Northern Illinois catcher Nate Ruzich (Joliet, Ill./South Suburban College) was named the Mid-American Conference’s West Division Player of the Week in the conference’s final weekly award.
Ruzich earned his first career honor with strong play behind the dish and at the plate. The award is the Huskies second player of the week award this season and sixth overall including pitcher of the week.
The junior finished 5-for-12 (.417) with four RBI, two runs, three walks and a hit by pitch at the plate last week for a .529 on-base percentage. His biggest contribution for the Huskies last week was his play behind the dish, leading, controlling and setting a tone for the Huskies defensively at Ball State last Saturday.
Though he had four putouts in Saturday’s MAC West Divisional Championship victory against the Cardinals, Ruzich had two crucial putouts at home plate – making the out on a suicide squeeze bunt, which turned into a 3-2-1-3 double play, and another on a single to center field as Jamison Wells threw the runner out as Ruzich blocked the plate to tag the runner out. Both runs would have tied the game.
The player of the week award is Northern Illinois’ first since Alex Klonowski earned the distinction April 1 en route to the Huskies sweeping the weekly award as Eli Anderson earned pitcher of the week as well.