American Conference schedule 6-0 with sweeps at Ohio and versus Miami (Ohio). CMU’s only conference losses have occurred on Sunday’s as it’s lost the series finales to Buffalo and Bowling Green in successive weeks. Head Coach Steve Jaksa began coaching the Chips in 2003, much like Ed Mathey at NIU, and is 20-14 against the Huskies in MAC regular season contests. Starting pitching has been the name of the game for the Chippewas as Nick Deeg, Jordan Foley and Pat Kaminska have combined for a staff earned run average of 2.95 with a walks and hits per inning average of 1.21. At the plate, Cody Leichman has been the all-everything for CMU with a .351 average and 36 RBI. Leichman also leads the team in slugging percentage with a clip of .534 on 10 doubles, a triple and four homers.

If the Huskies needed a visual representation for the way they’ve played on Easter under Head Coach Ed Mathey, it would be one filled with the best kind of jellybeans and chocolates as Northern Illinois is 6-4 under Mathey on Easter Sunday. Only twice, 2003 and 2005, have the Huskies not played on Easter and last played Akron in Avon, Ohio on Easter Sunday. NIU would defeat the Zips, 14-4, as Alex Klonowski went 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI while striking eight batters in 5.0 innings on the mound to earn MAC Player of the Week honors. The Huskies last lost on Easter Sunday versus Ohio in 2012. Its only other loss at Ralph McKinzie Field was in 2010, dropping the series finale to Buffalo.

The Huskies will play one midweek game next week, hosting UW-Milwaukee on April 23 at Ralph McKinzie Field, before heading back on the road to Western Michigan on April 25 for a three game set with the Broncos.

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois5
Central Michigan3
April 7, 2013
Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Huskies Late Rally Claims Series at Central Michigan, 5-3
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, the Northern Illinois (11-18, 6-3 MAC) baseball team rallied back with a two-run homerun in the eighth and a pair of RBI walks in the ninth to defeat Central Michigan (12-18, 3-6 MAC) and claim the Huskies first series in Mt. Pleasant since 2009, 5-3 ...



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