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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskies avoid sweep behind Summerhill longball

Senior outfielder/catcher Collin Summerhill catches a baseball before an NIU baseball game against Louisiana State University. Summerhill hit his ninth home run of the 2024 season in a 5-3 win over the University of Toledo on Saturday. (Courtesy of Jonathan Mailhes)

Senior catcher/outfielder Colin Summerhill’s ninth home run of the season proved to be the difference in NIU baseball’s (10-18, 6-6 MAC) 5-3 triumph over the University of Toledo Rockets (13-14, 8-4 MAC) Saturday. 

“Games like today are big, when your back’s against the wall and you’re fighting for your lift to try to get a win,” said NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland via NIU Athletics. “It’s a testament to our guys and their toughness to be able to stick with it and find a way to get home with at least one win. We’re really proud of the effort. From the fifth inning on yesterday through today’s game we outplayed them.”

After dropping the first two games of the three-game set, the Huskies avoided a sweep behind another win from redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Brouwer. 

Brouwer gave up just two earned runs on five hits in six innings en route to his second consecutive win and third win of the 2024 season. Senior pitcher Dominic Hann picked up his second save of the year, giving up one earned run in two innings pitched.

Summerhill and senior infielder Eric Erato lead the charge offensively, combining to drive in four of the Huskies’ five runs. Erato finished his day 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs and one run scored while Summerhill went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and one run scored. 


The Huskies did the majority of their damage in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four of their five runs. Neither team found the scoreboard until an RBI groundout from junior outfielder JP Gauthier gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead. 

Erato immediately followed Gauthier with an RBI double to score freshman outfielder Charlie Parcell and put NIU up 2-0. 

Summerhill provided the big blow of the fourth inning, launching a two-run home run to score Erato and put the Huskies ahead 4-0. 

“Two-out scoring opportunities, and being able to cash in on those, create big momentum swings,” Copeland said via NIU Athletics. “Colin’s home run with two outs ended up being the game-winning hit. It’s good to see him hitting with power. We need him to get going in order for us to be a little bit better offensively.”

After a walk from senior infielder Mason Kelley and a single from junior infielder CJ Cepicky, a groundout from senior infielder Aaron Harper stopped the bleeding for Toledo. 


After a seven inning shoutout performance in his last outing against Miami University, Brouwer gave the Huskies another quality start. The Tinley Park, Illinois, native struck out four Rocket batters and lowered his season ERA to 5.30. 

Despite allowing the first two base runners to reach the bottom of the seventh inning, senior pitcher Jackson Stewart escaped the jam and managed a clean inning. Stewart struck out two batters in his one inning of work and induced a groundout with the bases loaded to keep the Huskies’ 5-2 lead intact. 

Hann relieved Stewart in the eighth inning, securing the six-out save. Hann gave up one run on an RBI double from junior catcher Trey Wright before stranding the tying run on second base and helping the Huskies reach the ninth inning with a 5-3 run.

Hann put the finishing touches on the Huskies win in the bottom of the ninth inning, pitching a scoreless final frame and securing the 5-3 victory. 


After playing their first 28 games away on the road, the Huskies will return home for their first home game of the season 3 p.m. Tuesday at Ralph McKinzie Field at Walt and Janice Owens Park against the University of St. Thomas.

“We’re excited to be able to sleep in our own beds and get back into a routine,” Copeland said via NIU Athletics. “We’re officially halfway through the season and it’ll be good to build some momentum on our home field. We have a big week coming up, especially with Bowling Green coming to town who is undefeated in the league.”

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