May 16, 2014
Northwestern 6, Ohio State 2 |
Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium Columbus, Ohio
Box Score | Box Score
Columbus, Ohio -- Northwestern used a second-straight strong pitching performance and a handful of timely hits to secure a series victory over Ohio State Friday with a resounding 6-2 win at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.
In total, the Wildcats drove in five runs with two outs for the second game in a row as they took a series from the Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio for the first time since 1989.
For the second day in a row, the Wildcats jumped on the Buckeyes early by scoring in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Luke Dauch used his legs to put the pressure on Ohio State. The designated hitter began the game with an infield single and proceeded to steal second for his team-high ninth theft of the season. Dauch later advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Heelan. Jack Mitchell then drove in his third run of the series and NU's first of the day with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Northwestern starting pitcher Reed Mason retired the first five Buckeyes he faced Friday before Jacob Bosiokovic doubled to right field with two outs in the bottom of the second. Mason stranded Ohio State's left fielder right there though when he fanned Ryan Leffel for his second inning-ending strikeout in as many opportunities.
After issuing a walk to Matt Hopfner, the game's second batter in the top of the first inning, Ohio State starter Travis Lakins retired nine Wildcats in a row through the second and third innings. Heelan snapped the streak when he blasted his 12th double of the season to right-center field to open the fourth. Lakins also hit Joe Hoscheit with a pitch in the inning, but Northwestern could not increase its one-run lead.
Mason continued to cruise through Ohio State's lineup the second time around. The southpaw recorded four strikeouts during his second run through the Buckeyes and did not allow a runner past second base. He allowed only one hit, Bosiokovic's second-inning double, through five innings on the bump.
On the other side, Lakins was keeping the 'Cats off balance after the rocky first inning. After Heelan's leadoff double in the fourth inning, NU did not register another hit until Hoscheit doubled over the head of the center fielder with two outs in the top of the sixth. The freshman was stranded there, however, when Lakins notched his sixth strikeout to end the stanza.
The third time through the batting order did not begin in a fortuitous fashion for Mason. Nick Sergakis lined a single past a diving Cody Stevens and into left field, becoming the first leadoff hitter to reach for OSU in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Ronnie Dawson then hit his third home run of the season to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the series, 2-1. Mason recovered to get the next two hitters to fly out before orchestrating his seventh strikeout of the day to tie a career high and end the sixth inning.
The Wildcats tried to get the runs right back in the top of the seventh. Catcher Jake Straub singled to open it up, and two batters later, pinch hitter Reid Hunter split the middle of the diamond with a rope up the middle against OSU reliever Jake Post. Hopfner later walked on four pitches to load the bases with two outs and set the stage for Heelan. The Gurnee, Ill., native fell behind in the count, 0-2, but he worked it full and then cleared the bases with his second double of the game, a shot down the line in left, to put Northwestern back on top, 4-2.
Mason kept the Buckeyes off the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh and handed the ball over to Hoscheit in the eighth. Sergakis hit a leadoff single, but NU's right-hander got a big lift from his defense with Dawson at the dish. OSU's center fielder blistered a ball to Hopfner at first base and the freshman fielded and threw to Stevens to start a big double play, the only one of the game. Hoscheit then got Ohio State's third -place hitter, Troy Kuhn, to ground out to Stevens to end the inning.
The Wildcats added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth against OSU's closer Trace Dempsey. Pinch hitter Josh Perlmutter was hit by a pitch with one out, and two batters later, Heelan delivered a crushing blow once again. Heelan hammered his first career triple to right-center field to bring Perlmutter home. Heelan scored when Mitchell flipped a base hit to right field to push Northwestern's lead to four runs.
In the bottom of the ninth Hoscheit got a fly ball to Mitchell, a grounder to Hopfner and his only strikeout, punching out Bosiokovic to end the ballgame and nail down his second save in as many days.
The Wildcats registered double-digit hits for the second game in a row, recording 10 in Friday's victory. Heelan notched three hits for the fourth time this season, while driving in a career-high four runs at the plate. Hoscheit collected a career-high three hits and Mitchell drove in two runs for the second day in a row.
Mason scattered only three hits over seven innings, while matching a career high with seven strikeouts. He secured his second win of the season.
Northwestern will conclude the 2014 regular season against the Buckeyes on Saturday, May 17 at 11:05 a.m. CT. The game will once again be televised live on the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins handling the play-by-play and Danan Hughes providing analysis. Senior Nick Friar is the probable starting pitcher for the Wildcats, while Greg Greve is expected to get the nod for Ohio State.
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