DEKALB, Ill. — The thing I love about sports—specifically baseball—is that every now and then someone comes out of nowhere and surprises all the so called experts, and in the process stakes a claim to his or her legacy in dramatic fashion.
Northern Illinois University right handed pitcher Eli Anderson, a 21 year old senior has done just that, after basically emerging from the proverbial baseball shadows last year as NIU’s tip of the pitching spear, brandishing a 2.18 ERA, 9 wins, and 76 strikeouts, while leading the conference with 115.1 innings pitched.
College Baseball Central was lucky to get a few minutes on the phone with the over achieving, and new found ace of staff, and the 2013 three time MAC Pitcher of the Week award winner put his 2014 campaign goals on the record.
“Give me the ball and I’m going to go out and do the best of my ability,” Anderson said. “Winning the MAC-West was a great honor. I want to pick up from where I left off last season. I lost my last two starts so I want to redeem myself.”
Anderson is speaking of when he dropped his only complete-game decision at Ball State, losing 3-2 to the Cardinals in Muncie (May 16), and then tossed his last eight innings of the season vs. Bowling Green, allowing four runs in a no-decision (May 22).
“Coach Mathey gave me a generous opportunity,” the 6-foot, 240 pound hurler added. “I am going to go out there and throw my fastball and my slider for strikes, and think as little as possible. I like to just play, don’t over think.”
Practice for nearly every Division 1 college baseball team starts Jan. 24, and the Huskies have been doing skill work up until this point. However, the real deal starts tomorrow.
I asked Anderson how he feels with practice so close.
“My arm feels great,” Anderson explained. “The skill work went great, and we got some important one on ones. I am ready to show these diehard fans.”