Bats go cold in baseball’s loss to Kent State

By Alex Crowe, Assistant Sports Editor

DeKALB – After scoring 10 runs in the first five innings, NIU baseball’s offense disappeared during the late innings of its 16-10 loss to the Kent State University Golden Flashes Sunday.

The Huskies (3-12, 0-3 MAC) dropped their third straight game with the loss and gave Kent State (11-4, 3-0 MAC) its ninth straight win and a series sweep over NIU.

The Huskies held the lead for seven innings, but Kent State never trailed by more than four runs. With NIU leading 10-9, the Golden Flashes finally took the lead in the eighth inning by plating seven runs to reach the 16-10 score. 


The Huskies’ offense was dominant early in the contest, scoring at least one run in each of the first five innings. Junior outfielder and catcher Colin Summerhill and junior right fielder Eric Erato led the Huskies at the plate. Summerhill went 2-for-4 – both hits being doubles – with two RBIs (runs batted in). Erato hit 3-for-5 with one RBI and a stolen base. 

Junior infielder and outfielder Andrew Smart also contributed at the plate for NIU, rocking a two RBI triple to left field in the third inning. Junior infielders Andre Demetral and Aaron Harper and sophomore infielder Christian Seegers also drove in runs for the Huskies. 

NIU’s offense fell asleep after the five-inning stretch. Kent State freshman pitcher Jordan Kolenda and graduate pitcher Mitchell Scott combined to toss four perfect innings to keep Kent State within reach of the lead. 


Huskie pitchers had another poor day, allowing double-digit runs for the third straight game. Senior pitcher Brandon McPherson got the start for NIU and lasted just two innings, being pulled in the third inning after Kent State senior catcher Jason Miknis hit an RBI triple. McPherson gave up six runs – four earned – on four hits. 

Sophomore pitcher Tommy Meyer replaced McPherson in the third inning. After throwing two clean innings in relief, Meyer allowed a two-run home run off the bat of junior infielder Michael McNamara in the bottom of the fifth inning. Meyer gave up three earned runs on three hits in his two innings of work. 

Junior pitchers Jacob Draeger, Reagan Klawiter and Sam Pederson all pitched in Kent State’s seven-run eighth inning. The three pitchers combined allowed seven runs on five hits, including a pinch-hit three run home run by senior outfielder Josh Mrozek, in Kent State’s offensive explosion. 


The Huskies got off to a 3-0 lead in the first inning after a Demetral double drove in Erato and a Summerhill double brought Demetral home. A Kent State error allowed Summerhill to score the third run of the inning. 

Kent State responded in the bottom half of the first, as junior first baseman and pitcher Aidan Longwell doubled, then a wild pitch by McPherson and an RBI groundout from Miknis evened the game at 3-3 after just the first inning. 

After gaining a 4-3 lead in the second inning, NIU added three more runs in the third inning thanks to Smart’s two-RBI triple and a sacrifice bunt from Seegers to stretch the lead to 7-3. The Golden Flashes answered with three runs in the third to cut NIU’s lead to 7-6.

The Huskies gave themselves breathing room again in the fourth. An RBI groundout from Harper and a sacrifice fly by Summerhill extended the lead to 9-6. A two-out single by Erato the next inning gave NIU a 10-6 lead. 

NIU didn’t have another base runner after the fifth inning. Kolenda mowed NIU hitters down with three perfect innings from the sixth through the eighth innings. The Golden Flashes went on to score 10 unanswered runs in the final four innings – capped off by the seven-run eighth – to take a 16-10 lead. 

Scott sat NIU down one-two-three, including two strikeouts, in the ninth inning to complete the weekend-series sweep for Kent State.


The Huskies are back on the diamond for a non-conference game against Purdue University at 3 p.m. Wednesday in West Lafayette, Indiana. Live stats will be available via StatBroadcast.