After being swept by the Minnesota Golden Gophers last weekend, Northwestern baseball (13-23) rebounded with a wild stretch of games. The Wildcats went 3-1 this week, starting off with an extra-inning win against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday and ending with the ‘Cats taking two of three games from Michigan in Ann Arbor this weekend. Here’s a game-by-game analysis of this week in Wildcat baseball:
April 17: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs. Northwestern
The Wildcats bested the Milwaukee Panthers 4-3 at Rocky Miller Park Tuesday afternoon. After 11 innings, a Kyle Ruchim squeeze bunt brought Zach Morton in for the winning run.
Nick Friar took the mound for NU, marking the first start of his collegiate career, and gave up just one run over five innings. In the second inning, Milwaukee’s Nick Lingvay drove in a run on a fielder’s choice with runners at second and third.
The Wildcats immediately responded with three runs of their own, capitalizing on Milwaukee starter Josh Uhen’s control issues.
Uhen, who only lasted 1.2 innings, walked three Wildcats and hit one more with a pitch in an inning that featured a bases-loaded RBI single from Luke Dauch, an RBI walk from Paul Snieder and an RBI Hit by Pitch from Jack Havey. Josh Uhen was immediately replaced on the mound.
Ethan Bramschreiber and Michael Jahns relieved Friar, but Jahns surrendered the Northwestern lead in the top of the eighth when Lingvay and Michael Porcaro notched two-out RBI singles for UWM, tying the score at three runs apiece.
In the 11th inning, Northwestern rallied for the win. Morton reached on a bunt single down the first base line and advanced to second on a passed ball. Snieder was intentionally walked and the pair moved to second and third on a balk by UWM’s Jake Long. Ruchim then squeezed the winning bunt down the first base line, bringing home Morton and securing a 4-3 walkoff win for the Wildcats.
April 21: Northwestern at Michigan
In the first game of a rain-caused double-header in Ann Arbor, the Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines with a three-run rally in 11th inning and successfully curbed Michigan’s response.
Francis Brooke started for Northwestern and pitched 5.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits, and navigated his way out of trouble in the first three innings without surrendering a run.
After a sluggish start, the Wildcat bats heated up in the top of the fourth inning with a leadoff single by Zach Morton. Kyle Ruchim followed suit, and Jack Havey drew a walk to load the bases. Morton scored when Michigan shortstop Dylan Delaney mishandled a routine grounder. Havey also scored on a wild pitch, giving the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead.
Michigan scored in the sixth and again in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings, but Colby Everett smacked a go-ahead single to right field that drove Ruchim in, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning. A throwing error by Michigan catcher Cole Martin and a squeeze bunt from Nick Linne gave Northwestern a 6-2 lead, which turned into a 6-5 win after the ‘Cats quashed the Wolverines' comeback attempt.
If the Wildcats were tired from the prior extra inning affair, they didn’t show it, sweeping the double header with a 8-5 win over the Wolverines in the nightcap.
Brandon Magallones started for Northwestern and earned the win, despite surrendering five runs over six innings to Michigan.
Down 1-0 in the top of the second, Northwestern tacked on two runs courtesy of a throwing error-assisted RBI single from Luke Dauch and another from Hamilton Wise.
Michigan responded with another run of their own in the bottom half of the second to tie the game at 2-2, but Paul Snieder retook the lead for Northwestern with a lead-off homer, his fifth of the season, that the Wildcats wouldn’t relinquish.
April 22: Northwestern at Michigan
The Wildcats’ trip to Ann Arbor ended on a sour note Sunday, as Northwestern fell to Michigan in walk-off fashion, 5-4.
Three Northwestern solo home runs, two from Kyle Ruchim and one from Zach Havey, weren’t enough to curtail the Wolverines, who were able to get their first batter of the inning on base seven times.
Ruchim’s first and Havey’s only homer came in the second and third innings respectively, but Michigan tagged Northwestern starter Zach Morton for four runs in the bottom of the third inning.
The Wildcats were able to tally runs in the seventh and eighthto tie the game at four runs, but Michigan DH John DiLaura gave the Wolverines a walk-off win with an RBI single to center field.
Next week, Northwestern opens up a five-game home stand on Wednesday against Chicago State, followed by a game against Naperville’s North Central College and a three game series with Illinois.