Baseball hosts Bowling Green

By Steve Brown

Ed Mathey sees the difference between this year’s NIU baseball team and last year’s.

Last year, the team had veteran pitchers who often relied on strikeouts.

This season, two of the top three starting pitchers are freshman who rely on ground balls.

“For the young guys, they’re getting the ground balls we need, but we don’t always make the plays,” the third-year NIU coach said. “And when that happens, they feel like they need to do more to compensate.”

And so, to compensate for NIU’s fielding, which is ranked the lowest in the MAC, Mathey stressed defense at practice Thursday in preparation for today’s home game against Bowling Green.

The Huskies (8-20, 0-6 MAC) will search for their first MAC win in the first of a three-game series today as Nick Hall takes the mound at 3 p.m.

“We’ve got to amass some wins,” Mathey said. “We’ve got our backs against the wall, but we’ve still got time.”

At Thursday’s practice, which was the first official outdoor practice the team had been able to have in more than two weeks, Mathey had the starters play the field while the reserves came to bat.

“Had we been playing the defensive side of the ball, you’re talking six to eight more wins,” Mathey said. “But, we didn’t make those plays.”

The Falcons come into DeKalb having won eight of their last 11 games, most recently falling 14-2 at Notre Dame Tuesday.