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NIU Baseball: BankFirst Challenge Recap

Game 1: Northern Illinois 3, North Florida 6

LHP Brandon Copp got the opening day for the start and really didn't perform as bad as the score indicates.  He gave up 8 hits and only 3 ER out of the 6 along with 3 Ks and 2 BBs.  I also found it interesting that out of the last 2 and 2/3s innings of relief, Freshman RHP Kyle Glancy got the only strikeout in his debut as a Huskie.  The defense didn't help the pitchign staff at all, with 3B Jordin Hood with a fielding error and a throwing error by 1B Dave Reynolds.

Our offense was of a concern, because we didn't have any extra base hits in this game.  3B Jordin Hood had the best game offensively, going 2 for 3 with a BB and a SB.


"Jordin Hood swung the bat well and had a stolen base," Mathey said. "We did ok with the bats and had chances to score more runs, but we also struck out too much. It's just a matter of getting out there more and working through things at this point."

"I thought the bullpen did a good job today," Mathey said. "Zach Oates, Tom Zelasko and Kyle Glancy went out there and gave us a chance to comeback, but we couldn't take advantage of it."


Game 2: Northern Illinois 1, Mississippi State 8

In his debut for the Huskies, Freshman RHP Chris Wakefield was rattled early in the game giving up 6 runs in the first inning.  After that, he was extremely strong not giving up any runs in 4.1 innings.  He also walked 6 and struck out 4.  LHP Dave Reynolds provided some relief after that with 3 Ks and a BB in 1.2 innings.

Our offense struggled again, but 3B Jordin Hood turned out another solid performance going 3 for 3 with a R and an RBI off a solo HR and a HBP.  Freshman 2B Alex Beckman made his debut going 1 for 1 with 3 BB. However, the top 2 players in our lineup (Minogue & Maziur) went 0 for 10 with 8 strikeouts.


"Chris Wakefield went out there and competed," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "They capitalized in the first inning, but then he settled down after that and gave us a good shot to win. He did a nice job overall, especially if you take away the first. He battled through it which was good to see."

"Jordin Hood is seeing the ball well right now," said Mathey. "He has a nice swing and did some good things today. However, we have to get other people to hit around him. If we had everyone hitting like him today, we probably would have two wins right now."

"Offensively, we have some work to do," Mathey said. "We are striking out too much, but we had quite a few opportunities to score. We just couldn't get the hits we were looking for in those situations."


Game 3: Northern Illinois 11, Mississippi State 10

This game was obviously about offense more than defense and the Huskies managed to somehow come out on top of the Bulldogs, who are part of the SEC.  We kept battling back from deficits in this game, capped off by the 7th inning, in which we scored 6 runs to make the score 11-7 in favor of the Huskies.

RHP Andy Deain made his first transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation, going 4.1 IP, with 4 ER, 2 BB and 2 Ks.  RHP Zach Oates took care of the 5th that Deain couldn't finish. 

LHP Tom Zelasko had a very tough time with control, walking 3 and giving up 5 ER with a K.  RHP Kyle Glancy and LHP Dave Reynolds managed to hold on to the last  couple innings to win the game.

Here were the best performers offensively:

3B Jordin Hood (3 for 4 with an RBI, 2 R and a HBP)

3B Troy White (3 for 5, 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R, K)

1B/DH Joe Etcheverry (2 for 3, 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB)

RF/1B Justin Behm (1 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB, K)


"They came back their in the eighth and that was the result of young pitching, but our pitchers battled and did a nice job to get outs in that situation," said Mathey. "Reynolds did a great job for the second day in a row and got us out of a tough jam."

"We told the hitters to be aggressive early in count and they were able to do that which helped give them confidence," Mathey said.


Game 4: North Florida 9, Northern Illinois 3

JC Transfer LHP Chuck Lukanen made his debut starting for the Huskies and had actually had a pretty decent game with 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB and 6 Ks.  Problem was he started off the 3rd inning with a throwing error to 1st base, which would start off an inning that wouldn't end.  SS Marvin Sanchez also had a fielding error which led to 5 unearned runs being scored.

Offensively, we couldn't get any extra-base hits.  DH Nick Morreale went 3 for 4 with an RBI in his debut start. RF Justin Behm was 2 for 4 with 2 runs.  Not much else though.


"I was disappointed with our execution today, especially on defense," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "We struggled with fielding the bunt and didn't get the outs we needed which prolonged innings that led to a grand slam in their big third inning."

"Their ninth hitter got on base there and then we threw away the bunt on the next play," said Mathey. "We then failed to cover first on the next bunt and had a balk on the next bunt attempt to set the tone for the grand slam. Falling behind to good teams isn't a good thing to do and we have to improve in that regard."

"On offense, we didn't get good swings on their pitcher," Mathey said. "It could have been because it was our fourth game in three days or because he was that good. I give them credit for playing a good game, but we also battled and rallied there in the ninth with the bases loaded, nearly bringing the tying run to the plate. I saw some good things this weekend, but it was just not enough to get a few more wins."

Next up: Nationally ranked Oregon State, Arizona State & Mizzouri in Tempe, AZ this Thursday.