Spring break holds nine games for NIU baseball

By Matt Hopkinson

Nine games. Eight days. Three states.

That’s what spring break looks like for NIU men’s baseball.

The nine games will mark the end of the 20-game road trip to start the season for the Huskies (0-11), as they will play six different teams in this slate.

NIU coach Ed Mathey is still looking for consistent pitching from the team next week.

“I think I would label two of our last three starts as good, one was close to being good,” Mathey said. “If our guys continue to give us that, it’s going to give us a chance to get some wins. Pitching has always been the biggest factor in the game of baseball.”

The nine-game stretch over spring break will also give the Huskies a chance to take a step back from a double life of student and athlete, and allow them to focus on the game.

“Obviously, having school work is added pressure to everybody,” said NIU pitcher Tony Manville. “You’re not thinking about anything but baseball and just hanging out with the team.”

Manville said NIU is prepared to find a groove, as recent opponents have been able to exploit the team’s weaknesses.

With the extra time away from school, the Huskies also aim to fulfill their goals.

“I think everyone is focusing on the mistakes we’ve made early on and what we can improve on to help the team win,” Manville said.

Mathey said the goals are more internal, but believes better results will come from improved pitching and the main hitters finding their stroke and consistency.

The final four games will be “road games,” but will take place in Illinois, which is a good opportunity, Mathey said.

“That traditionally kind of gets us going for conference games,” Mathey said. “It’s more of a conference feel with the weather and climate. State schools have always been just below the conference level for us in how we play them. For us to go out and play well against them is important.”