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    March 25, 1998

    Chicagoland Natives Leading Wildcat Baseball Team

    Seven Area Players Among Big Ten Leaders

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Seven Chicagoland natives, and current members of the Northwestern baseball team, rank among this season's Big Ten Conference hitting and pitching leaders. The Wildcats enter Wednesday night's contest at Stetson with a 10-5 overall mark, the team's best start since 1995.

    Sophomore third baseman J.P. Williamson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) is second in the conference in on-base percentage (.547) and third in batting (.429). He currently owns a 12-game hitting streak and was a third-team All-Big Ten selection last year as a freshman.

    Fifth-year senior outfielder Mike Stritch (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) is tied for second in the conference in doubles (seven) and is 10th in slugging percentage (.635). Stritch has hit two hom runs this season, giving him 26 for his career. He ranks second in NU history in home runs, surpassing Joe Girardi and Matt Huff earlier this season.

    Senior outfielder Ken Kilian (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) is currently tied for second in triples (two) and is tied for fourth in steals (seven). He is 7-for-8 this season on the basepaths and 31-for-40 in his Wildcat career.

    Sophomore designated hitter Patrick Thompson (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) ranks sixth in the league in RBIs (19). He is third on the team in hitting (.397) and was a third-team all-conference selection last year at DH.

    The Wildcat pitching staff is led this season by junior right-hander John Seaman (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier). He is tied for the league lead in wins with a perfect 4-0 mark. Seaman also currently ranks second in lowest opponents batting average (.179), is tied for third in appearances (seven) and is sixth in ERA (3.16). He has moved into fifth place on the NU all-time appearance chart with 59.

    Junior righty Nick Franzese (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), in his first full season on the mound, ranks ninth in the Big Ten in lowest batting average against (.260). Freshman right-hander J.J. Standring (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) is tied with Seaman for third in appearances (seven).

    The Wildcats open the 1998 home season this Fri., March 27, at 3 p.m. against defending Big Ten tournament champion Ohio State. The teams play a 3 p.m. single game on Friday, 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday and 1 p.m. single game on Sunday. Rocky Miller Park is located on the corner of Ashland and Isabella, just north of Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston.