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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Baseball survives Central Michigan

Totus Tuus Keely
Senior infielder Eric Erato slides into home plate on April 23 at Ralph McKinzie Field at Walt and Janice Owens Park. Erato drove in two runs in Saturday’s 9-6 win over Central Michigan University. (Northern Star File Photo)

NIU redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Brouwer earned his fifth win of the 2024 season en route to NIU baseball’s (15-27, 9-11 MAC) 9-6 victory over the Central Michigan University Chippewas (14-29, 5-15 MAC) on Saturday.

The Huskies earned their first MAC series victory since a 9-6 series-clinching victory over the University of Akron on March 16. 

After freshman pitcher Ty Brachbill pitched a one-run complete game in the series opener Friday, Brouwer followed Brachbill with a quality start of his own. The Tinley Park, Illinois native allowed three earned runs on six hits in 7.1 innings of work. 

“We challenged Adam to try to compete with Ty (Brachbill’s) outing yesterday and just keep them on their heels, mixing up three different pitches for strikes,” said NIU baseball head coach Ryan Copeland via NIU Athletics. “He was really good again after some struggles against Bowling Green and Illinois.”

Senior infielder Eric Erato and senior outfielder Spencer Bartel each drove in multiple runs to lead the Huskies’ offensive charge. Freshman outfielder Charlie Parcell reached base safely four times Saturday.


NIU’s offense gave Brouwer constant run support Saturday, never allowing the Huskies to trail and leading by as many as eight runs.

The Huskies managed to scrape across one run in the top of the first inning. A leadoff double from senior infielder Jake Nelson followed by an RBI single from Erato allowed the Huskies to take the early 1-0 advantage.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning when NIU truly jumped on Central Michigan senior pitcher Trey Miller. 

Highlighted by a sacrifice fly from Bartel and an RBI double from Erato, the Huskies scored four runs in the top of the frame to open up a 5-0 lead. Erato finished his day 2-for-5 with two RBIs, while Bartel went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk.

NIU took a commanding 8-0 lead behind three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Parcell’s fourth walk of the day allowed senior catcher/outfielder Colin Summerhill to score before RBIs from senior infielder Mason Kelley and Bartel brought in two more runs.


Brouwer was untouchable until the bottom of the seventh inning. Through the first six frames, Brouwer allowed no runs on just three hits. 

The Chippewas did not crack the scoreboard until the bottom of the eighth inning, cutting the deficit in half with a four-run frame. Brouwer surrendered three runs in the eighth before senior pitcher Sam Pederson entered in relief. An RBI single from Central Michigan senior catcher Drew Stengren off Pederson cut the lead to 8-4. 

Bartel once again had an answer for the Huskies driving in his third run of the game. Bartel’s single allowed senior infielder/outfielder Parker Shupe to score and extend the lead to 9-4 in the top of the ninth inning. 

“Spencer always finds a way to compete get on the barrel with two strikes,” Copeland said via NIU Athletics. “He’s earned everything he’s had this season and it’s good to see. His hit in the ninth was big because instead of CMU having the tying run at the plate, they needed another base runner to tie it up.”

Despite allowing two runs on three hits in the bottom of the ninth, senior pitcher DJ Hess was able to hold off the Chippewa rally. Representing the tying run, Hess induced a fly-out from senior outfielder Jacob Donahue, securing the Huskies’ 9-6 win.


NIU’s next game will be at 11 a.m. Sunday against Central Michigan at Keilitz Field at Theunissen Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, as the Huskies will look for their first sweep of 2024. The game will be live streamed on Chippewas All-Access and live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.

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