The NIU baseball team will reach the height of its fall workouts Tuesday when it hosts the first game of the annual Red/Black Series.
The five-game intrasquad series is an opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate both returning players and newcomers in preparation for the spring season.
Fall practice has proven quite different this year, but it’s not a surprise to head coach Ed Mathey. The skipper welcomed 13 newcomers Sept. 14, the largest group in his nine years with the program.
“I think it’s a little slower in development than the past years, but it’s not unexpected,” Mathey said of his team, who also returns 20 players from last year’s squad. “We have 12 new faces to the program. With getting them accustomed to Division One baseball, the speed of the game and the changes of the game, (the slow development) was expected. We are starting to game some momentum on what our team has a chance to look like. We are still a work in progress.”
With the yearly intrasquad series, Mathey and his staff will get a great chance to speed up the Huskies’ development and make solid evaluations in a realistic setting to shape up roster projections for the spring season.
“(The series) is a good chance to see what type of competitive responses we get from our guys,” said Mathey. “The kids take it serious, the coaches take it serious. We have umpires. It gives us a good indication of what our kids will do in a competitive environment.”
Game One of the series at Ralph McKinzie Field will start at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
After a week off, the series will ramp up with four games in seven days. Game Two will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, with Game Three to be played at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. Game Four, the only weekend game of series, is slated to start 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17. The series will wrap-up on Oct. 20 with first pitch at 3 p.m.
Red roster: Bo Andrews, Zach Badgley, Alex Beckmann, Chris DiVarco, Ben Etcheverry, Jake Hermsen, Alex Klonowski, Tom Kotis, Tony Manville, Brian Riegler, Jordan Rishavy, Connor Schomig, Kevin Sweeney, Tom Zelasko, Jeff Zimmerman.
Black roster: Anthony Andres, Tom Barry, Joe Battaglia, Joe Etcheverry, Brett Frantini, Jeremy Gonzales, Cody Jacobson, Alex Jones, Tom Keating, Cory Krupp, Trey Lang, Zach Oates, Marvin Sanchez, Kevin Smith, Troy White.
For more information on NIU baseball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.