The Bartlett baseball team will have to face Michigan-bound pitcher Ryan Nutof at some point during the upcoming 3-game series with rival South Elgin, but Storm coach Jim Kating didn't tip his hand Wednesday as to when.
"I don't know yet," Kating hedged when asked if Nutof will pitch Thursday's game at Bartlett (4:30 p.m.) or in Saturday's doubleheader at South Elgin (10 a.m.). "They'll definitely see him throw, but when depends on a lot of things."
A start in the series opener would keep South Elgin's ace on schedule. He last pitched at Waubonsie Valley on Saturday, when he limited the Warriors to 2 hits in 7 innings of a 2-1 loss in extra innings.
Nutof does not have an earned run average yet. The right-hander is 1-0 in 4 starts and has yet to allow an earned run. He has fanned 40 and issued only 6 walks in 23 innings.
Bartlett (7-8, 6-6 Upstate Eight Valley), a team riding a 3-game winning streak and hitting .289, isn't overly concerned as to when Nutof will pitch.
"We're not worried about who we match up with because it takes the focus away from what we want to do," Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton said. "Up and down the order guys are starting to figure things out."
The Hawks have been led offensively thus far by senior Jake Barrutia (. 419, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 6 RBI), junior catcher Jordan Flint (. 325, 3 doubles, HR, 9 RBI), junior first baseman Michael Pfaender (. 361, 3 doubles, 8 RBI) and senior outfielder Mike Wick (. 346, 3 doubles, 9 RBI).
Bartlett senior Doug VanDyke has been the ace of a staff whose 2.72 ERA rivals South Elgin's 2.67. The Dubuque recruit has struck out 25, walked 9 and has a team-best 1.72 ERA in 20⅓ innings over 6 appearances. He is 2-2 with 1 save.
Bartlett's staff will try to keep the South Elgin offense in its season-long slumber. The Storm enter the series with a record of 6-6 overall, 4-4 in the UEC River, despite a .206 team batting average. Shortstop Dane Toppel is hitting .432 and has scored 12 of his team's 40 runs, but no other regular is hitting over .275.
"That's the issue," Kating said. "The sad part is in the last three or four games we've actually been hitting it pretty solid but right at people. They say those things usually turn around and even out. I'm waiting. I'd like to see us open things up offensively, stay consistent with our pitching and play better defense."