May 24, 2007
Box Score in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
YPSILANTI, Mich. - Scott Simon became the Mid-American Conference career hit king as Northern Illinois posted an 11-10 seesaw victory over Toledo to stay alive at the league tournament Thursday. Justin Behm had a grand slam while totaling a career-high five RBI while Tim Kamin victimized the Rockets for yet another key home run in the Huskies' 16-hit offensive explosion.
The victory improved the Huskies to 33-23 on the year, one win shy of equaling the school's all-time season win total.
"Our hitters showed up en masse today and did a great job for us on what was a hitter's day in warm weather," said head coach Ed Mathey. "It was great to see our offense produce the way they did because you are going to need to score runs to be able to come through the loser's bracket. Toledo is a very scrappy team and we had another battle with them that was similar to all three of the games at their place last weekend."
With the Huskies trailing 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh inning, NIU relived on déjà vu' to regain the lead. Tim Kamin stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and delivered three-run home run off Justin Collop, repeating his dramatic grand slam last week off the same hurler, to put the Huskies ahead 10-9.
The Huskies added an insurance tally in the eighth on a groundout by Behm that plated Scott Simon
, who had reached on his historical 317th career hit to become the MAC hit king, to extend the advantage to 11-9.
Toledo loaded the bases in the ninth and got within a run when Drew Hoisington's RBI single made it 11-10 before Matt German induced a 6-4-3 double play against the next hitter to preserve the victory.
The Rockets started the scoring with three runs in second with tallies on a bases loaded hit by pitch, an error, and a RBI single by Jake Swint.
NIU answered with a five-spot in the third inning to take a 5-3 lead, the first run coming when All-MAC second-teamer Jordin Hood doubled home Bobby Stevens, who had reached on a leadoff single. Later in the frame with the bases loaded, Behm blasted a grand slam over the left field fence to put the Huskies up by two.
Swint knotted the game at five in the fourth when he sent an offering over the right field fence to score Hoisington, who reached when he was hit by pitch one batter earlier.
The Rockets regained the lead in the fifth inning when Jake Oester tripled to left center and came home to score on Josh Colliver's RBI single to right.
In the bottom of the fifth, Behm delivered a RBI groundout to score Scott Simon to even the game at six.
UT took the lead back in the sixth when Oester hit his second triple of the game, a shot to right-center, to score two and make it 8-6. Colliver followed with a RBI groundout to score Oester to make it a three-run Rocket lead.
Brett Kellam led off the seventh with a single to center and was bunted to second on a Stevens sacrifice. Pat Minogue stepped in and belted a RBI single to left to score Kellam and draw the Huskies back within two at 9-7.
From there, Kamin's home run and the Huskies' eighth-inning run proved to be the difference.
Andy Deain notched the victory in relief, tying for the team lead with six wins on the year while German nailed down his 13th save of the season. Justin Collop (4-2) took the loss for Toledo, who was eliminated from the tournament and ended the season with a 26-28 record.
All nine Huskie starters had hits, led by Simon and Matt Behren who each contributed three in the outing. Behm led with five RBI followed by Kamin's three.
NIU advances to play Friday at noon CDT against Miami University in an elimination game. The winner of the NIU-Miami game will advance to meet the loser of the Eastern Michigan-Kent State matchup at 3 p.m. CDT for the right to reach the championship round. All Huskie contests can be heard on WLBK (1360-AM) and on niuhuskies.com.
HUSKIE TRACKS ...
-Matt German moved into sole possession of second lace on the MAC's career saves list with the 26th of his career.
-Each of Tim Kamin's three career home runs have come against Toledo, all of them in the last three games spanning the past six days.
-NIU homered in all four games against Toledo this season and belted grand slams in the past three contests against the Rockets.
-Justin Behm's grand slam was the first of his career and the fourth by a Huskie in 2007.
-Matt Behren extended his hitting streak to nine games and is 5-for-8 in the MAC Tournament and 26-for-48 in his last 17 games.
-Scott Simon hit safely in his 12th consecutive game and belted the 69th double of his career to move into sole possession of second on the league's list.
-The Huskies notched their first MAC Tournament victory since an 8-4 first-round victory over Miami in 2004.
-NIU has scored 24 runs with 33 hits in its last two games against Toledo.