Northern Illinois (1-8-1) vs. #5 Oregon St. (10-3) / Goss Stadium / 5:05 PM PST / No TV / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. starts the second weekend series of their 10 game pre-season home stand tonight, hosting Northern Illinois. The Huskies, from De Kalb, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago, and the Mid-American Conference (the "MAC"), are more familiar to most college sports fans for their football team, which posted back to back 12-2 seasons the last years, after posting 11 win seasons the 2 years before that.
Some oldtimers also haven't successfully forgotten that former Oregon St. football head coach Jerry Pettibone came to the Beavers from Northern Illinois as well.
Northern Illinois got their only win of the season last Friday, edging Southern Illinois 1-0. The Salukies struck back on Saturday though, taking 3-1 and 2-1 wins to capture the series.
The Huskies have suffered 3 1 run losses, and 2 by 2 runs, as well as being tied 3-3 with New Mexico after 10 innings when an impending air plane schedule forced the game to be called. However, Northern Illinois has also suffered lopsided 11-5, 12-0, and 11-0 losses.
When Husky pitching is on, they are entirely capable of being competitive. When they run out of pitching, the hitting typically isn't there to survive in a shootout. Northern Illinois is hitting .205 as a team, and has only 1 batter hitting above .300, Brandon Malder, and he's only started 6 games, and even been in 9.
Oregon St. comes in off one of their better performances of the season Tuesday night, albeit against a struggling Portland squad. Still the Beavers hit in the clutch, at least to some degree, pitched well, and played good defense in the 5-0 win. Gabe clark has come to life of late, and brings a 3 game hitting streak into the weekend.
Tonight's starter was scheduled to be sophomore RHP Andrew Moore (1-1, 0-89 ERA), who really hit stride last Friday night, striking out 6 while allowing only 2 hits, and no free passes, to lead Oregon St. to a 7-0 win over Wright St.
However, Moore came down with the flu, and senior LHP Ben Wetzler (1-0, 1.17 ERA), who was originally scheduled to get the start on Sunday, will get the start instead.
Scott Schultz, scheduled to start tomorrow's second game, but normally "available" in case of emergency (he got the save in last Saturday's 1st game before coming back to start the second game), is also not available, down with the flu too.
Whether Moore or Schultz will be well enough to pitch over the weekend remains to be seen.
Northern Illinois will counter with senior RHP Eli Anderson (1-1, 3.38 ERA). Anderson worked into the 8th inning in the Huskies' win last Friday, striking out 8 while allowing 5 hits and 2 walks.
Here's tonight's Oregon St. lineup.
SS - Trever Morrison
2B - Andy Peterson
LF - Michael Conforto
RF - Dylan Davis
1B - Kavin Keyes
DH - Gabe Clark
CF - Michael Howard
3B - Caleb Hamilton
C - Logan Ice
P - Ben Wetzler