Baseball looks to take Milwaukee

By Brian Earle

Baseball has been on a tear and will look to continue that strong play today in a mid-week matchup against Illinois State.

In the Huskies’ (11-18) last 10 games, they have gone 7-3 overall and won their last two conference series against Akron and Central Michigan.

“The defensive side of the ball, if that remains consistent, you always have a chance in games,” said coach Ed Mathey. “And that includes pitching. Our bats are starting to warm up a little bit. If we can continue to be opportunistic with the bats and get runners on base and drive them in, I think we’ve got a good shot.”

For their mid-week game, the Huskies will once again turn to freshman Bobby Kuntzendorf, who earned his first collegiate victory Wednesday with a victory over Milwaukee.

In that start, Kuntzendorf was on a pitch count and pitched four innings, giving up one earned run on hit and two walks while striking out three batters. Mathey expects to see similar results from the freshman.

“Hopefully he kind of duplicates that,” Mathey said. “He was effective in the strike zone, we would just like to see him get there a little earlier in the game. I think innings two though four he settled down really well last week. If he can settle in right away that’s going to be a plus for us.”

Offensively, the Huskies’ bats have started to wake up as the season has gone on. Juniors Alex Klonowski and Jeff Zimmerman have made solid contributions, as they are No. 1 and No. 2 on the team in hits. Zimmerman leads the team with 38 hits while Klonowski has recorded 33 base knocks.

“We’ve got guys that we feel are good hitters in college and they were just pressing a little bit early,” Mathey said. “… We felt that if the law of averages started to play out, we’d start to hit a stride and have a pretty good second half because the first half wasn’t that good.”

As for the Redbirds (14-15), they come into their matchup with the Huskies following a series against Missouri State in which they won two out of three games.

“Missouri State has a couple of top pitchers and they [Illinois State] wound up beating them,” Mathey said. “… They are going to be throwing some midweek guys, too, so it’s going to be how their mid-week guys match up against our mid-week guys, and from there it’s going to be who can swing the bats better, and hopefully we outhit them.”