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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskies pull away from Northwestern behind late-inning surge

NIU scores 10 runs in final two innings
Senior infielder Jake Nelson throws a baseball in an NIU baseball game against Louisiana State University. Nelson went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Huskies’ 17-8 victory over Northwestern University. (Courtesy of Jonathan Mailhes)

After falling behind 4-0 in the first inning, the Huskies’ bats exploded for a season-high 17 runs to lead NIU baseball (9-16, 5-4 MAC) to a 17-8 victory over Northwestern University (10-12) Tuesday.

Junior outfielder JP Gauthier continued to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and 5 RBIs. The De Pere, Wisconsin, native has now recorded at least one hit in eight of his last nine games. 

Tied at 7-7 heading into the eighth inning, the Huskies scored four runs in the top of the eighth to take an 11-7 lead. NIU followed up with a six-run ninth inning to take a commanding 17-7 lead heading into the final frame of the game.

NIU freshman pitcher Alex Day earned the first win of his career, striking out one of the two batters he faced. Northwestern sophomore pitcher Amar Tsengeg suffered the loss for the Wildcats, allowing three earned runs on one hit in one plus inning pitched.


Senior infielder Eric Erato had a productive day at the plate, going 2-for-6 with 4 RBIs. Despite recording just one hit, senior infielder Andre Demetral drove in three runs and drew two walks.

Senior outfielder Spencer Bartel and senior infielder Jake Nelson each notched multi-hit games. The former went 2-for-3 with a double and four runs scored, while the latter went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored.

In addition to Gauthier, senior catcher/outfielder Colin Summerhill was the other Huskie to launch the long ball. Gauthier connected for his second home run of the season, while Summerhill hit his MAC-leading eighth home run of the 2024 campaign. 

The Huskies broke through in the second inning with a Nelson RBI single to crack the scoreboard. Summerhill brought the game to a 6-6 tie with his fifth-inning solo home run. 

It wasn’t until a Gauthier RBI double in the top of the sixth inning that the Huskies took their first lead of the game at 7-6. Gauthier finished a triple shy of the cycle. 

Erato provided the big blows of both the eighth and ninth innings. He ripped a two-RBI double in the eighth and a two-RBI single in the ninth to help the Huskies balloon their lead to 10 runs. 


After NIU’s starting pitcher, senior Jackson Stewart gave up four earned runs on two hits in his lone inning of work. The Huskies’ bullpen picked up the slack for Stewart, allowing just four runs over the final eight innings.

Senior pitcher Ryan Linkletter provided the Huskies with length out of the bullpen, pitching 3.1 innings. Despite giving up five hits, Linkletter allowed just one earned run. 

Day and senior pitcher DJ Hess both gave up zero runs in their appearances. Hess lowered his season ERA to 3.37, while closing the game for the Huskies. 

“Linkletter was outstanding,” said NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland via NIU Athletics. “We didn’t plan to extend him into a fourth inning, but he was throwing the ball so well and changing speeds. Alex came in and that was the game. He got the big strikeout with one out and the infield in and the groundball to get out of it. You look back on moments in the game and you never know when the big ones are going to happen. That was a big turning point for us.”

Redshirt senior pitcher Reagan Klawiter, senior pitcher Jacob Draeger and senior pitcher Sam Pederson each gave up just one earned run in Tuesday’s win.


The Huskies’ next game will be against the University of Toledo at 2 p.m. Thursday at Scott Park in Toledo, Ohio. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.

“We’ve been searching for the answer to these midweek games,” Copeland said via NIU Athletics. “Our bullpen was excellent. We took advantage of what they gave us offensively and were very patient, and dangerous, at the plate once we got to Northwestern’s bullpen. It’s a really good win and we’ll try and carry it over to this weekend’s trip to Toledo.”

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