The Northern Illinois baseball team scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 8-7 win at Illinois-Chicago.
The big blast was a three-run homer by Landon Tenhagen (2-15-1). The Huskies (2-15-1) had given up five runs in the bottom of the eighth and trailed 7-3 entering the final frame.
Ben Neumann earned the win for NIU, throwing two innings without giving up an earned run.
“We had good hitting throughout the game today, putting guys in scoring position with the exception of the third and eighth innings,” NIU head coach Ed Mathey said in a news release. “We didn’t do enough to separate the game early and UIC broke out its long game in the eighth to take the lead. Our goal was to get the tying run to the plate and see what happens, and Landon delivered with a home run to score the winning run.”
Baseball went head to head with two of the top teams in college baseball over spring break but was unable to record a win in seven games.
The Huskies (1-15-1) were swept by No. 5 Oregon State in a four-game series in Corvallis, Ore., March 7 to 9.
The Beavers (17-3) shut out the Huskies in three of four games and only allowed them to score two runs total in the four-game series, which they scored in a 12-2 loss in game three. The Huskies were outscored 30-2 total in the four games.
The Beavers’ pitching staff had their way with the Huskies’ batters all weekend as they only gave up 10 hits. In game one of the doubleheader on March 8, Oregon State pitcher Jace Fry tossed a complete game no-hitter while striking out 10 batters, in a 2-0 victory.
“Alex [Klonowski] was great on the mound today. Our defense was good. We just needed to put the bat on the ball in the first game,” Coach Ed Mathey said, according to a news release. “I tip my cap to Oregon State’s pitcher because he was spectacular.”
The Huskies put up a battle against No. 11 Cal Poly (16-3) in a three-game series Tuesday through Thursday in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
NIU fell 4-2 in game one, was blown out 10-1 in game two on Wednesday and came up short again in game three, 11-9.
The Huskies had their chances in game one but failed to take advantage of their opportunities, leaving eight runners on base.
“That eighth inning, I thought we had a chance to do some things, put some runs up on the board,” Mathey said, according to a news release. “[We had] runners at the corners and Tommy Hook at bat, but just fell short.”
The Huskies fell behind early in game two, giving up nine runs in the first three innings, and they were never able to get back in the game. Starting pitcher Jordan Ruckman lasted just 2.2 innings while giving up nine runs — six of them earned — on eight hits and five walks.
In game three, the Huskies got their bats out in a big way, recording 17 hits. Infielders Justin Fletcher and Brian Sisler had big days at the plate, each going three for five. Klonowksi and outfielder Landon Tenhagen each came up with timely hits, earning two RBIs each.
“We did a lot of good things tonight that normally win you ball games,” Mathey said, according to a news release. “Our hitters deserve some credit tonight; they showed what we are capable of at the plate. I hate to complain with the effort they had, but we left a few too many runners on, and that’s something we need to improve upon.”
The Huskies were set to close their spring break with a three-game series against Bradley in Peoria, , but the weather conditions suspended play in the seventh inning of game one of the doubleheader Saturday.
At that point, the Huskies trailed the Braves, 5-1. The game will be resumed April 17, with the Huskies at the plate in the top of the eighth inning.
Take Care of Your Shoulders
Your throwing arm won’t protect itself, so you need to make every effort to continue your tubing and other rotator cuff exercises. This is especially true for pitchers. Take care of your arm, and it will take care of you.
Hit the Legs Hard but Go Easy on the Upper Body
With your upper body, you need to be more cautious. Anything that can compromise the integrity of your shoulders should be done in moderation or not at all. Opt for Push-Up variations over a heavy Bench Press or Incline Press. Horizontal pulling exercises like Rows are great for keeping your back strong. There’s nothing wrong with vertical pulling movements such as Pull-Ups, but some pitchers can develop elbow or shoulder issues with these during the season.
The Elmira Pioneers are proud to announce another addition to the roster for the 2014 season. Northern Illinois University reliever Anthony Ciango returns to the Pioneers after improving over the course of the 2013 season. Ciango will look to provide valuable leadership skills his second time around in the PGCBL.
Ciango, a red-shirt sophomore, hails from Woodridge, Illinois where he starred on the baseball team at Downers Grove High School. Following his junior season at Downers Grove, Ciango was named a Team Illinois All-Star. In 2013 he made four relief appearances for the Huskies of NIU throwing 2.1 innings. Ciango held Nevada scoreless in back-to-back appearances, totaling 1.1 innings.
While in a Pioneers uniform, Ciango made 13 appearances going 0-2 with a 4.88 ERA. He limited batters to a .250 batting average allowing 23 hits over the course of 24 innings and had 15 strikeouts. Pioneers Manager Matt Burch said of Ciango returning for the 2014 season, “I am pleased to welcome back Anthony to the 2014 club. He really improved last summer and will provide key leadership to a new group of players. He will be counted on to lead our bullpen this upcoming season”.
Baseball is set for what will arguably be its toughest test of the season when it plays a four-game set against No. 5 Oregon State this weekend in Corvallis, Ore.
The Beavers (10-3) are playing strong baseball to start the season, winning six of their last seven games. The Huskies are coming into this series after earning their first win of the season against Southern Illinois Friday.
“It’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “They pitch the ball extremely well, they defend the ball extremely well and they are a pretty efficient offensive group … . We’re going to a great environment; I mean, it’s Oregon State, two-time national champions in 2007 and 2008, and they were in the College World Series last year, so they are a hungry team.”
The Beavers are a strong offensive team led by outfielder Michael Conforto, who has a .333 batting average while leading the team with 20 RBIs. As a team, they have scored 93 runs this season, the 10th-most in college baseball.
The Huskies’ starting pitching is going to play a key role in this series. Mathey will need them to be able to go deep into games to keep his bullpen from pitching a lot of innings.
“Our starting pitching is going to need to be effective,” Mathey said. “You have a situation where you have a four-game set, so you have 36 innings in a matter of pretty much 48 hours, so if our starting pitching can give us some innings, then we can limit our bullpen exposure. I think that’s going to be the key.”
The Huskies got strong outings from pitchers Eli Anderson, Jordan Ruckman and Alex Klonowski last weekend against Southern Illinois. They each lasted six innings or more.
As for the fourth game, the Huskies have not decided who will be the starter. They have narrowed it down to Dirk Ormsby, Anthony Andres, Ben Neumann or Andrew Frankenreider. The decision will come down to how much work the bullpen has done throughout the weekend.
Offensively, the Huskies have been struggling at the plate. Last weekend, they recorded just two runs on 13 hits.
“Our guys have to swing to their capabilities, that’s the big thing,” Mathey said. “We know that they can do it; they just need to do it. That’s a hard thing because it gets into a press situation, and that’s not good in the batter’s box, pressing. We have to put them in situations where we can make it easier on them. So if we have to bunt we’re going to bunt, if we can hit and run then we’ll hit and run, and those type of things will help manufacture some runs, just to get them relaxed and let the game come to them.”
The Romeoville Royals are happy to have landed a very good catcher from Northern IL University, John Zubek. Zubek recently signed a contract to play for the Royals. This comes after the Royals pursued him in 2013 but missed out on the 2016 catcher. This season Zubek and NIU Head Coach Ed Mathey decided that the Royals were a great fit for him. The Royals pitching staff will once again be stacked with talent and having Zubek added to the catching mix was essential for the continued success of the Royals staff.
Source: Romeoville Royals
With this season just getting underway, it looks like there is a strong chance Huskies pitcher Alex Klonowski could be selected in the upcoming draft.
Klonowski would join former first baseman Jeff Zimmerman, who was drafted in the 19th round by the Seattle Mariners, as Huskies in professional baseball.
Prior to the season starting, Baseball America released its Top 10 Draft Prospects in the MAC, where Klonowski came in at No. 9. Ahead of him are four other pitchers, ranking him as the fifth top pitching prospect out of the MAC conference this season.
“That’s a heck of a recognition,” said coach Ed Mathey. “We have 12 teams in our league, and there’s been some really good players come out of this league that are playing up in the big leagues right now from this league, so for some guys who have been around, have experience to recognize Alex, I think that’s a tremendous compliment to him, his abilities and the work that he’s put in.”
For Klonowski, playing in the MLB is something he has been chasing since he started playing, but he knows he hasn’t reached his goal yet.
“It’s a great thing to hear. It’s been a dream ever since I was little,” Klonowski said. “Literally to see it start coming true — there’s a lot of work between now and then that has to be done. You can’t stop; you have to keep getting better.”
Klonowski came to NIU as more of a relief pitcher in 2011 when he was a freshman. That year he made 23 appearances on the mound as well as one start. He threw 38.2 innings while going 1-0, earning two saves.
He continued to appear in relief in his sophomore year, but last season as a junior he became one of the Huskies’ strongest starting pitchers. Klonowski started 14 games and only posted a 4-7 record but pitched 88.2 innings, which was the second most on the team. He threw two complete games while striking out 57 batters on the season, the second-most on the team.
Mathey said it has been great to watch the development of Klonowski on the mound in his last four seasons.
“He came in and he was a fastball guy with a slip-pitch; the slip-pitch was a big, slow curveball,” Mathey said. “… Trying to get the release point similar for the fastball, breaking ball and then of course the development of the changeup has really been exceptional for him because it really offsets the left-handed hitters that people bring to the lineup on him.”
This season, Klonowski has appeared in two starts and has seen mixed results. He ran into trouble against Minnesota, lasting just 4.1 innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits and four walks. He rebounded in his next start against New Mexico, throwing seven innings, giving up just three earned runs on four hits and one walk.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Northern Illinois may have started slow against Missouri State in the opening game of the Fuddrucker’s Lobo Invite at the University of New Mexico, but it finished as it accounted for eight runs in the bottom of the ninth. However, the Huskies (0-4) were unable to get over the final hump as it fell to the Bears (3-1), 9-8. Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview, Ill./St. Laurence) who entered the game in the eighth inning, finished 2-for-2 with a double, three RBI and run in the ninth inning alone.
Missouri State pitcher Cody Schumacher opened the game with five perfect innings on the mound and pitched six hitless innings in the game until making way for the Bears bullpen. MSU scored nine runs and recorded 19 hits in the contest, 17 of which occurred before NIU recorded its first hit.
“(Schumacher) did a great job of keeping us off balance forcing pop flies. Every time we did, it was right at someone,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “The batters were very effective against Eli (Anderson) today. It was all Missouri State until the eighth and we got some things going. We had a chance to win the game and we really put the pressure on them. I was really proud of the way our guys responded. Unfortunately, like I told the guys, runs in the first are worth the same as in the ninth. They may be more dramatic but they aren’t worth more runs.”
Senior Chris Divarco led off the eighth inning for Northern Illinois and broke up the no-hitter as he drove a 1-1 pitch up the middle but the Huskie was stranded on base to end the inning.
Pitcher Matt Williams (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) stepped onto the rubber for NIU in the top of the ninth, allowing one hit, a leadoff triple, and one walk but the NIU defense came up big to not allow another run in the contest.
With their backs against the wall, the Huskies stormed back with eight runs and seven hits with 14 batters stepping to the plate. After Justin Fletcher walked and Tommy Hook singled to lead off the inning, Mallder doubled to centerfield to drive home Fletcher and put runners on second and third.
Back-to-back singles by Micah McCulloch and Landon Tenhagen made it 9-4 NIU with no outs and two runners on. A walk by Divarco loaded the bases for Connor Schomig, who sacrificed to right field to make it 9-5. Carl Russell hit a single to third base and Brian Sisler reached on a fielder’s choice, but an error by the third baseman did not result in a out and loaded the bases with the top of the NIU lineup appearing with only one out.
Fletcher drove in one run on a single and a fielder’s choice by Hook to the pitcher forced Russell out at home to give the Huskies their second out. Mallder took the count full and drove a ball through the right side to make it 9-8. McCulloch walked to load the bases, and made way for pinch runner Jason Gasser to put more speed on the base path and put pressure on the Bears’ defense. However, Tenhagen was unable to bring home Hook or Mallder as he popped up a 1-0 pitch to second base to end the game.
Mallder’s performance in the ninth inning marked the first time since March 31, 2013 (Easter Sunday) that an NIU player recorded to hits in one inning. Former Huskie turned Seattle Mariner farmhand Jeff Zimmerman was the last Huskie to accomplish the feat as he hit a triple and single in the sixth inning versus Akron in the series finale.
GAME 2 RECAP
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After narrowly falling in game one of its doubleheader to Missouri State, 9-8, Northern Illinois (0-5) was unable to capitalize on the same magic as they fell to New Mexico (3-2) in its first ever night game at Lobo Baseball Field, 12-0.
“New Mexico and their fans were fired up tonight. It was their home opener, under the lights, and they played well. We have to give them a lot of credit,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “Our starting pitcher was not up to the task for the second-straight game and they took it to us. We have to come back tomorrow with more energy and take it to Missouri State.”
The Huskies accounted for five hits in the game but left nine runners on the base path. New Mexico scored 10 runs in the opening four innings, scoring two in the first and third innings, and three more in the second and fourth.
Relief pitchers Anthony Andres, Ben Neumann and TJ Schrader combined for 3.2 scoreless innings, four strikeouts and zero walks while on the rubber.
At the plate, both Justin Fletcher and Johnny Zubek finished 1-for-3 at the plate with a single and a walk in the effort. Fletcher has now hit safely in all five of the Huskies games this season. Brandon Mallder extended his hitting streak to three games as he finished 1-for-4 at the plate.
Through four appearances and 3.2 innings on the mound, Neumann has yet to surrender a run while striking out three batters.
The Huskies will return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon as they take on Missouri State in their third game of the Fuddrucker’s Lobo Invite. With first pitch set for 1 p.m. Central, NIU’s Jordan Ruckman will take the mound for the Huskies.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Northern Illinois and Minnesota played a back and forth baseball game for seven and a half innings, until the Golden Gophers (3-0) accounted for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 5-5 tie with the Huskies (0-3) and take the final game of the series, 11-5. NIU outhit UM in the game, 13-11.
“It was a tight ball game today. We were able to score some runs and build a lead, but in a game like that, it’s hard to get comfortable. We never extended our lead and we had some golden opportunities to do that,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey . “I have to give some Minnesota some credit though, they did a great job of responding each time we built the lead. We were able to get a few singles in the ninth to try and comeback, but when you’re down six runs, it’s a lot tougher to do that.”
NIU started with a hot hand as it scored two runs in the top of the first inning as leadoff batter Justin Fletcher was hit by a 1-2 pitch to reach base. Fletcher advanced to third on a series of errors as Tommy Hook reached second base on error. Singles by Alex Klonowski and Chris Divarco pushed Fletcher and Hook home to put NIU on top. The Golden Gophers responded with one run in the bottom of the inning.
The scoring picked up from there on out as Minnesota tied the game in the bottom of the third inning on two hits and an error in the outfield, but the Huskies reclaimed their lead in the top of the fourth as Joe Battaglia , who leadoff the inning with a single, scored on a wild pitch to make it, 3-2.
UM tied the game again in the bottom of the fourth, but again NIU responded, as Klonowski and Divarco hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Brandon Mallder grounded out to push Klonowski home and put NIU back on top, 4-3. However, the Gophers scored two runs and forced NIU to the bullpen after 4.1 innings to put Minnesota on top, 5-4.
Northern Illinois tied the game in the top of the eighth with a single run as Mallder, who led the inning with a double, scored on a pinch-hit single by Micah McCulloch to tie it up, 5-5. After NIU’s call, Minnesota responded with six runs in the bottom of the eighth and put the Golden Gophers back on top, 11-5.
At the plate, Klonowski finished 4-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. On the mound, the senior pitched 4.1 innings, surrendering four earned runs, striking out three and walking four in a no decision start. Divarco was 3-of-5 with an RBI while Mallder was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI as well. Pitchers TJ Schrader and Matt Williams made their debuts, combining for three innings pitched. Schrader was charged with the loss.
The Huskies will return to action Friday, February 21 at the Fuddrucker’s Lobo Invite, when NIU takes on both Missouri State and New Mexico. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., Central time.