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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

COLUMN: NIU Baseball poised for a bounce back season

Jonathan Mailhes
Senior outfielder/infielder Parker Shupe throws from the outfield in an NIU baseball game against Louisiana State University. NIU baseball started the 2024 season 7-14, but already look to surpass the total win count of the 2023 season. (Courtesy of Jonathan Mailhes)

Under first year NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland, NIU baseball (7-14, 4-2 MAC) is well on its way to shattering both their conference win total and overall win total from a season ago. 

After going 5-24 in conference play in 2023, the Huskies opened up their 2024 conference schedule with back-to-back MAC-series victories.

The Huskies prepared themselves for the MAC season with a difficult non-conference schedule. NIU played the defending College World Series champion Louisiana State University Tigers, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats prior to the start of MAC play.

The highlight of NIU’s non-conference season was a 6-4 victory over Cincinnati of the Big 12 Conference. The Huskies also picked up wins over Northwestern State University and Abilene Christian University before winning back-to-back series at Ohio University and the University of Akron. 


The biggest reason for the Huskies’ early MAC season success has been its starting pitching. NIU’s pitching was its downfall in 2023 as the staff pitched to an 8.95 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .325. 

Through six games of conference play in 2024, the Huskies starting pitchers have allowed just 13 earned runs in 34 innings of work. The three-headed monster of freshman pitcher Ty Brachbill, junior pitcher Tommy Meyer and redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Brouwer have been at the top of the NIU rotation.

Brouwer has been the Huskies’ best pitcher during conference play, allowing just two earned runs over his 11 innings of work. NIU cruised to a 6-1 victory over Ohio in Brouwer’s first MAC start and fell narrowly 2-1 to Akron in his second start. 

Brachbill has been the distance pitcher for the Huskies, pitching into the 7th inning in both of his conference starts, helping preserve the NIU bullpen. Both of Brachbill’s conference starts have resulted in Huskie victories. The Shelbyville, Illinois, native has struck out 25 batters and pitched to a 4.88 ERA during his first season in DeKalb. 

Meyer has been the strikeout pitcher for NIU, racking up 9 strikeouts in his two conference starts. While Meyer has yet to record a win in conference play, he pitched 6 scoreless innings in a 9-6 NIU victory over Akron. Meyer has struck out 23 batters in 20.2 innings pitched in 2024. 


The Huskies saw three major offensive contributors from last year return to the lineup this season in senior infielder Eric Erato, senior infielder Andre Demetral and senior outfielder/catcher Colin Summerhill. 

Summerhill was NIU’s biggest offensive producer to start the season, hitting .347 with seven home runs and 20 runs batted in through the first 13 games of the season. 

Since the conclusion of NIU’s four game set against the University of Cincinnati, Summerhill’s bat has gotten cold as his batting average has dropped to .240 after Wednesday’s matchup against Illinois State University. 

Erato is coming off of a season where he set the NIU record for walks in a single season with 51 base on balls. The Sussex, Wisconsin, native saw his batting average dip last season to .264, but has swung a hot bat so far this year, hitting .378. 

Demetral has not played his best baseball so far this season at the plate with his batting average sitting at .250. He has been able to get on base consistently this season, reaching base at a .411 clip with 16 walks and four hit by pitches. 

Demetral did impress in the Huskies last contest versus Illinois State, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and his first home run of the season. 

Senior infielder Mason Kelley and freshman outfielder Charlie Parcell have been pleasant surprises for the Huskies offense so far this season. 

Kelley has been a mainstay for the Huskies in the middle of the order for most of the season, providing power outside of Summerhill. The Mount Washington, Kentucky, native has already tied his career high in home runs with three, and is second on the team in RBIs with 20. 

Parcell is in his first year in a Huskie uniform, and has had an up and down season at the plate. The young outfielder’s batting average has been as high as .455 this season, but sits at .278 right now. 

The Huskies will continue MAC play at 2 p.m. CT Friday in Oxford, Ohio, against Miami University for the first game of a three-game set. The game will be streamed on Chatterbox Sports and live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.

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