Northern Illinois starting pitcher Jeremy Gonzales was named Mid-American Conference West Division Co-Pitcher of the Week, the league announced Monday.
To earn the honor for the first time in his career, Gonzales was flat-out dominant in a 2-0 win over Miami (Ohio) on Sunday, which gave NIU a 2-1 series win over Miami (Ohio) at home, the Huskies’ second MAC series win in a row. The senior put together his first career complete game shutout and third career complete game as he allowed just three hits and struck out seven, tying his season high.
“(Jeremy) pitched a gem out there; it was a pitcher’s day, but Jeremy has seemed to make Sundays a pitcher’s day for a while now,” said NIU head coach Ed Mathey, who has had 14 pitchers and 14 hitters take home a MAC weekly award since 2003. “He challenged Miami to hit the baseball; he was in the strike zone all day. He kept his pitch count down early in the game, which enabled him to finish the game. It was a strong outing for us.”
Furthermore, the Bakersfield, Calif., native had a perfect game through 5.2 innings, retired the side in order in all but the sixth, eighth and ninth innings, and allowed only one base runner to reach second base. His no-walk performance is the first for NIU since 2007. He only went to a full count four times in the 30 batters he faced and 109 pitches thrown, 73 for strikes, en route to becoming the fifth Huskie, and second in as many weeks, to garner a weekly MAC accolade.
Gonzales’ third win in a row gave him his fourth overall on the season, tying his win total from last year. While improving to 4-4 on the season, he also extended his scoreless innings streak to 25.2, most of which has come in league play. In MAC starts this season, the conference’s hottest hurler is 3-0 and has yet to allow a run. In 24 MAC innings, Gonzales has given up just 11 hits and five walks with 18 strikeouts and has held hitters to a measly .136 batting average.
“As I talked to Jeremy afterwards, he was just happy that he was able to help us get the series win,” Mathey said. “I like when guys are concerned about the team and that can be contagious. He’s put up goose eggs in four of his last five starts. He’s done a six inning job, seven inning job, eight inning job and now nine inning job. Hopefully next time out it won’t take him 10 innings. I’ve been here for nine years and I don’t recall a starting pitcher being on a scoreless streak quite like this. I hope he keeps continues to have this approach. I hope he continues to work diligently in his bullpen sessions. And knowing Jeremy, he’s going to. I’m very happy for Jeremy and very proud of him.”
Sharing the honor with Gonzales is Western Michigan’s Brian Stroud, who earned a 5-1 win over Ohio after allowing four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in a complete game effort.
The Huskies return to action at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, as they travel to Illinois State for a non-conference game.