It wasn’t a great weekend for Northwestern baseball, but the Wildcats at the very least salvaged a happy flight back from San Antonio, Texas, in their last game to put a tally in the win column for the first time this season.
A 7-5 win on Sunday over Villanova in the Consolation Game of the Irish Alamo Invitational moved NU to 1-6 on the year while ending a six-game losing streak to open the year. Northwestern hopped out to a 6-0 lead and withstood a furious late rally from Villanova to notch its first victory.
Sunday was the second showdown between two sets of Wildcats of the weekend, with those of the navy blue variety from Philadelphia taking the first game 4-3 on Friday morning. Senior pitcher Brandon Magallones made a great start, allowing just two earned runs (three total) over seven innings, striking out eight and scattering six hits. But the bullpen squandered his effort, allowing the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th inning on a hit-by-pitch, sacrifice bunt and double. The purple Wildcats went down in order in their half of the ninth to fall to 0-4 on the season.
Later on during the same day, NU faced off with the Incarnate Word from San Antonio, and met a similar fate, falling to the Cardinals 8-1. A rough start by junior pitcher Reed Mason – seven runs, three walks and a wild pitch over five innings – put the game out of hand early. Freshman pitcher Justin Yoss made his NU debut and was the lone bright spot, going three innings in long relief and giving up just one earned run, despite uncorking two wild pitches.
On Saturday, the ‘Cats finally matched up with a regional foe, Notre Dame. The baseball team couldn’t duplicate the football program’s traditional dominance of the Irish and fell 7-3. The majority of the game was close, and even noted Irish-killer junior outfielder/kicker Jack Mitchell couldn’t break through, lining out to first to end an NU threat in the top half of the eighth with UND leading 4-3. But then the wheels came off for the ‘Cats in the bottom half, as Cavan Biggio, son of Houston Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, ripped a two-run double into right field with the bases loaded to open things up for the Irish. NU couldn’t respond in the top of the ninth and fell to 0-6.
Northwestern will look to build off its victory in the last game of the Invitational with a three game series starting Friday in Hammond, Louisiana, against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, who are 5-3 on the year.