Following an NIU career which saw him reach Top 10 career honors in wins and strikeouts, along with First Team All-Mid American Conference honors, 2014 graduate Eli Anderson (Glenview, Illinois/New Trier) signed a contract Tuesday with the Frontier League’s Windy City Thunderbolts, a professional minor league team.
Anderson’s signing comes only days after the Arizona Diamondbacks signed two Thunderbolts pitchers – Markus Solbach and Zak Wasserman. Anderson jumped right into action with the Thunderbolts, making his first professional start on the mound last week against the River City Rascals.
“This is a very happy time for Eli and we’re very proud of his efforts and we wish him all the best,” said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. “He worked very hard for us over the last four years and now he’s getting his chance to pitch professionally and extend his career.”
In his four years as a Huskie, Anderson finished with a a 15-12 record, tied for 10th all-time in program history and had 206 strikeouts, the second most in the NIU annals. In 33 career starts, the former Huskie tossed 266.1 innings and went the distance nine times with a career earned run average of 3.69. He also combined for three shutouts with one complete game shutout.
As a junior in 2013, Anderson was named a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award, given to the Breakout Player of the Year in Division I baseball. That season, Anderson went 9-4 with six complete games, 76 strikeouts, 26 walks with an ERA of 2.18 and walks/hits per inning of 1.10 in 115.1 innings, the most in the Mid-American Conference.
The senior was part of a pitching staff in 2014 that led the Mid-American Conference in ERA with a clip of 2.93 in 27 conference games. NIU posted a 4.23 earned run average during the season, the lowest by Huskie ball club since 1977 under NIU Hall of Fame coach Walt Owens.
Anderson will be the second Huskie pitcher in the Frontier League, joining former Los Angeles Dodgers draft choice Jake Hermsen (2009-2012) who is pitching for the Joliet Slammers.