In the final Mid-American Conference series of the regular season, the Huskies’ hopes of qualifying for the conference tournament are on the line against Western Michigan, but NIU will also need some help from two other foes. In order to make the postseason, the Huskies must sweep the three-game set against the Broncos, have Miami (Ohio) get swept at home versus Ohio (13-11), and have Buffalo lose one game at Bowling Green (15-9). Miami (10-14) stands one game ahead of NIU in the eighth, and final, spot of the tournament and owns the tiebreaker over the Huskies after taking two of three in Oxford April 9-11, while Buffalo (9-15) is tied with NIU for ninth and owns the tiebreaker over the Huskies after winning the head-to-head series 2-1 in DeKalb April 2-4.
Additionally, the series finale will mark the last regular season game for NIU and the final contest at home as Huskies for seniors Joe Buonavolanto, Andy Deain, Jordin Hood, Sam Kapacinskas, Chuck Lukanen, Dave Reynolds and Brian Smith, who all will be honored on Saturday’s “Senior Day” with a pre-game ceremony.
The Huskies enter the series fresh off a 21-6 drubbing of Milwaukee Tuesday at Ralph McKinzie Field to finish non-conference midweek play with an 8-4 record. NIU is 8-7 at “The Ralph” this season and has won six of its last nine games at home. The Broncos head into the set after falling 6-1 at Illinois Tuesday, and like the Huskies, were swept in last weekend’s conference series, losing at Central Michigan.
The AccuWeather.com forecast for the series calls for a mostly sunny, 71-degree Thursday, cloudy, 71 Friday, and mostly sunny, 77 Saturday.
The Match-Ups: Northern Illinois (21-31, 9-15 MAC) vs. Western Michigan (12-38, 5-19 MAC)
Date(s): Thurs., May 20 @ 3:05 p.m. CST; Fri., May 21 @ 3:05 p.m.; Sat., May 22 @ 1:05 p.m.
Location: Ralph McKinzie Field | DeKalb, Ill.
Coverage: GameTracker on niuhuskies.com