NIU baseball set to play ISU at home

By Matt Hopkinson

NIU baseball looks to end its three-game losing-streak as they host Illinois State Tuesday afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field.

This game will serve as the wrap up to an eight game home-stand, in which NIU (8-23, 2-7 MAC) can go to 4-4 or 3-5 on the home-stand, depending on the outcome of the game.

ISU (19-10) comes into the game 2-2 in its last four games, while NIU comes in losing its last three to the tune of a combined 35-13.

NIU coach Ed Mathey said it’s a matter of getting all facets of the game in sync during a nine inning affair.

“When we get the hitting, we don’t get the pitching, and when we get the pitching, we don’t get the hitting,” Mathey said. “We have guys that have done it in the past. It’s not a matter of can they do it, it’s a matter of getting them to do it consistently.”

This game also serves as a break in the MAC action, as the first non-conference competition in a 13 game block, which Mathey said may help relieve some of the stress on the team, if at least for one game.

Mathey said it’s still a big matchup because it’s an intra-state school, which the schools recruit against each other, and knows that some of his players know players on the opposing squad.

Both pitchers and hitters alike will need to step their game up against a tough opponent such as ISU.

Mathey doesn’t want to call it a must win, but knows that a change has to start sooner than later.

“We’ve really got to start playing better consistently,” Mathey said. “If we do that, it’s still in our hands. We’ve got six more conference weekends left and that’s really the important thing when you get down to it.”