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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Baseball drops series to Illinois in blowout fashion

Summerhill closes in on NIU single-season home run record
Tim Dodge
Senior catcher Colin Summerhill (8) tags Bowling Green freshman catcher Garrett Wright (3) for the out at home plate during the sixth inning of an NIU baseball game on April 6. Summerhill hit his 13th home run of the 2024 season against the University of Illinois on Saturday. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini (19-13, 7-2 Big Ten) cruised to a 16-5 victory over NIU baseball (11-23, 6-9 MAC) for its second-consecutive double digit win over the Huskies Saturday.

For a second straight game, Illinois’ offense was unstoppable. After a 15- run performance on Friday, the Illini turned in 16 runs on 16 hits Saturday, scoring in all but one inning. 

Illinois’ offense wasted no time jumping on redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Brouwer. NIU’s starting pitcher allowed nine earned runs on nine hits and lasted just two innings. 

On the offensive side of the ball, NIU senior catcher/outfielder Colin Summerhill crushed his second home run of the series and his fourth in the last three games. Summerhill has now hit 13 home runs this season, just two shy of tying the NIU single-season record. 

Senior infielder Aaron Harper also provided the longball for the Huskies, launching his first of 2024.


For the second time in as many days, Illinois erupted for a seven- run second inning. After the Huskies tied the game in the top of the second inning at 2-2 behind Harper’s home run and an RBI double from freshman catcher Cooper Cohn, the floodgates opened on Brouwer.

Illinois redshirt senior infielder Brody Harding broke the tie immediately, leading off the bottom of the second inning with a home run to give the Illini a 3-2 lead. After RBIs from junior catcher Camden Janik and junior infielder Vytas Valincius, junior infielder Ryan Moerman blew the game wide open. 

With one out and the bases loaded, Moerman connected on a grand slam to give the Illini a commanding 9-2 lead. 

“We came out pretty good offensively again and were able to put some good swings on the ball to get us into a decent position,” said NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland via NIU Athletics. “For the second game in a row the big inning really hurt us. We just need to be better on the mound at the start of games. We played hard and kept fighting but at some point we need someone to step up on the mound and give us a chance to have an opportunity to win later in the game.”

The Huskies responded with two runs in the top of the third on Summerhill’s two- run home run to cut the deficit to 9-4. Summerhill now ranks second in the MAC in home runs, trailing only University of Toledo junior outfielder/infielder Garret Pike.

The Illini offense was ultimately too much to keep up with, scoring in five of their final six offensive innings.


Despite giving up four earned runs on six hits, Illinois graduate pitcher Cooper Omans was given enough run support to earn the win. Omans struck out seven Huskie batters over his 5.2 innings of work.

After turning the ball over to the bullpen, the Huskies offense was unable to find a rhythm. Three Illini pitchers combined to allow no earned runs on just one hit over the final 3.1 innings. 

The Huskies’ only run after Omans’ departure came in the seventh inning when senior infielder Andre Demetral scampered home on a wild pitch. 

Illinois senior pitchers Korey Bunselmeyer and Will Lavin pitched three-up three-down eighth and ninth innings to secure the 16-5 win for the Illini.


The Huskies will play the final game of a three- game series against Illinois at 1 p.m. Sunday at Illinois Field in Champaign, Illinois. The game will be live streamed on Big Ten Plus and live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.

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