Head coach Ed Mathey and the NIU Baseball program added two fresh faces to the program Tuesday as he announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Joe Ceja (Ottawa, Illinois/Heartland CC/Louisville) and lefty Chris DeRue (Lake Villa, Illinois/Lakes/College of Lake County).
Both pitchers will join the program this fall and be eligible to play in spring 2015.
“We’re excited about both of these guys coming in,” Mathey said. “Both Coach Tom Carcione and Coach Todd Coryell did a good job this summer and addressing the things that we thought we could use heading into this upcoming year. We lost a lot of innings in the off-season, and to have two veteran guys who have thrown collegiately is a great thing. Both of these guys are going to look great in a Huskie uniform.”
The 6-5, 240-pound Ceja, a native of Ottawa, Ill,l originally started his college career at Louisville, where he made six appearances as a freshman in 2012.
After redshirting for the Cardinals in 2013, he transferred to Heartland Community College in Normal, where accumulated a 4-1 record in eight starts and nine appearances. After graduating high school, where he was ranked the 123rd MLB prospect in the country by Perfect Game, he was drafted in the 38th round by the Florida Marlins.
DeRue, also a junior college pitcher, is a native of Lake Villa, Ill., and pitched two seasons at College of Lake County. The 6-1, 175-pound hurler had a strong 2013 campaign, making 13 appearances with three starts. He finished with a 4-1 record that season, striking out 41 batters and walking only seven.
He did not finish his sophomore season, however, as he took a line drive off of his leg that ended his season.
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