March 10, 2007
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PALM BEACH, Fla. - Northern Illinois' bats heated up in the Florida sun and produced a 17-1 rout of Maine in the first of an eight-game spring break trip. The Huskies margin of victory was their highest against a Division I opponent under head coach Ed Mathey. With the win, NIU improves to 3-4 on the young season while Maine dropped to 4-4.
Starter Brandon Copp (1-0) went a career-long 7.1 innings, scattering six hits and allowing just one earned run while striking out three without a issuing a walk. The sophomore from Aurora improved to 3-0 in five career starts. Pat Moran (0-1) took the loss for the Black Bears.
"Brandon was outstanding for us today and got ahead of the hitters by throwing strikes in good hitter conditions with the wind blowing out," said Mathey. "We had a tight ball game early on but our guys swung the bats very well and took advantage of our opportunities. We approached the game the right way and a number of guys had great days at the plate. Bobby Stevens made great plays in the field for us and helped our pitchers out in that regard as well."
NIU took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Seykora's RBI double plated Stevens and Danny Reed followed with a single that scored Seykora.
Scott Simon's first career grand slam keyed a five-run fifth for the Huskies that extended the margin to 7-0. Two innings later, Seykora belted his second home run of the year, a two-run shot to left, to put NIU ahead 9-0.
After Maine got its run in the seventh, the Huskies answered by sending 12 hitters to the plate in an eight-run ninth inning that blew the lead open and provided the final 17-1 margin.
Stevens, Seykora and Reed each collected three hits and Matt Behren
added a pair of his own. Simon paced the Huskies with four RBI, Seykora had three and Reed, Jeff Thomas
, Justin Behm
and Marc Besteman
each drove in two.
NIU is next in action Sunday afternoon against Long Island University at the Palm Beach Challenge. First pitch is slated for 2:15 p.m. CT.
HUSKIE TRACKS ...
-Jesse Seykora has amassed four three-hit games this season after totaling three during the 2006 campaign. He has hit safely in four consecutive contests and has 10 hits during that stretch, including six in the past two games.
-Bobby Stevens three hits were a season-high after posting three two-hit performances.
-NIU totaled 15 hits for the second time this season (also Feb. 24 at Texas Tech).
-The Huskies 17-run output was their highest total since tallying 19 at Toledo on May 21, 2005.
-NIU has scored 18 of its 45 runs (40 percent) this season in the ninth inning.
-Huskie hurlers did not issue a walk in a game for the first time since May 7, 2006 at Western Michigan.