Created:Sunday, March 24, 2013 2:12 p.m.CDT

BASEBALL: Anderson's complete-game shutout leads NIU over Kent State


CHICAGO– Junior Eli Anderson hurled a complete game shutout Saturday night versus Kent State, striking out eight and walking three, to lead Northern Illinois (5-15, 1-1 MAC) to a 3-0 victory over Kent State (7-12, 1-1 MAC) at UIC’s Les Miller Field, 3-0. It is the first complete game shutout for the Huskies since April 10, 2011 versus Miami (Ohio), courtesy of Jeremy Gonzales.

“The story of the night is Eli, he did a heck of a job tonight to lead his team victory,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey, “The guys did well defensively behind to hold Kent State and the three runs were enough for the victory tonight against a very good Kent State team. It wasn’t easy in the cold tonight but it was clean game defensively tonight and Eli did a job of battling through the elements.”

Anderson tied a career-high for strikeouts with eight in the contest, last doing so, ironically, at UIC May 2, 2012. He did not allow a hit in his final four innings of work and only allowed one base runner over the final four. The Glenview native found himself in two early jams, loading the bases in the fourth and placing runners on second and third in the fifth.

In the fourth frame with one out and the bases loaded, Anderson fanned both Zarley Zalewski and Cody Koch to end the inning’s scoring threat. In the fifth inning, he forced Evan Campbell to swing on the first pitch and lined him to shallow right field where Landon Tenhagen held the runner from tagging up and scoring. Anderson then struck out George Roberts swinging to end the stanza.

Despite reaching 100 pitches after seven innings of work, Anderson appeared in the eighth inning and only allowed one runner in the frame. With his pitch count at 118 entering the ninth inning, he only threw seven pitches to retire the side in order and earn his second victory of the season and his first complete game of his career. Of his 125 pitches, 78 went for strikes. Northern Illinois has now thrown three complete games this season.

Offensively, Northern Illinois jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Brian Sisler drove home Tommy Hook from second base on a single through the left side.

Hook scored from second base again in the third inning when Alex Klonowsk ripped a ball off the glove of the third baseman that trailed into left field and gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

With Anderson continuing to hold the Golden Flashes at bay through six, the Huskies capitalized and forced Kent State to use its bullpen after a double by Micah McCulloch and two-straight walks. With a full count on him, Hook walked to allow pinch runner Danny Seiton to score NIU’s final run of the game, 3-0.

Klonowski finished the game 2-for-4 in the game with an RBI while Hook finished 1-for-2 with two runs, two walks and an RBI. Due to anticipated weather in Chicago, tomorrow’s series finale with Kent State has been moved noon tomorrow. The game will again be played at Les Miller Field.

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?