Huskies Host Eastern Michigan in Final Home Contests of 2013

GO HUSKIES Jamison Wells, along with Zach Badgley, Connor Duckhorn and Jacob Goldenberg will be honored this weekend for Senior Day
Jamison Wells, along with Zach Badgley, Connor Duckhorn and Jacob Goldenberg will be honored this weekend for Senior Day

May 9, 2013

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NORTHERN ILLINOIS (20-26, 14-7 MAC) vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN (22-25, 9-12 MAC)

Day/Opponent/Time                                Coverage
Friday: vs. Eastern Michigan, 3:05 p.m.        Live Video | Gametracker | @NIUscores
Saturday: vs. Eastern Michigan, 1:05 p.m.    Live Video | Gametracker | @NIUscores
Sunday: vs. Eastern Michigan, 1:05 p.m.      Live Video | Gametracker | @NIUscores

Day/Pitcher                                         Last Start
Friday: RHP Eli Anderson (8-3)               (W at Toledo 5/3) 8.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Saturday:  LHP Jordan Ruckman (2-7)    (L at Toledo 5/4) 6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Sunday: RHP Alex Klonowski (4-6)         (L at Toledo 5/5) 5.0 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Day/Pitcher                                Last start
Friday: LHP Brian Hill (6-1)           (ND at Ball State 5/3) 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Saturday: LHP Paul Shaak (3-4)    (L at Ball State 5/4) 7.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Sunrday: To be announced

• Northern Illinois (14-7) is tied for second with Kent State in the Mid-American Conference behind Buffalo, with three games in hand on Ball State (11-10) in the MAC West Division race.
• The Huskies are looking for their first ever MAC West division championship, having finished second twice (’04, ’08).
• Pitcher Eli Anderson is eighth in the country in complete games (5), 28th in wins (8) and 72nd in ERA (1.97).
• NIU has four players with double-digit RBI in MAC games: Tommy Hook (15), Alex Klonowski (15), Landon Tenhagen (13) and Jeff Zimmerman (15).

Toledo (third, MAC West) will head to Ball State (second, MAC West) for a division series May 10-12. Both teams won their series last week as the Rockets defeated NIU and Ball State swept Eastern Michigan.

With the season winding down and the Mid-American Conference Tournament coming up, junior Eli Anderson was moved from his normal Saturday starting role to the Huskies Friday hurler for the potential to start two games in the tournament. In his 11 Saturday starts, Anderson was 7-3 with a 6-0 mark in the MAC. In his first ever Friday start at Toledo May 3, Anderson pitched 8.0 shutout innings for a 4-0 combined shutout with Kevin Sweeney.

This weekend’s final home series marks Senior Day for the Huskies with ceremonies taking place on Sunday. This year’s seniors include Zach Badgley, Connor Duckhorn, Jacob Goldenberg and Jamison Wells. Both Badgley and Wells have played four seasons at NIU while Duckhorn and Goldenberg transferred to NIU in fall 2011.

Sunday will also mark Alumni Day for the Northern Illinois baseball team as Head Coach Ed Mathey invites all previous NIU Baseball players to come out and partake in the festivities before the game versus Eastern Michigan. Batting practice at Ralph McKinzie Field will begin at 10:50 a.m., with a tailgate taking place outside of the outfield wall at Ralph McKinzie Field.

When Zach Badgley is honored Sunday during Senior Day, it will mark the end of an era in the Northern Illinois baseball program. Every season since 1997, with the exception of 2002, there has been a Badgley on the Huskies squad. Brother Dan (1997-2001) started, followed by Mark (2003-07), Nick (2008-09) and closing with Zach (2009-13). All pitcher’s, the family has combined for 226 appearances, the equivalant of every game over four seasons, and 512.0 innings pitched, just over every inning of an season. The numbers are based on a 55-game regular season schedule.

Junior catcher/designated hitter Joe Battaglia had a fantastic week at the plate in the Huskies midweek games and during the Toledo series, batting 6-for-16 (.375) with two homeruns, four RBI and one hit-by-pitch for a .412 on-base percentage and a .755 slugging percentage. Battaglia hit safely in four-of-five games and registered RBI in three-of-four games.

In Mid-American Conference play, 21 games, the Huskies lead their opponents in on-base percentage .348-.337 with Tommy Hook leading the way at .430, followed closely by Nate Ruzich at .408. As the leadoff man in the batting order, Jamison Wells carries a .394 average in MAC games.

Though it’s nearly impossible to compare the present to the past when talking baseball, the Northern Illinois weekend rotation has posted incredible numbers this season, most notably in innings pitched and complete games. The Huskies have gone the distance eight times this season, the most for NIU since 2003, Ed Mathey’s first season with the program. The program record stands at an unbreakable 24 games in 1977, when contests were seven innings. By those parameters, starts of 7.0 innings or longer, the NIU pitching staff would have 20 complete games this season - eight apiece by Eli Anderson  and Alex Klonowski and four by Jordan Ruckman.

The Huskies have proven to be a battle tested squad in the Mid-American Conference and has learned to perform with two outs and their back against the wall. With two outs, the Huskies have recorded 71 hits during conference games and are hitting .285, while driving in 48 RBI to their opponents 33. Freshman Tommy Hook has been a key figure with two outs and runners on third as he is 6-for-8 (.750) in those instances with seven RBI.

In Mid-American Conferfence games, the Huskies have really poured it on their opposition in the fourth through ninth innings, outscoring their foes, 71-47. Impressively, NIU has accounted for 39 runs to its opponents 26 in the seventh through ninth innings. In the opening third of ball games, Northern Illinois trails its opponents on the scoreboard, 32-36. All-in-all, NIU is leading its conference opponents in the runs department, 103-83.

Eastern Michigan enters the series with the Huskies 22-25 after a midweek split at Michigan (W, 13-4) and Michigan State (L, 6-4). The Eagles entered last weekend’ Ball State series on a high as they defeated No. 26 Notre Dame, 12-6, May 1, however, EMU was not able to carry that magic into the BSU series as it was swept in Muncie, Ind. The Eagles are 9-12 in the MAC.

Sam Ott has been the power and consistency in EMU’s lineup as he carries a .344 batting average with 18 doubles, three triples, two homeruns and 42 RBI. Lee Longo leads the team in homers with five. He also sports a .431 on-base percentage. Brian Hill is the ace of the staff with a 6-1 record and a 3.78 earned run average in 66.2 innings pitched. Taylor Dimmerling has been consistent in relief with a 3.21 ERA in 28.0 innings and a 2-1 record.

The Huskies will play its final five games of the regular season on the road, when they head to UW-Milwaukee for a doubleheader May 14, followed by NIU’s final Mid-American Conference series at Ball State May 16-18.



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