Baseball welcomes Milwaukee at home


Northern Star file photo

By Brian Thomas

After being swept by MAC opponent Kent State in its weekend-series, NIU baseball will take a one-game break from conference play and host Milwaukee Tuesday.

“Just like any team, they’re not satisfied with going on the road and not winning a game all weekend,” said NIU coach Ed Mathey of his players. “Kent St. has probably been the best program in the MAC for the last five-to-seven years and playing them on the road at their place is not an easy task.”

To keep the Panthers’ bats quiet, the Huskies will start senior left-handed pitcher Jake Hermsen, who is 0-2 in six appearances this season.

“Jake’s got a pretty live arm,” Mathey said. “His secrets going to be commanding the strike-zone. If he’s in the strike-zone, he has a tendency to be pretty effective.”

NIU (5-21, 0-3 MAC) is looking to get its offense going after not being as effective as it would have liked to over the weekend.

“We need to do a better job swinging the bats,” Mathey said. “For me, we’re striking out too much. We’re not drawing enough walks, so we need to have a little better approach at the plate and we need to continue to work at bat.”

In their three games over the weekend, the Huskies struck out a total of 26 times while drawing six walks.

The Panthers (6-14) are also looking to turn things around as they are in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

“They are a pretty solid ball club,” Mathey said. “They are in the Horizon League, and they play a good schedule. Two years ago, they were Horizon League champions and were in the NCAA tournament, so they are a pretty good program.”

Milwaukee has also had a rough time swinging the bats lately, but Mathey said they wait till after they leave DeKalb to figure it out.

In their last four games, the Panthers have scored a total of five runs, while being shutout in two of them.

“They are kind of going through what we are going through right now,” Mathey said. “We’re just not swinging the bats to our potential and it will come down to who plays to form quicker.”