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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Baseball splits doubleheader with Ohio, wins first MAC game of 2024

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Jonathan Mailhes
Senior infielder Aaron Harper throws a baseball to a teammate before NIU baseball’s matchup with Louisiana State University. Harper recorded three hits in Game 2 of the Huskies’ doubleheader against Ohio University Friday. (Courtesy of Jonathan Mailhes)

NIU baseball split a doubleheader against the University of Ohio Friday to open MAC play. With the win, the Huskies earned their first conference win of the 2024 season. 

GAME 1 

The Huskies’ offense provided early support for freshman pitcher Ty Brachbill, as they scored three runs in the first two innings. NIU’s lead was short lived, as Ohio took the lead in the third -inning on a home run by senior outfielder Gideon Antle to make it a 4-3 ballgame. 

Brachbill settled in nicely after surrendering the home run, finishing his day with 6.1 innings pitched while allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and one strikeout. 

NIU went on to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by senior outfielder/catcher Colin Summerhill to even the score at 4. 

BACK-AND-FORTH SCORING

The game remained deadlocked at 4 until senior infielder Mason Kelley stepped into the box in the ninth inning against Ohio graduate pitcher Tim Knapschaefer. Kelley deposited a ball over the fence for a solo home run to give NIU a 5-4 lead. 

Ohio stormed back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring on a dropped fly ball in center field by freshman outfielder Charlie Parcell. Senior infielder Jake Nelson gave NIU its lead back in the following inning on an RBI single. 

Bobcat freshman outfielder/pitcher Pauly Mancino answered  back in the bottom of the 10th inning with a home run against NIU’s senior pitcher D.J. Hess. 

The Huskies went on to score again in the 11th on RBI singles by Parcell and Nelson to seal NIU’s 8-6 victory. 

KEY CONTRIBUTORS 

Senior infielder Eric Erato had seven plate appearances in the ball game and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, three walks and one RBI.

Summerhill only had two official at-bats in the contest, as he walked three times and tallied a sacrifice fly. 

Nelson also had a productive day at the plate, going 3-for-5 while driving in three runs. Two of Nelson’s runs came in extra innings. 

GAME 2

NIU dropped the second game of Friday’s twin bill to Ohio by a score of 4-1. 

Junior pitcher Tommy Meyer got the start in Game 2. Meyer cruised through the first 3.1 innings of his start, not allowing a hit in that time frame. 

It was with one out in the fourth where Meyer began to unravel, as he surrendered four runs on three hits in the inning. The inning was capped off by a bases-clearing double by Ohio redshirt junior infielder Nick Dolan, which made the score 4-0. 

The Huskies were shut out for a majority of this contest, getting on the board for the first time in the eighth inning on an RBI groundout by junior outfielder JP Gauthier, which scored Kelley. 

Senior infielder Aaron Harper picked up a season high three hits in the contest, going 3-for-4. Parcell also picked up two hits in the game. 

The Huskies will finish their three-game set against Ohio at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens, Ohio. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and live stats will be available via Stat Broadcast

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