McNamara’s home run leads Flashes past Huskies


Mingda Wu

Then-sophomore infielder Eric Erato swings his bat during a game against Ball State University on April 23, 2022 in DeKalb.

By Zachary Bertram, Senior Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU baseball (3-11, 0-2 MAC) was defeated by Kent State University (10-4, 2-0 MAC) in a back-and-forth game Saturday by a final score of 12-7. 

A five-run eighth inning – highlighted by a three-run home run from junior shortstop Michael McNamara – allowed Kent State to earn its second win of the series and its seventh consecutive win overall. 

The Huskies’ pitching struggles continued Saturday, as they gave up 12 runs for the second straight game. Junior pitcher Dominic Hann got the start for NIU, lasting just 1.2 innings. Hann gave up five earned runs on five hits and walked three batters. Senior pitcher Nick Bonk also struggled, allowing five earned runs on three hits in just a third of an inning. 

A sloppy first inning from the Golden Flashes helped NIU jump ahead early, scoring four first-inning runs. Junior right fielder Eric Erato led off the game with a walk and a steal of second base. Erato came around to score on an RBI (runs batted in) single from junior shortstop Andre Demetral. A fielding error from junior pitcher Joe Whitman allowed junior second baseman Aaron Harper and Demetral to score, giving the Huskies a 3-0 lead. Sophomore catcher Kaden Kosobucki scored on a wild pitch from Whitman to put NIU up four runs. 

Kent State responded quickly in the bottom of the second inning, scoring five two-out runs. Graduate center fielder Collin Mathews started the scoring for the Golden Flashes with a two-RBI single to cut the NIU lead in half. Junior first baseman Aidan Longwell followed Mathews with an RBI single to score senior outfielder Josh Mrozek. Junior catcher Jason Miknis capped off the inning with a two-RBI triple to give Kent State a 5-4 lead. 

The Golden Flashes added a run in both the third and fourth innings off Huskie redshirt sophomore pitcher Matt Salomonson. Salomonson struggled for NIU, walking seven batters in 4.1 innings pitched. Mathews picked up his third RBI of the game in the third inning, while McNamara hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth to increase the Golden Flash lead to 7-4.

The Huskies countered in the top of the sixth inning with three runs off of Kent State junior pitcher Benny Roebuck. Kosobucki notched his second RBI of the game with a single to score Harper. A wild pitch allowed Kosobucki to advance to third base and junior catcher Colin Summerhill to score, cutting the Kent State lead to 7-6. Junior first baseman Andrew Smart came up with the game-tying knock – an RBI single off of Kent State junior pitcher Calvin Bickerstaff – to score Kosobucki and knot the game up at 7-7.

Kent State answered in the bottom of the eighth with its second five-run inning of the game. Longwell picked up his seventh RBI of the series with a go-ahead RBI single to give the Golden Flashes the 8-7 lead. McNamara gave Kent State breathing room with a three-run home run off Bonk to stretch the lead to 11-7. Sophomore infielder Connor Ashby added an RBI single for Kent State’s final run of the game. 

Graduate pitcher Mitchell Scott closed the game for the Golden Flashes with a three up, three down inning, securing the 12-7 win for Kent State.

The Huskies will look to avoid the three-game sweep at noon Sunday at Olga Mural Field in Kent. The game will be streamed on Kent State’s BoxCast channel. Live stats will be available via SideArmStats.