Baseball ready to start MAC play

By Brian Thomas

After winning its last three games, NIU baseball will hit the road for a three-game series starting Friday against MAC opponent Kent State.

This will be the Huskies (5-16) first test against the MAC this season.

“Getting off to a good start would be awesome,” said NIU coach Ed Mathey. “Our thing is to go in there with some focus and play to our level, which we are starting to do pretty good and I think we will like our chances.”

Mathey said the Golden Flashes will be a challenge for the Huskies, as they were picked as the pre-season favorite to win the MAC.

“They are a well coached team,” Mathey said. “They have a couple hitters in the lineup that are very dangerous, for power potential. They generally pitch the ball very well, and their Friday starting pitcher is very good and will probably be drafted very high.”

During its three-game win streak, NIU has started to get back into mid-season form and play their individual games.

In those three games, the Huskies offense stepped up, scoring a total 20 runs, while recording 29 hits.

Jeff Zimmerman and Jordan Huffman each had three RBIs during that stretch, with Zimmerman getting one RBI each game, while Huffman scored his three runs on a bases clearing double.

“I think all of our players are starting to round into their form,” Mathey said. “I think our hitters are starting to show what they are capable of doing, and our guys who can produce runs are starting to drive in those runs, which is always a good thing.”

In order for the Huskies to continue their success against the Golden Flashes, they will need to get strong performances on the mound and play solid defense in the field.

“I think for us, the keys are going to be consistent starting pitching,” Mathey said. “And also, staying on top of our defensive game like we can. We have to make plays on our side of the ball, we can’t give them more outs in an inning than they are entitled to, and if we do that, I really like our chances.”