Baseball drops three games to Oral Roberts in season opener

FEB. 17

DeKALB – Oral Roberts University dismantled NIU 16-2 in the season opener, fueled by a three-home run performance from redshirt senior shortstop Mac McCroskey Friday. McCroskey finished his monster day 3-for-6 with three home runs and six RBIs (runs batted in). 

McCroskey accounted for three of the five Golden Eagle home runs. Redshirt senior center fielder Matt Hogan and senior catcher Jacob Godman each went deep for Oral Roberts, to go along with McCroskey. 

NIU junior pitcher Dominic Hann struggled on the mound, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings pitched. Junior pitcher Jacob Draeger followed Hann in relief, giving up four earned runs on six hits in 1.2 IP. Freshman pitcher/outfielder Jake Kohanzo was a bright spot for the Huskies, allowing no runs and striking out two batters in his lone inning of work. 

Sophomore pitcher/infielder Jakob Hall was dominant for Oral Roberts, tossing six innings, while walking just one batter and giving up one earned run. Hall struck out six Huskie batters, and induced ten ground-outs. Junior pitcher Caleb Isaacs and redshirt sophomore Price Allman combined to pitch the last three innings for Oral Roberts, allowing no runs. 


The game looked promising for NIU early as they took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Sophomore catcher Kaden Kosobucki doubled down the left field line for the Huskies’ first hit of the season. Junior first baseman Colin Summerhill followed with a double of his own, scoring Kosobucki from second to take the early lead. Hogan immediately responded for Oral Roberts in the bottom half of the inning with a two out three-run shot to give Oral Roberts a 3-1 lead.

A monstrous sixth and seventh inning helped Oral Roberts pull away. A five-run sixth inning, highlighted by McCroskey’s second home run and Godman’s two-run home-run, saw the Golden Eagles’ lead grow from 4-2 to 9-2. Oral Roberts followed up its big sixth inning with an even bigger seven-run seventh inning. McCroskey hit his third home run of the day, putting the finishing touches on a 16-2 Golden Eagle victory. 



DeKALB – NIU was swept in a doubleheader against Oral Roberts University Saturday, losing by scores of 8-2 and 3-2. 

Oral Roberts pulled away late in the first game, scoring four runs in the final three innings. The second game was a late game comeback by the Golden Eagles, highlighted by a walk-off sacrifice bunt from senior first baseman Jake McMurray in the 10th inning.

NIU junior pitcher Jacob Wilde got the nod for game one, while redshirt senior Harley Gollert got the ball for Oral Roberts. NIU Redshirt sophomore pitcher Matt Salomonson got the start for the second game, facing off against Oral Roberts redshirt sophomore Jacob Widener.

The Huskies’ offense struggled on Saturday, mustering just four runs over the two games. NIU had just one extra base hit Saturday.

Junior left fielder Eric Erato had a stellar day for NIU, going 5-for-8 across the two games, while stealing two bags and scoring two runs. Salomonson also pitched well for NIU, throwing six shutout innings. 


Wilde gave up three earned runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings pitched. Sophomore pitcher Mason Ruh struggled for NIU, giving up three earned runs on five hits and three walks in two innings of work. 

Oral Roberts’ pitching was excellent in game one, allowing just one earned run. Gollert gave up six hits and one earned run, while striking out five Huskie batters in five innings pitched. Sophomore pitcher Dalton Patten shut down the Huskies’ lineup, giving up just one hit and no earned runs in the final four innings. 

The Huskies grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Erato started off his 3-for-4 game with a lead off triple to get things going early for NIU. Junior catcher Colin Summerhill notched his second RBI of the series, scoring Erato on a single. 

Oral Roberts answered quickly with an RBI single from senior designated hitter Blaze Brothers in the bottom of the second to tie the score at one. Oral Roberts took the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning thanks to an RBI triple from McMurray. 

Senior right fielder Matt Hogan hit his second home run of the series in the seventh inning. The two-run shot gave the Golden Eagles a 6-2 lead. Redshirt senior shortstop Mac McCroskey stayed hot for Oral Roberts, going 3-for-4 with an RBI to follow up his three-home-run performance Friday.

Junior designated hitter Andrew Smart knocked in the second RBI for the Huskies – a sacrifice-fly to center field to score junior shortstop Aaron Harper in the sixth inning. 


Game two was a pitching duel, as Salomonson and Widener were lights out. Salomonson threw six shutout innings, giving up just two hits and striking out seven batters. Widener gave up just one earned run on two hits, striking out seven batters in 4.1 innings of work.

The difference in the game was the bullpens. Oral Roberts junior pitchers Cade Denton and Conner Floyd shut the door on the Huskies, giving up no runs over the last 5.2 innings. NIU senior pitcher Nick Bonk followed Salomonson, giving up two earned runs and walking four batters in 1.2 innings. Redshirt junior pitcher Reagan Klawiter was on the mound in the tenth inning when Oral Roberts scored the winning run.

Smart got the scoring started in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI single to score sophomore catcher Kaden Kosobucki. A throwing error from Oral Roberts redshirt junior third baseman Holden Breeze allowed Erato to score on the play as well, giving the Huskies a 2-0 advantage. 

The Golden Eagles got the offense going late with an RBI sacrifice-fly from Breeze to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the eighth inning. Later in the eighth, junior center fielder Jonah Cox came up with a pinch-hit RBI single to score McMurray and tie the game 2-2. 

The Huskies had a great opportunity to take the lead back in the top of the ninth inning after loading the bases with one out. Senior center fielder Malik Peters and Erato struck out back to back, ending the threat and keeping the game tied. 

Oral Roberts capitalized on the Huskies’ failure to score in the ninth. In the bottom of the tenth, senior left fielder Justin Quinn led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He got to third on a sacrifice-bunt from McMurray, and scored the winning run on a throwing error from NIU sophomore third baseman Christian Seegers.