NIU Scores Six Runs In The Seventh To Rally Past MSU, 11-10
Feb. 21, 2009
Starkville, Miss. - The Northern Illinois baseball team took down Mississippi State, 11-10, with a six-run seventh inning that gave the Huskies (1-2) the win over the Bulldogs (2-1) on a chilly and rainy Saturday evening in the BankFirst Baseball Challenge at Dudy Noble Field.
"It was a good win for the young kids on this team and the NIU baseball program in general," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "It was nice to bounce back from yesterday to win at a tough environment like Mississippi State."
The Huskies started the seventh down 7-5, but came out of it with an 11-7 lead that helped them earn their first win of the year. Sophomore Marvin Sanchez (Chicago, Ill./Clemente Academy) led off with a walk and stole second before freshman Alex Beckmann earned a base on balls. Junior Jordin Hood singled through the right side to load the bases for junior Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg), who reached on a fielder's choice force out at home. Senior Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) then reached on an RBI fielder's choice force out at second in which the throw to first sailed high, allowing Hood to score. On the next play, Behm stole second uncontested to set up senior Matt Behren's (Elmwood Park, Ill./Holy Cross) run-scoring single to left field, advancing to second on the throw home. White singled up the middle in the next at-bat to score Behren and scored on sophomore Joe Etcheverry's (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) double to center. The final run was driven in by senior Pat Minogue's (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) first hit of the year.
"We took advantage of a miscue on the double play that could have ended the inning," said Mathey. "For our kids to take advantage of that was big. We talk about momentum a lot. We kept answering their scores which helped our confidence and we finally broke through with the big inning."
Mississippi State narrowed the deficit to one run in the eighth by plating three runs by loading the bases with no outs. Freshman Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) relieved sophomore Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) to retire Connor Power on an RBI sacrifice fly. Ryan Duffy then singled to left to drive in a run. Reynolds came in to replace Glancy and Russ Sneed followed with an RBI single, but a Behm-to-Sanchez relay caught pinch runner Brent Brownlee trying to go from first to third. Reynolds then struck out Scott DeLoach to end the threat.
"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."
In the ninth, Reynolds walked lead-off hitter Jason Nappi, but struck out Mark Goforth, who failed to get a bunt down with two strikes, Ryan Collins and Jet Butler to give NIU the victory and earn the save after going 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and a walk with four strikeouts.
Zelasko (1-0) picked up the win despite giving up five runs on two hits with three walks and a strikeout. Senior Andy Deain (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) started the game on the mound for NIU and lasted 4.1 innings while giving up four earned runs on six hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts each.
Caleb Reed (0-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs after giving up six runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout. Jones started the game and pitched four innings, surrendering one earned run on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Huskies scored 11 runs on 14 hits, led by Hood and White's three-hit day with an RBI and two runs scored each. Behren and Etcheverry each had a pair of hits with Behren totaling two RBI and Etcheverry one. Behm led the NIU offense with three RBI and had one hit along with two runs scored.
"We told the hitters to be aggressive early in count and they were able to do that which helped give them confidence," Mathey said.
MSU was led by Sneed's three hits along with an RBI and Duffy's three RBI on two hits.
The Bulldogs took the lead right away in the first inning with an RBI sacrifice fly by Connor Powers, but the Huskies tied it up in the fourth after Hood, with a 2-2 count, fouled off two straight pitches, took a ball, and then delivered an RBI single up the middle to score Sanchez, who reached on a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
MSU responded in the bottom half of the fourth with an RBI single by Nick Hardy and then a bases-loaded two-run single by Butler to take a 4-1 lead.
Lee Swindle replaced Devin Jones in the fifth and was greeted by White's double. A pass ball moved White to third and two batters later, he scored on an RBI ground out from Sanchez.
Again, the Bulldogs responded by getting a triple from Sneed and an RBI single by Scott DeLoach in the next at-bat, forcing Deain to be replaced by sophomore Zach Oates (Wheaton, Ill./North).
In the top of the sixth, the Huskies tied the game, 5-5, with three runs. Hood started it off with an infield single, advancing to second on a throwing error, and Reynolds followed with another infield single. Behm drove both runners in with a double down the left field line and scored on senior Behren's single to right on the next play. Reed then came in to replace Lee Swindle and got White to ground into a 6-3 double play and struck out Minogue after Etcheverry reached on NIU's third infield single of the inning.
Zelasko entered the game for Oates in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a two out two-run homer to Duffy that was just out of the reach of Behm's glove as he reached over the right field fence, giving MSU a 7-5 lead before the Huskies decisive seventh inning.
The Huskies wrap up their opening weekend with a contest tomorrow versus North Florida (1-1) at 11 a.m. CT. Fans can follow the game live by clicking here.
- Troy White made his first collegiate start in his second appearance and got his first career hit in his first at-bat of the day leading off the third inning. He doubled and scored a run in the fifth inning and drove in his first run with a single in the seventh.
- Andy Deain made his first career start in his 92nd appearance on the mound for NIU, putting him third all-time in the Huskie record book for appearances by a pitcher.
- Jordin Hood has started the season with three straight multi-hit games, including back-to-back three-hit games, and is 8-for-10 on the year.
- The last time the Huskies had double figure hits and runs was in the 2008 Mid-American Conference Tournament 13-7 win over Ball State on May 21 with 13 runs on 14 hits.
- Tom Zelasko earned his first career win in his longest career appearance, going two innings.
- Dave Reynolds picked up his first career save.
- NIU defeated MSU for the first time in three tries all-time, dating back to 1992.
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