Baseball squad ranks near top in recruiting

By Brian Hayes

NIU baseball head coach Joe “Spanky” McFarland is thinking spring already.

Why is he doing this, you may ask? According to a recent issue of Collegiate Baseball magazine, the Huskies have one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

The publication ranked the top 64 classes in the country. NIU was ranked 35th. The breakdown by region has NIU in the top six in the Midwest, trailing only Notre Dame, Southern Illinois, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Wichita State. When asked if this was a surprise, McFarland said it was a pleasant one.

“I knew it was a good group, but this came as a pleasant surprise. We are ranked a little bit higher than last year’s class and it shows that people are starting to take NIU seriously,” said McFarland.

The recruiting class includes a transfer from a four-year college, a junior college transfer and seven high school freshmen.

Right-handed pitcher David Dutton is a former Creighton University Bluejay. Infielder Brian Ludden comes to NIU by way of Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. Infielder Jason Schwab (Warren Township), infielder-outfielder Jim Bach (Lane Tech), third baseman J.C. Holmes (Burlington Central, Wis.), left-handed pitcher Jeremy Bergman (DeKalb), infielder-outfielder Mark Henry (Whitnall, Wis.), right-handed pitcher Dave Markusic (Sandburg) and catcher Brian Cygan (Oak Forest) round out the new Huskies.

The recognition is a great attribute not only to the players, but to McFarland and his staff as well when you consider how much of a game recruiting is in itself.