DeKALB, IL The Northern Illinois University baseball team completes the 2021 home table this weekend, hosting the Toledo Rockets for a Mid-American Conference series of four games starting Friday at 2 p.m. at Ralph McKinzie Field
On Saturday the Huskies and Rockets will play a double header with seven innings from 12 noon. The series finale on Sunday will take place at 12 noon.
Before the game on Sunday, the NIU will honor its seniors from classes 2020 and 2021. This group won 78 games during their time in DeKalb and was significantly involved in the Huskies run for the 2019 MAC tournament. Outfielder Brendan Joyce (South Elgin, Illinois / Parkland College) led the team with a batting average of 0.298 this season. Pitcher Ryan Anderson (Palatine, Ill./McHenry CC) was second on the team with an average earned run of 4.18. Nate Thomas (South Bend, Ind./Mishawaka Marian) had four wins and five saves from the bullpen this year.
Jake Dunham (Plainfield, Illinois / Plainfield North) led the Huskies in 2019 with four home runs and was second in the RBI team with 43. The senior catcher has made an indelible mark on DeKalb in his five seasons on the NIU baseball record book. Dunham is the top Huskies runner at 135 over the weekend, including a record of 43 in a 2019 season. He is second of all time in games that started at 216 and third of all time in games that started at 220 were. Dunham also has a record 84 stealing from behind the plate.
NIU (14-32, 13-19 MAC) goes into their last home series with two wins and wins the last two games of the series last weekend in Eastern Michigan with 5-3 and 8-5. Jordan Larson (Dodgeville, Wisconsin / College of DuPage), senior first baseman, took two runs in both Huskies wins against the Eagles and scored .357 in the four games.
The Huskies have played 7-5 in the last 12 games, played three of four games against Akron and split series against Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Dunham scores on this current route with three home runs and nine RBI .450. Larson has also ridden nine times in the last 12 games with Kam Smith (Colonial Beach, Virginia / The Steward School) and Dylan Lonteen (Peoria, Illinois / Illinois Central College).
This weekend’s series features the two best MAC home run hitters this season. Smith is second in the league with nine home runs, behind only Toledo’s Chris Meyers, who is at the top of the MAC at 15. Meyers also leads the conference with 53 RBI and 16 doubles. The Rockets are fourth in the league at 18-14 after winning four of their last five games. Toledo won three of four games against Bowling Green last weekend, beating Eastern Michigan 16-10 on Tuesday night.
Due to COVID restrictions, attendance at Ralph McKinzie Field is currently limited to 165 fans. Entry is permitted in a first general admission procedure through the north gate on the first base side of the field. The north gate opens 30 minutes before the first pitch every day. NIU Athletics reserves the right to reserve some playgrounds for parents of NIU baseball athletes if required on game day. Masks must be worn and self-monitored social distancing is required at Ralph McKinzie Field.
Every game this weekend will be shown on NIUTube on NIUHuskies.com, the Huskie all-access channel. Subscriptions can be purchased daily ($ 6.95), monthly ($ 10.95), or annually and provide access to all NIU Athletics home events streamed on the website during the purchase period. Live statistics on each game will also be available on NIUHuskies.com.