NIU and its struggling pitching have in-state battle

By Chris Jurmann

For the first time in almost two months, the NIU baseball team will have to turn the tide away from a losing streak at 3 p.m. today against Illinois State at Ralph McKinzie Field.

The Huskies (23-17) have lost four out of their last five. The team hasn’t seen a streak of more than two losses in a row since March 10. In that span, they lost two straight only once.

“We’re just having a little bit of bad luck right now,” NIU coach Ed Mathey said. “Against Chicago State we had nobody to blame but ourselves. Then we played Miami [Ohio] and they’re a pretty good club. They are really tough at home.”

Illinois State (15-24) is a good offensive club with a team batting average of .279, but allowed its opponents to bat .296. The Redbird’s ERA is 5.83.

This shouldn’t be a good match for the offensive-minded Huskies who are batting .307 as a team this season.

Despite all the offensive numbers, NIU’s pitching has been at the heart of the team’s losing streak. The Huskies have been allowing an average of seven runs per game in their last five contests.

Mathey said the pitchers can turn it around and end the team’s losing ways.

“I believe our pitchers will rebound and do the job they’re capable of doing,” he said.