DEKALB, Ill. — Northern Illinois Huskie Coach Ed Mathey told College Baseball Central on Wednesday, that the baseball team and staff are currently engaging in two hours of skill work each day until the official practices start on Friday Jan. 24.
“We know we are going to deliver when it’s time,” Mathey explained. “But right now we are paying attention to the process. We don’t want the kids to get to excited, so we are stressing the importance of paying attention to our work.”
The start of the college baseball season is less than a month away, and teams are ramping up preparations for the upcoming season. Last year the Huskies finished 22-34 overall with a home record of 7-4, and 14-22 on the road. Their records on neutral fields were 1-8, and in Mid-American conference play finished 16-11.
“I want to make sure the pitching staff is ready to go,” Mathey added.
Mathey was right on point with his concerns given the fact that last year’s pitching staff left a little to be desired. The team ERA was 5.01 over 478 innings pitched, and managed to give up 266 earned runs along with 523 hits, and 225 walks.
“We are going to start things off with putting the guys on the mound, in a competitive environment, with live game time atmosphere,” the 50 year old coaching veteran stated.
The Huskies have a couple of senior pitchers that should take the reins and put this staff back on track to the win columns in Alex Klonowski, who is a two-way threat (playing at second base as well), and Eli Anderson who virtually came out of nowhere last year to lead the Huskies in nearly every relevant pitching category. Both are RHP’s and both are first team All-MAC players.
“Eli is a strike thrower,” Mathey adamantly stated. “He is very efficient and very effective, and his awareness on the mound is superb specifically with holding runners on base. He took the ball and went deep in to the games for us last year. We thought Alex was our best guy. He would have been a starting shortstop, but with his arm being so electric we moved him to second base so we could keep him on the mound. He is a strike thrower as well.”
Mathey has a veteran coaching staff, Tom Carcione (2nd season) carries 10 years of professional playing knowledge and over 10 years of coaching experience in both the professional and college arenas.
“I am real pleased with Tom,” Mathey expressed. “He does a fabulous job and the kids love him.”
Todd Coryell (Pitching coach and recruiting coordinator), instantly made a name for himself when coming on the pitching staff as Northern Illinois lowered its earned run average to 5.01 and led the MAC in complete games at nine.
“Todd has done a great job turning things around on the pitching staff,” Mathey said “Really glad to have him on board.”
Marvin Sanchez (first season, third assistant coach) played for Mathey and Assistant Coach Carcione in his days with the Huskies and is making a name for himself quickly.
“He is a hard worker,” Mathey said. “I’m probably going to be working for him one day at the rate he is going.”
I asked Mathey if there was a game they had circled on the calendar this year.
“Oregon State,” the 27 year coaching veteran pointed out quickly. “We have a four game set coming up with them, and that has the makings of everything. How we respond to those games is what is going to define us as a team.”