May 12, 2014
DeKALB - The Northern Illinois baseball team (17-33-1), coming off of a series victory over Akron that kept the Huskies Mid-American Conference Tournament destiny within their control, will close its midweek schedule Tuesday when it takes on UW-Milwaukee in a doubleheader at Henry Aaron Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both contests will be seven innings with first pitch set for 3 p.m. Central.
It was a memorable series against the Zips at Ralph McKinzie Field as it marked Senior Weekend and three impressive performances. Friday’s contest was NIU’s longest of the season, going four hours and 22 minutes and a span of 13 innings - Northern Illinois’ longest game since May 25, 2007 versus Miami in the MAC Tournament. NIU would score two runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Though the Huskies won that day against the Redhawks, it would not against the Zips last Friday as it couldn’t overcome three runs by UA in the top of the 14th, falling, 7-4.
NIU would redeem itself on Saturday, led by Eli Anderson on the mound, who tossed his second-consecutive complete game in as many weeks to even the series with a 4-1 victory. On Mother’s Day, Anderson was bested by classmate Alex Klonowski, who tossed his third complete game shutout to set the single season record and tie the NIU career record. Klonowski only allowed two hits while striking out seven and walking two in the 2-0 victory. Huskie Brian Sisler extended his hitting streak to 13 games while Brandon Mallder led NIU with a 6-for-13 (.462) clip at the plate.
The Huskies pitching last weekend put them atop the Mid-American Conference in earned run average during conference games with a clip of 2.80, 23 points higher than Central Michigan’s 3.03 mark.
More importantly the series victory gave NIU the tiebreaker over Akron in the Mid-American Conference standings, placing Northern Illinois seventh despite both teams carrying an 11-13 mark in conference. The Huskies will host MAC leader Ball State in the final series of the season, while the Zips will head to Kent State, who is currently in the hunt for the Mid-American Conference’s East Division crown.
Tuesday’s contests will serve as the third and fourth final games of the series between the Huskies and the Panthers. Both NIU and UWM have taken a game in the series with Northern Illinois earning victory in the last meeting at Ralph McKinzie Field on April 23, 3-2.
UW-Milwaukee will enter the doubleheader with a 15-24 overall mark this season, coming off of a series loss at Oakland. The Panthers avoided the sweep in the series finale as it overpowered the Grizzlies, 14-6. UWM has been traditionally strong at Hank Aaron Field over the last three seasons, only dropping three games there - all this season - since 2012.
NIU heads into the games with a head full of steam following the triumphs over Akron, improving Head Coach Ed Mathey’s career win total to 499 in 21 seasons as a coach. Mathey has won 294 games in 12 seasons at Northern Illinois University and has accounted for 205 more at his alma mater, North Central College. Mathey is the all-time leader in wins and the only coach in NIU baseball history with more than 200 career victories.
Fans can follow the live via GameTracker and on Twitter @NIUscores. Fans should also check their local listings in the future as the game will be taped by Time Warner Sports and replayed at various times as schedule allows.
The Huskies will close the regular season with a series versus Ball State at Ralph McKinzie Field, starting Thursday, May 15 at 3:05 p.m. Central.
The Last Meeting
April 23, 2014
Battaglia's Squeeze Bunt Seals Huskie Win
A squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth by senior Joe Battaglia broke a 2-2 deadlock for Northern Illinois as it defeated UW-Milwaukee, 3-2. Battaglia recorded the bunt in his only plate appearance of the game. Shortstop Brian Sisler finished 2-for-4 with a run ...