NIU Baseball Closes Regular Season Against Ball State

GO HUSKIES Alex Klonowski is 3-1 with a 0.56 ERA in his last four starts on the mound.
Alex Klonowski is 3-1 with a 0.56 ERA in his last four starts on the mound.

May 14, 2014

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2014 Northern Illinois Baseball Notes | Week 14
Northern Illinois Huskies (17-33-1, 11-13 MAC)
Ball State Cardinals (35-16, 19-4 MAC)
Thursday, May 15 (3:05 p.m.)
Friday, May 16 (3:05 p.m.)
Saturday, May 17 (1:05 p.m.)
GameTracker: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
Twitter: @NIUscores
Live Video: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3

Thursday: RHP Eli Anderson (4-5)
    2014 stats: 89.0 IP, 3.44 ERA, 71 K, 26 BB, 1.28 WHIP
Friday: RHP Alex Klonowski (4-5)
    2014 stats: 86.1 IP, 2.29 ERA, 59 K, 30 BB, 1.10 WHIP
Saturday: To Be Announced

Thursday: RHP T.J. Weir (7-2)
    2014 stats: 87.0 IP, 3.62 ERA, 103 K, 31 BB, 1.38 WHIP
Friday: RHP Scott Baker (6-4)
    2014 stats: 79.0 IP, 4.22 ERA, 57 K, 13 BB, 1.25 WHIP
Saturday: RHP Zach Plesac (11-2)
    2014 stats: 76.1 IP, 2.36 ERA, 57 K, 31 BB, 1.26 WHIP

• The Huskies are seventh in the current MAC standings, owning a tiebreaker over Akron for the spot. NIU controls its own destiny to the tournament as it stands.
• Ball State is the current leader in the Mid-American Conference and is a win, or a CMU loss away, from winning the MAC.
• Head Coach Ed Mathey is one win shy of his 500th career victory.
• Three Huskies are carrying five-plus game hitting streaks into the series.
Alex Klonowski is tied for second in the country in shutouts and is one shy of national leader David Speer (Columbia).

Alex Klonowski tossed third complete game shutout of 2014 last Sunday versus Akron, allowing only two hits and striking out seven in the 2-0 Huskie victory. The shutout broke Pat Griffin’s mark of two set in 1981 and also broke the team single season shutout record of six set in 1964. NIU leads the Mid-American Conference in shutouts with seven and is ranked 18th nationally. Individually, Klonowski is tied with 10 others for second in the country in complete game shutouts. He shares the lead with Oregon State’s Jace Fry, whom he went head-to-head against on March 8 during the Huskies spring break trip. He also leads the MAC as 10 other players are tied for second with one shutout.

Against Mid-American Conference foes, starting pitchers Eli Anderson and Alex Klonowski have been nothing short of spectacular in their last four starts, as the two have combined for a 6-1 record with a combined WHIP average of 1.10 and an earned run average of 2.45. Since April 19, Klonowski owns a 0.56 ERA in 32 innings while Anderson carries a 1.69 ERA. In relief since April 19, Andrew Frankenreider and Ben Neumann have also been crucial pieces to the puzzle as opponents are only hitting .158 and .083, respectively, off of them.

When you stick around in the coaching business for 21 seasons, wins are bound to pile up during your career. NIU Head Coach Ed Mathey, with 12 seasons at Northern Illinois and another nine at North Central College, has accounted for 499 wins in his career in 1,042 games for an all-time win percentage of .481. With one more victory, Mathey will win his 500th game of his career and account for the 295th win of his NIU career. He owns the most wins in NIU history.

Heading into last season’s series, the Huskies carried a two-game lead over Ball State in the MAC West Division title race. The Cardinals tied the series with wins on Thursday and Friday, before NIU came through in extra innings to defeat BSU, 6-4, after 10 innings. The Huskies dog piled winning pitcher Anthony Andres on Ball State’s mound and would love to repay the favor this weekend. One win by Ball State or a loss by Central Michigan, would ensure their spot as regular season champions of the Mid-American Conference.

Since Easter Sunday versus Central Michigan (13 games), sophomore Brian Sisler has found a way to get a hit and get on base. His streak is the Huskies longest of the season and the longest for NIU since Troy White’s (2009-12) 13-game hitting streak March 17-April 7, 2012. The DeKalb, Illinois native is hitting .378 with 17 hits in 45 at-bats since his streak started, with an on-base percentage of .491. With hand-eye coordination going hand-in-hand, Sisler has only struck five times in the last 13 games.

Ball State has proven to be the Mid-American Conference’s top team this season with an overall mark of 35-15 this season and an impressive 19-4 register against MAC foes.  The Cardinals have swept four MAC opponents this season, including Kent State last week. Ball State has dropped three of their last five series openers to Toledo (12-4), Western Michigan (7-3) and Akron (5-2). The Cardinals carry the top-batting average in the Mid-American Conference with a .286 clip, 41 home runs and 325 runs (6.37 R/9) while their pitching staff is ninth in the MAC in earned run average with its 5.03 mark and .283 batting average against. Three Cardinals - Alex Call (.350), Sean Godfrey (.344) and Sean Kennedy (.333) all rank top-10 in the conference in hitting. Back on the mound, pitcher Zach Plesac is second in the country in wins with an 11-2 record. No. 1 starter TJ Weir leads the MAC in strikeouts and is No. 7 in the NCAA  with 103 punch outs in 13 starts and 17 appearances. Reigning MAC Pitcher of the Year Scott Baker is 6-4 this season with a 4.22 ERA in 79 innings.

The Huskies could be en route to Avon, Ohio next week as the MAC Tournament begins May 21 at All Pro Freight Stadium. Tournament seeding and brackets will be released following the conclusion of the regular season on Saturday night.

The Last Meeting
Northern Illinois6  
Ball State410
May 18, 2013
Muncie, Ind.
Huskies Clinch MAC West Championship at Ball State in Extras, 6-4
MAC West Champions! The Northern Illinois baseball team (22-32, 16-11 MAC) clinched its first ever Mid-American Conference West division championship Saturday afternoon at Ball Diamond as the Huskies defeated Ball State (28-23, 15-12 MAC), 6-4, in 10 innings ...



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