By Matt Scheerer on August 19, 2013 5:09 PM
Photo by @NWLBaseball (Northwoods Baseball League Twitter)
It started with a Mid-American Conference West Division Championship last spring. Now, members of the Northern Illinois baseball team have found success on their summer baseball teams in the Northwoods League.
Relief pitchers Anthony Andres and Ben Neumann both played their collegiate summer baseball in the Northwoods League and in the state of Wisconsin as Andres played for the Eau Claire Express and Neumann with his hometown Madison Mallards.
Andres, who finished his the 2013 campaign at NIU with a 3.86 earned run average in 30.1 innings of relief for the Huskies. The senior to be made his Northwoods League debut on June 28 at Wisconsin Rapids and surrendered a home run in his first pitch, followed by three more runs and five hits in 0.2 innings of work. Andres would follow with 26-straight scoreless innings of baseball for the Express. To read more on Andres' impressive run, click here.
Neumann, a junior from Verona, Wis., was one of the Mallards most-consistent pitchers in 2013 as he made 20 appearances in relief with 36.2 innings of work. He finished the year with a 1.96 ERA, a 3-2 record, 27 strikeouts and 10 walks. While statistically Neumann's season was a success, his team followed that same path of success as it won its first Northwoods League World Series since 2004 as it defeated the Dulth Huskies 2-0 in the best of three series. To read more about the Madison Mallards win, click here.
Both players return to Northern Illinois for its 2014 campaign, set to begin mid-February.
By Matt Scheerer on June 27, 2013 11:25 AM
Anyone who follows Northern Illinois baseball closely knows that Jeff Zimmerman was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 19th round earlier this month. Zimmerman signed a professional contract with the Mariners June 13, five days after he was drafted, and was assigned to their Rookie affiliate in the Appalachian League, the Pulaski Mariners after workouts with extended spring training camp players.
Through five games, Zimmerman is second on the team in batting average amongst players with 15-or-more at bats this season at .300 and leads the squad in RBI (5), runs (5) and home runs (2). He also has 12 total bases this season, the second-most on the team.
Zimmerman made his professional debut June 21st at the Burlington Royals, starting at first base and batting in the seven hole. Though he did not record a hit in his three at-bats, his glove made a difference in the game as he helped turn two double plays to aid in the starting pitching performance of 16-year old Brazilian Luiz Gohara, also making his professional debut (4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K).
Two nights later, the NIU product recorded his first career hit and scored the first run of his career in the Mariners home-opener against the Bluefield Bluejays. Zimmerman finished 2-for-5 with a run to his credit. In the series finale June 25, he again recorded two hits and run, this time finishing 2-for-4 and driving in his first career run, a two out RBI single.
Last night against the Danville Braves however, Zimmerman had the biggest night of his professional career. While he finished the game 2-for-5 again, he smashed two home runs with four RBI and three runs, including a three-run homer to right centerfield in the eighth inning with two outs to lead a comeback for Pulaski over Danville, 12-6. Teammate Luke Guarnaccia hit a first pitch grand slam to score Zimmerman in the seventh.
Only seven games into the season, the Mariners are 3-4 and will have their first day off of the season July 2. Game two of the series with Danville will begin tonight at 7 p.m. All home games and select road games can be followed on here.
Follow Zimmerman's progress this season on PulaskiMariners.com. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook by liking "Pulaski Mariners" and on Twitter @PulaskiMariner.
Track & Field: NIU took 11th place at the MAC Outdoor Championships over the weekend. Janay Mitchell accounted for eight team points by finishing third in the 100 meters and seventh in the 200 meters. Meanwhile, Sidra Sherrill (shot put), Natalie Tarter (heptathlon) and Jamie Burr (800 meters) also scored points for the Huskies.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois closed out their regular season over the weekend with a busy three meet schedule. At the Penn Relays, the Huskies got a MAC auto bid from Sidra Sherrill in the shot put, while Janay Mitchell solidified her spot in the 100 meters. Meanwhile, NIU got strong showings at West Chester and UW-Whitewater.
Men's Tennis: Northern Illinois saw their season come to an end as they hosted the 2013 MAC tournament. The Huskies advanced to their first title match since 2004 when they upset No. 1 Ball State, 4-2, Friday. Their run ended Saturday, though, when they fell to Western Michigan, 4-3.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois dominated the competition at the Huskie Open with nine event titles. Megan Gregory (100 hurdles, 200 meters), Janay Mitchell (100 meters), Ida Burbulla (high jump), Sidra Sherrill (shot put), Alex Schad (long jump) all earned wins, along with the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. Out west at the Beach Invitational, Meghan Heuer earned an automatic bid to MACs in the 800 meters.
Men's Tennis: Northern Illinois closed out their regular season Sunday with a big 4-3 win over Buffalo. The win helped secure NIU a spot in next weekend's MAC Championships, which the Huskies host.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois took third place at the Chicagoland Championships in Romeoville, Ill. Natalie Tarter, Sidra Sherrill and Megan Gregory each claimed event titles for the Huskies, while Tarter's 4,206 points in the heptathlon set a new school record.
By Michael Benson on April 1, 2013 11:09 AM
Baseball: The Huskies moved to 4-2 in MAC play this weekend with a three-game sweep of Akron in Avon, Ohio. The series began Friday with a tight 4-3 win courtesy of two runs in the top of the ninth. NIU got another one-run win Saturday with a 2-1 win behind Eli Anderson's complete game performance. Northern got the sweep on Sunday by crushing the Zips, 14-4.
Track & Field: Northern Illinois had several strong performances over the weekend at the Texas Relays and Raleigh Relays. Megan Gregory and Meghan Heuer each clinched MAC automatic qualifying marks to highlight the split-squad weekend.
Track & Field: The Huskies kicked off their outdoor season Friday in Tampa, Fla., with several quality performances. Meghan Heuer won the 1500 meters, while 10 different individuals combined for 14 top 10 finishes.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois dominated their Senior Night showdown with Eastern Michigan, winning 194.775-192.550. Megan Melendez, Jaelyn Olson, Kim Gotlund and Natalie Sutter all won individual honors on the night.
Baseball: Northern Illinois went 1-2 at Minnesota's Dairy Queen Classic with all three contests coming down to the last inning. In Friday's tournament lid-lifter, the Huskies fell to Utah, 6-1. On Saturday afternoon, NIU and Dartmouth were locked in a pitchers' duel, but it was the Big Green who came away with a 1-0 win. In the tournament finale, Alex Klonowski's complete game two-hitter lifted the Huskies to a 2-1 win over the host Golden Gophers.
Softball: NIU split their Sunday doubleheader in Carbondale, Ill., as part of Southern Illinois' Coach B Classic. In the first game, the Huskies squeaked out a 3-2 win against Butler, but lost in extras to Saint Louis in the second game.
Wrestling: The Huskies capped their MAC slate on a positive note, defeating Buffalo, 20-18. Nick Smith, Rob Jillard, Andrew Morse and Matt Mougin got wins for NIU early before Jared Torrence won the meet with an overtime decision at heavyweight.
Gymnastics: Northern Illinois recorded a season-best score for the second consecutive meet, but it was not enough in a 195.175-194.375 loss at Iowa State. Kim Gotlund posted career-best scores on the balance beam and uneven bars.
Men's Golf: NIU opened their spring season Monday and Tuesday with a fourth place finish at the MAC Match Play in Dade City, Fla. After upsetting second-seeded Akron in the first round, the Huskies lost to eventual champion Bowling Green to close out Monday. On Tuesday, Northern dropped a tight contest against Eastern Michigan in the third-place match.
By Michael Benson on September 18, 2012 11:03 AM
baseball great Scott Simon (2003-07) is being inducted into Athletic Hall of
Fame at his alma mater Marian Central Catholic and will be honored Friday night
during the school's football game with Immaculate Conception at 7 p.m.
Simon, a native of
Algonquin, Ill., is Northern Illinois' all-time leader in hits with 318 and
held the Mid-American Conference's record until the 2012 season when Kent
State's Jimmy Rider broke the record. He also owns the NIU doubles record.
During his career
for the Huskies, Simon was twice named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list
and was a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Earning All-MAC honors
in 2003, as well as Freshman All-America status, he was also a twice named to
the Mid-American Conference's All-Academic team.
Prior to NIIU he
was the Suburban Catholic League and Northwest Herald Player of the Year during
his senior year, when he hit for .536 with six home runs, striking out only
five times as the team's captain.
To read more about
the Marian Central Catholic Hall of Fame Class, click here.
By Matt Scheerer on August 3, 2012 10:21 AM
Nearly two months after he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, former Northern Illinois hurler Jake Hermsen earned his first career minor league victory for the Ogden Raptors in his five-inning, four strikeout, shutout performance. The Raptors went on to defeat the Idaho Falls Chukars, 4-1, for the team's second-straight win, following a three-game losing streak.
Hermsen, a native of New London, Wis., finished the first half of the season seventh in the league in earned run average with an impressive 3.97 clip and boosted himself to sixth after last night's performance (3.46).
By Matt Scheerer on July 16, 2012 6:54 PM
As you may recall, former Huskie Jake Hermsen became the first NIU baseball player drafted by a Major League Baseball club since 2008 on June 6th. Since then, Hermsen has made five appearances and starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie League affiliate, Ogden Raptors.
The New London, Wis., native currently owns an 0-2 record and has pitched 24.1 innings this season. However, his record on the mound is not what's turning heads thus far into his Minor League Baseball career.
Hermsen was drafted in the 28th round by the Dodgers (866th overall) this season, becoming the first Huskie drafted since Bobby Stevens (Baltimore Oriorles, 16th round) and Trevor Feeney (Detroit Tigers, 31st round) were drafted in the 2008 MLB Draft.
Which leads to a perfect segway into the second half of this Huskies Happening.
After being released by the Baltimore High-A club Fredrick Keys, he was signed by the Lynchburg Hillcats in the same league (Carolina) and has made 14 appearances this season for the team. At the plate he is batting .167 with a home run and five RBI, however, he is batting a combined .246 with his four combined teams during the 2012 season. In his 12 games in the outfield, he has eight putouts and three assists in 12 chances (1 error, .917 fielding percentage).
By Matt Scheerer on March 21, 2012 10:43 AM
Jamison Wells stole his 14th base of the season against UIC Tuesday afternoon
Northern Illinois won its home opener Tuesday afternoon against Illinois-Chicago, 8-6, largely in part to a six run second inning. Northern Illinois tacked on two runs in the fourth inning and hit a walloping 13-for-33 (.393) against UIC.
All things considered, I think it was a successful opening day. A good crowd of students, parents and fans came out to Ralph McKinzie Field to support the Huskie baseball team under the sunny 80 degree sky... In March. In fact, it was actually warmer in DeKalb yesterday (83 degrees) than it was in Phoenix, Ariz. (66 degrees). It was a beautiful thing.
Aside from a good crowd in the stands, there was a good crowd in the press box as well to cover the Huskies. Check out some of the links from yesterday's game and another from Saturday afternoon's win against Southern Illinois, the start of NIU's three-game win streak.
NIUHuskies.com - TIMELY AND CONSISTENT HITTING CARRIES HUSKIES OVER FLAMES
By Matt Scheerer on March 1, 2012 3:03 PM
To fans of baseball there are two words that will always bring a smile to their faces - spring training. It marks the start of the new season. It reminds us of sunshine, the smell of the fresh cut grass and the sound of leather smacking together around rawhide.
For over a century, baseball teams have traveled southbound to get out of the rain, cold and snow to work out the kinks and prepare for the long season's grind in warmer climates. Whether its black and white photos of players in hawaiian shirts, or fictional stories of Walter Matthau's character Morris Buttermaker striking out Ted Williams a la Bad News Bears, fans can't help but smile or be nostalgic over spring training.
After opening the season at Tennessee, the Northern Illinois baseball team is on their longest road stretch of the season, having just concluded a four-game trip in Lubbock, Texas. The team traveled straight from Texas Tech to Surprise, Ariz. for a four-day stretch at the Coca Cola Classic, where the Huskies will meet Arizona State, Oregon State, St. Mary's (Calif.) and Winthrop. (click here for game notes)
First record of the Huskies heading south was in 1951 on a trip to Mississippi and then to Memphis, under then-Head Coach Ralph McKinzie's steady watch. From that year on NIU went almost annually to Louisiana or Mississippi to open its season, generally at the end of march. The '51, enshrined in the Huskie Athletics Hall of Fame, finished the trip down South 3-2 and finished 11-6, en route to the IIAC Championship.
The document in the gallery (the last photo) is a travel itinerary from the team's trip in 1965, where they traveled by train on the Illinois Central's Panama Limited line to Hammond, La., to play at LSU and Southeastern Louisiana.
The itinerary shows the team stayed at Strawberry Stadium on the campus of the Southeastern Louisiana for the first two nights of the trip, before leaving Hammond for New Orleans to play Loyola (La.). The itinerary also shows the team ate in each school's respective cafeteria for meals during the trip.
The photos caught my eye at first because of the old cars parked in front of the stadium, mostly 50's era automobiles. Not to mention a big, giant brick wall that read "Strawberry Stadium" on its backside. The stadium, erected in 1936, is still home to the Lions, but has since been renovated. And of course, the rest and relaxation photos of players laying in the grass and working on their Illinois tan was funny as well.
For fun, Google the stadium and compare the press box in 1962 to today... Drastic changes! The stadium is but a mere shadow of its former self in many respects.
With the advent of flying from location-to-location in today's world, its hard to imagine teams traveling by train for a long haul trip to play baseball. But, those were the times and I'm sure the trip resonated or still resonates to the guys on the trip. As skipper Ed Mathey said about this year's trip, "It's a day the kids won't soon forget."
Like I said earlier, spring training will always bring a smile to a baseball fan's face. It inspired me to write this posting and share some of the goodies from the archives, along with highlights from yesterday's big day for the Northern Illinois baseball team at Camelback Ranch.
I'd like to close by once again giving a big thank to the Chicago White Sox organization for providing us with video, publicizing us on their website and of course for letting us practice at the facility.