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Huskies sweep Eastern Michigan with 9-8 win on Senior Day

DeKALB, Illinois – The senior class of the Northern Illinois University baseball team made sure to come out winners Saturday afternoon, contributing to the Huskies’ 9-8 victory on Senior Day at Ralph McKinzie Field at Walt and Janice Owens Park.

“This series was a pretty good three games and both teams showed a lot of toughness,” the head coach said. Ryan Copeland. “We were both trying to end our seasons on a high note. It wasn’t easy, but we found a way to win. We always found a way to get that last shot, that big hit. You just hope that the seniors “In their last game here they scored the difference, and a couple of them did.

Eastern Michigan (14-38, 9-21) broke a 3-3 tie with four runs in the top of the seventh. The Huskies responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Mason Kelley (Mt. Washington, Ky./Schoolcraft College) led off with a double down the left field line. Christian Seegers (Schaumburg, Ill./Creighton) followed with a walk. After a flight, André Demetrial (Rochester, Michigan/Florence Darling Tech) reached with an infield single to load the bases. Colin Summerhill (Chicago, Ill./Troy) followed with a possible double play, but EMU second baseman Cory Taylor’s relay to first was wild and two runs scored to make the score 7-5.

NIU (21-33, 14-16 MAC) got a scoreless eighth inning from the freshman alex dia (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) that included consecutive strikeouts. The Huskies rallied in the bottom of the inning, starting with consecutive one-out singles. charlie parcelal (Des Plaines, Illinois/Maine West) and Spencer Bartel (Sun Prairie, Wis./Madison College), who had a hit in his final at-bat as a Huskie and was replaced by JJ Gauthier (De Pere, Wisconsin/Illinois State). A wild pitch allowed Parcell to score from third and advance Gauthier to second.

The Huskies loaded the bases with a Eric Erato (Sussex, Wis./Sussex Hamilton) and Seegers being hit by a pitch. With two outs, Demetral singled to center field that drove in two runs and put NIU up 8-7. Eastern Michigan intentionally walked Summerhill to load the bases for jake nelson (Altoona, Wisconsin/Madison College). Reliever Mat Sanfilipo then hit Nelson with a pitch for an insurance run to score and make the total 9-7.

“There were a handful of big hits, big walks in front of me that gave me that opportunity,” Demetral said. “I was trying to relax and get back to what I was doing and luckily I found the hit there. It was a lot of fun.”

The Eagles made one last comeback attempt in the ninth. Brendan Kleiman led off with a home run over the left field fence to make the score 9-8. Taylor followed with a double to put the tying run in scoring position with no outs. Senior Reagan Klawiter (Verona, Wis./Madison College) entered the game out of the bullpen for the 34th and final time this season. He retired Kyle Schroedle on a grounder to Demetral at shortstop for the first out with Taylor advancing to third. Klawiter then struck out Logan Milene for the second out. Evan Sines then hit a deep fly ball to left field that CJ Cepicky (St. Louis, Missouri/Missouri) caught at the warning track to end the game and secure the series sweep.

“This was how the season was supposed to end, with seniors who have been in this program for a while finding a way to win it,” Copeland said.

Eastern Michigan took a 3-1 lead after three innings. NIU pulled within one run in the bottom of the fourth with a Aaron Harper (Hemet, California/Mt. St. Jacinto CC) sacrificial elevation. old people Jackson Stewart (Urbandale, Iowa/Des Moines DC Area), RJ Nowicki (Hoffman Estates, Illinois/Barrington) and Jacob Draeger (Johnston, Iowa/Des Moines Area CC) combined to top a scoreless fifth inning out of the bullpen. Summerhill’s two-out double in the fifth tied the game at 3-3.

Summerhill finished his career 3 for 4 on Saturday with two RBIs. Demetral and Bartel had a pair of hits. Erato scored two runs and walked one in the 201st game of his NIU career. Klawiter earned his first career save Saturday in the final relief appearance of his career.

The Huskies finished the season with a record of 21-33, an improvement of 11 wins from 2023 with a nine-win improvement in the Mid-American Conference alone at 14-16.

“This is a good year to take advantage of,” Copeland said. “My hope for the program is much higher than this. I love winning and I want to get to the point where if we have a 21-win season, it won’t be a good year. Take the same group and more than double our winning total and finishing where we did in the MAC, knowing that we let a couple of games slip away, shows that we had some proud moments and some opportunities that we let slip away. There were a lot of games that we could have pulled away from and we didn’t. I’m really excited about it. future of Huskie Baseball.”

—NIU—