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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Nightmare ninth dooms Huskies in series loss to Kent State

Tim Dodge
Senior first baseman Mason Kelley (18) throws the ball to the catcher at home plate during the sixth inning of an NIU baseball game against Bowling Green State University on April 6. Kelley scored the game-tying run in the ninth inning against Kent State University on Saturday, but the Huskies fell 9-8 in extra innings. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

DeKALB – A two-out, ninth-inning grand slam from senior infielder Tim Orr lifted the Kent State University Golden Flashes (19-18, 10-8 MAC) to a 9-8 win and series victory over NIU baseball (12-26, 7-11 MAC) Sunday. 

Trailing 7-4 with two outs and the bases empty, senior pitcher Jacob Draeger loaded the bases before departing in favor of redshirt junior pitcher Matt Salomonson. 

Salomonson immediately allowed a go-ahead grand slam to Orr, putting the Golden Flashes ahead 8-7. Orr’s grand slam was his second home run of the day.

“That’s a game that’s just over,” said NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland. “We had two outs, nobody on there in the ninth inning, and we’re just not there. It’s very unfortunate because we outplayed them this entire series. If you can’t close that game out, you just don’t deserve to win the game.”

Despite senior catcher/outfielder Colin Summerhill launching his 17th home run of the season, the Huskies fell just short in extra innings. Summerhill went 3-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored. 

Freshman pitcher Alex Day and senior pitcher Sam Pederson were the only Huskie pitchers to not allow any runs. Day allowed just one hit over his three innings of work while Pederson allowed no hits in his lone inning pitched.


After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the third inning, the Huskies’ offense woke up in the bottom of the third inning. An RBI single from senior infielder Jake Nelson, followed by a sacrifice fly from Summerhill, cut the Kent State lead to 3-2 entering the fourth inning. 

The Huskies’ offense notched another two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take their first lead of the game at 4-3. NIU’s No. 9 hitter, senior infielder Andre Demetral, roped a two-out, two-RBI double to put the Huskies in front.

“The guys at the top (of the batting order) have really, really been good,” Copeland said. “For them to be able to come up with some guys on base because of the production down at the bottom of the order is really good.”

Summerhill continued the role of run producer for the Huskies with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning and a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, putting NIU in front 6-3.  


After Day’s departure following the top of the seventh inning, the wheels began to fall off for the Huskies’ pitching staff.

“Day was really good,” Copeland said. “He’s showed some promise throughout the season of the ability to go shutdown line ups. To give us three shutout (innings), I believe it was, after Dom (senior pitcher Dominic Hann) got us through four (innings), was pretty impressive.”

Redshirt senior Reagan Klawiter took the mound for NIU in the top of the eighth inning. Klawiter immediately gave up a home run to Orr before walking the only other batter he faced. 

Pederson entered in relief of Klawiter with the Huskies leading 6-4, inducing a double play and a fly out to keep the Huskies’ two-run lead intact entering the bottom of the eighth inning.

Following Orr’s go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning, the Huskies were able to salvage a run in the bottom half of the ninth to even the score at 8-8. Senior infielder Mason Kelley delivered with an RBI fielder’s choice to send the game to extra innings.

After a go-ahead RBI single from Kent State freshman catcher Dom Kibler in the top of the 10th inning, the Huskies’ offense ran out of gas, failing to score and losing 9-8.


The Huskies’ next game will be against Valparaiso University at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Ralph McKinzie Field at Walt and Janice Owens Park in DeKalb. The game will be streamed on NIU All-Access and live stats will be available via SIDEARM stats.

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