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NIU Baseball: DeMarini Invitational Recap

L - Oregon State 23 (2-1), Northern Illinois 7 (1-4)

There wasn't too many positives to take from this blowout.  Opening day starter LHP Brandon Copp finished the first inning, but gave up 9 earned runs in the process, causing him to get pulled.  RHP Zach Oates pitched well in the 2nd striking out 2 and not giving up any ERs.  After that, Hermsen, Kapacinskas and Z. Badgley failed to have productive innings.

Every run in this game was earned and we gave up 16 walks throughout the entire game.

Offensively, freshman 3B Troy White was spectacular going 4 for 4 with 3 RBIs and a walk.  RF Justin Behm walked twice and scored two runs.  C Brett Frantini drove in 2 runs with a single in his debut and DH Joe Etcheverry drove in a couple guys with a two-bagger.


"It's a real difficult situation when you have guys with the ball in their hand that can't find the strike-zone," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. You will find yourself in trouble in you can't throw strikes against any team, let alone the two-time national champs. They absolutely took advantage of it today."


"Troy had a great day at the plate and also made some good defensive plays," Mathey said. "He started a couple double-plays and also made a nice backhand play.

"I thought Zach Oates (Wheaton, Ill./North) threw the ball well, too. We have to go back to the drawing board tomorrow and get things done. It starts on the mound because we didn't have a chance today."


L - Northern Illinois 1 (1-5), #8 Arizona State 6 (7-0)

This game was important because we didn't get dragged across the baseball diamond against the only sure-fire top-10 team that we faced this weekend.  We definitely stepped it up against one of the premiere teams in the nation.

Freshman RHP Chris Wakefield ate up 5 innings giving up 4 in the third.  The bullpen was phenominal with Oates, Zelasko & Glancy giving up zero runs and 1 hit with 3 Ks.

Defense was suspect in the 3rd inning with Freshman 3B Troy White throwing the ball away and Behm having a tough time adjusting to LF. C Matt Behren was a beast behind home plate, throwing out 4 runners who were trying to steal bases.

There wasn't too much to shake about offensively.  1B Dave Reynolds was 2 for 4.  LF Justin Behm was 1 for 3 and had the only walk of the game.  We did out-hit the Sun Devils 8-7 in this game, but left 9 Huskies on base.


On the pitching

"I thought our pitchers did a great job of bouncing back from yesterday," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "Chris Wakefield did a pretty nice job especially with the errors that were committed behind him. When you give a team extra outs it will come back to cost you, let alone a team like Arizona state. It puts more pressure on the rest of the game.

"If the bullpen can continue to do that, it bodes well for our team," said Mathey. "With our starters still on pitch counts right now, if they can throw the way they are, it will help us out a lot as our pitchers build up their pitch counts. I was very happy with the way they competed tonight."

On the offense

"Offensively, we had opportunities but didn't get the big hits when we needed them. They are an efficient baseball team that throws strikes and makes plays. We are working toward becoming an efficient team."

"Matt had a nice game," Mathey said. "He called a great game and did a nice job of taming a fast team on the base paths. He also drove in our only run."


W - Northern Illinois 5 (2-5), #15 Missouri 2 (1-7)

In an all-around team effort, the Huskies were able to take down the Tigers who were ranked #15 by Baseball America coming in to the contest.  It's the first victory we've had over a ranked team since 2001.

RHP Andy Deain was absolutely AMAZING in this game pitched 6 innings and gave up 6 hits, 1 ER, 5 Ks and a BB.  He has taken this starter's role in stride coming from the bullpen.  Zelasko and Oates took care of middle-relief and LHP Dave Reynolds solidified the closing spot with 2 Ks in the final 1.1 innings.

LF Jordin Hood went 3 for 2 with 2 doubles, an RBI, a R, a HBP and a SB.  Before he recorded the save, Reynolds went 3 for 4 with 2 runs and no SO's.  3B Troy White continues to impress as he went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.


"The big thing is that we are working ourselves closer to being a good baseball team," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "If you go out and play an early schedule like this and execute against teams like this, it helps in the long run. It's a good win and hopefully we can parlay that into a win against Oregon State tomorrow."

On the pitching

"The pitchers did a great job today of throwing in the zone and challenging hitters," Mathey said. "They were able to hang in there and compete despite some errors being made in the field. They made up for the mistakes on the mound.

"Deain worked hard in the first inning on a tough error that added pitches to his pitch count," said Mathey. "He did a great job of establishing pace and throwing strikes. Tom, Zach and Dave also did a great job for the second game in a row. It was outstanding to get that type of performance from our pitchers."

On the offense

"We also had 12 hits at the plate which was good to see," said Mathey. "Alex Beckmann did a great job in the lead off spot, working the count and setting the table for the rest of the guys. It was a good win for us against a Big 12 team that was a preseason pick to go far in the NCAA tournament."


L - Northern Illinois 1 (2-6), Oregon State 2 (4-2)

JC Transfer LHP Chuck Lukanen gave it all he had in this competitive game which turned out to be a pitcher's duel.  He went 4.1 IP, gave up 3 H and 2 ER while walking 4 with 3 Ks. RHP Nick Badgley came in and got us out of a bases loaded situation in the 5th after Lukanen had given up his runs.

The bullpen for this team continues to not give up runs as N. Badgley, Kyle Glancy and Tom Zelasko kept us in the game.  They only gave up 1 hit in 3.2 IP.

It's just that our offense couldn't get it done when we needed runs the worst.  1B Dave Reynolds did his part going 2 for 3 with a BB.  LF Jordin Hood scored the first run of the game off a double.  He then stole 3rd base when C Matt Behren hit him in with another double in the 3rd.  There were numerous opportunities for our offense to take advantage of the runners that we put in to scoring position, but that didn't end up happening.

The 9th inning was the most interesting of the game:

1B Dave Reynolds started it off with a single.  Sluggers Behm and Behren consequently struck out.  Now we're down to 2 outs.  DH Joe Etcheverry and 3B Troy White walk to load the bases.  The last person we trot out there is freshman SS Alex Jones, the last person in our starting lineup.  He eventually strikes out, but the Huskies put up a great fight in this one.


On the end of the game

"Alex Jones did a great job at short stop today and earned that at-bat, unfortunately it didn't go our way," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "We did a nice job in the inning and if he gets that hit, we score two runs and go into the bottom of the ninth looking to close out a win. You can only ask to get into that situation at the end of a game with the tying and go-ahead runs aboard. I was proud of our guys' efforts to do that. We came ready to play in an early start and it was good to see."

On the pitching

"It was a great college baseball game today," said Mathey. "Chuck Lukanen did a great job on the mound. He battled in the fourth inning as I can take some of the blame for leaving him in to stretch his pitch count, but he did a nice job. Nick Badgley then came in and did a great job of shutting down that inning. I was real proud of our pitchers and defense today."