Behm's bomb helps Northern
Illinois outscore Ball State
By Phil Stanton
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – For a while, it seemed like
home run derby.
The two teams combined for six home runs as No. 4
Northern Illinois outscored No. 5 Ball State 13-7 in the first
round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at VA Memorial
NIU will face the winner of the Kent
State/Central Michigan game on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., while BSU
will meet the loser at 12:30 p.m. in an elimination game.
The Cardinals (27-24) used three long balls to
built a 6-0 lead in the middle of the third. Zach Dygert had a
solo shot to lead off the second. Wayne Bond, Jr., had a two-run
homer in the third and Matt Stoeklen added a three-run bomb
later in the frame as BSU built a 6-0 lead.
“I was hoping after the third inning that it was
going to take more that six runs to win this game,” said NIU
head coach Ed Mathey. “We were chasing it. Ball State is a very
dangerous ballclub with their bats but it turned into a pretty
good hitter’s day and our hitters responded, so that was great
Dave Reynolds had a two-run blast and Jeff Thomas
added a three-run homer in a five-run fourth as the Huskies
(27-24) pulled to within one. Justin Behm’s two-run shot in the
fifth put NIU on top to stay. The Huskies added one more in the
fifth, two in the sixth, one in the seventh and two in the
eighth for their 13 runs.
“With the small gap out in right center and with
the wind pushing it out, the ball just jumped today,” Behm said.
“That’s something you have to deal with and we were able to take
advantage after they took advantage real early and we were never
Behm finished with three hits, two runs and two
RBI. Reynolds had two hits, two runs and three RBI.
The Huskies have scored at least seven runs in
each of their past six games.
“We’re putting up good numbers right now,” Behm
said. “I think we’re locked in pretty well at the plate. We’re
doing things to pick up our pitchers. Trevor (Feeney) struggled
early but he was able to give us six strong innings and we were
able to pick him up. That’s what you have to do in tournament
play. You’re going to have a lot of runs scored and you’re going
to have to be able to do that when somebody comes out and