Baseball ready for regional challenge

By Brian Earle

Baseball will take a break from its conference schedule when it hits the road for two midweek games against UIC at 7:05 p.m. today and Northwestern at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Huskies (13-29-1) have been playing better baseball of late, winning four of their last five contests, including a 3-2 victory over Milwaukee in their last midweek game. In midweek games this season, the Huskies have a record of 4-4, losing three of those games to Bradley.

Infielders Brian Sisler and Justin Fletcher have continued to lead the Huskies offensively this season. Sisler is hitting .299 while Fletcher has posted a batting average of .291, leading the team with 48 hits.

The Flames (17-19) have also turned things around, as they snapped their five-game losing streak over the weekend by sweeping Valparaiso in a three-game series.

They have solidified themselves as one of the top offensive teams in college baseball this season, ranking No. 10 in team batting average with a mark of .309. They also rank No. 10 in runs scored, scoring 7.2 runs per game.

The Huskies and Flames met once earlier this season, resulting in an 8-7 comeback victory for the Huskies. After surrendering the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Huskies rallied back in the ninth inning for five runs and the victory, highlighted by outfielder Landon Tenhagen’s three-run home run.

In the first matchup, the Huskies started pitcher Anthony Andres on the mound. He threw two perfect innings, not allowing a run, hit or walk while recording no strikeouts. With Andres locked into the Huskies’ starting pitching rotation every Friday, the Huskies will likely turn to freshman pitcher Andrew Frankenreider to start against the Flames.

Frankenreider has mostly worked out of the bullpen this season, making 17 appearances with one start against Cal Poly. In his lone start, Frankenreider lasted 2.1 innings while giving up four runs on five hits and two walks.

As for the Wildcats (12-28), they have struggled this season and are coming off a three-game series in which they were swept at the hands of Michigan State.

They have been led at the plate this season by freshman outfielder Matt Hopfner, who has a team-high .353 batting average. He has recorded a team-high 53 hits and scored 22 runs while driving in 20 RBIs.