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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Baseball falls to Abilene Christian in first 3 games of 2024

Tim Dodge
Then redshirt-sophomore pitcher Matt Salomonson throws a pitch in an NIU baseball home game against Ohio University on Mar. 3, 2023. Salomonson gave up two runs on three hits in the Huskies’ third game against Abilene Christian University. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Poor pitching proved to be NIU baseball’s (0-3) downfall in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Abilene Christian University Wildcats (3-0) on Friday to open up the 2024 season.

The Huskies dropped Game 1 16-6 by slaughter rule in seven innings. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Brouwer got the start in Game 1, allowing 5 earned runs on 6 hits in 3.2 innings pitched. Senior infielder Mason Kelley went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs to lead the offensive attack in Game 1. 

The Wildcats slaughtered the Huskies in eight innings in Game 2, winning 12-2. Junior pitcher Tommy Meyer was on the mound for Game 2, allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits in 3.2 innings. Senior catcher and outfielder Colin Summerhill batted 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. 


The Huskies kept it close for the first half of Game 1, trailing just 6-3 through 5.5 innings. The Wildcats broke through with a monstrous seven run sixth inning to extend their lead to 13-3. 

Abilene Christian graduate student pitcher Austin Glaze shut down the Huskies’ offense, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits through five innings pitched. Glaze also struck out seven Huskie batters.

NIU’s pitching staff picked up where it left off in 2023, struggling mightily in the first game of the season. All five Huskie pitchers gave up at least one run.

Abilene Christian junior infielder DJ Van Atten was the driving force for the Wildcats on offense, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run. Sophomore catcher Maddox Miesse and sophomore infielder and pitcher Cade McGarrh also drove in three runs each.

In addition to Kelley, NIU senior shortstop Andre Dematral went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Junior catcher Kaden Kosobucki had a productive day driving in 1 run on 2 hits. 


The Huskies took a short lived 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning but were blanked for the next five innings. Abilene Christian responded with six unanswered runs to take a commanding 6-1 lead after the sixth inning. 

Summerhill hit his first home run of the year to drive in one of the Huskies’ two runs. Senior infielder Jake Nelson drove in the second run in the seventh inning. Nelson went 1-for-2 with one RBI and a walk in Game 2. 

Leading 7-2 heading into the eighth inning, the Wildcats put up five runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure the 12-2 slaughter rule victory. Led by three RBIs from senior outfielder Miller Ladusau, five Wildcats had multiple RBIs in Game 2.

The Huskies’ pitching was subpar in Game 2, as both Meyer and freshman pitcher Alex Day gave up five earned runs. Junior pitcher Mason Ruh was a bright spot in an otherwise dreadful day for the NIU staff, pitching 1.1 shutout innings. 

The Wildcats’ starting pitching was once again dominant in Game 2. Junior pitcher Iain Campa struck out nine batters and allowed just 1 run on 1 hit in five innings pitched.


NIU baseball (0-3) dropped its third straight contest to Abilene Christian (3-0), by a score of 10-4 Saturday. 

Freshman pitcher Ty Brachbill got the start for the Huskies in their Saturday matchup with ACU, only lasting four innings before his day was done. Brachbill gave up seven runs, six of which were earned, on seven hits while striking out five and walking three. The freshman also earned the loss for Saturday’s contest. 

Redshirt junior pitcher Matt Salomonson came in immediate relief of Brachbill, totaling three innings. Salomonson gave up two earned runs on three hits while also racking up three strikeouts. 

Junior pitcher Tucker Christensen was the final pitcher used for the Huskies, tallying one total inning of work. Christensen did not surrender a hit in his outing, but four walks led to a run scoring in the inning. The Sam Houston State transfer also totaled two strikeouts on the day. 

ACU started the scoring for the day, tallying runs in each of the first four innings. Graduate student utility Gino D’Allessio started the scoring off with a two run single in the first inning. Two more runs were tacked on in the bottom of the second via a double by senior infielder Garrett Williams and a single by junior infielder DJ Van Atten. 

The Huskies first got on the board in the third inning via an RBI double by senior infielder Colin Summerhill that scored senior infielder Andre Demetral. 

ACU tacked on the next five runs in the contest before NIU would break through again in the eighth inning, scoring two runs on a single by junior infielder Christian Seegers. Scoring on the play was senior infielder Eric Erato and freshman catcher Cooper Cohn to make it a 9-3 ball game. 

The Huskies would surrender another run in the bottom half of the eighth on a bases loaded walk. Sophomore infielder Anthony Fornero would score the final run of the contest, scoring on a passed ball in the top of the ninth inning, cementing the final score of 10-4. 

ACU’s pitchers have pounded the strike zone against us so far this weekend,” said NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland via NIU Athletics. “We’re trying to figure out who we are as an offense, and we’re trying to find the right mix of guys for our lineup. We’ve had opportunities with guys on base but just haven’t gotten that big hit.”


NIU will conclude its first series of the year at noon on Sunday against Abilene Christian. Live stats will be available via Stat Broadcast.

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