NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

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    April 16, 1998

    Wildcats to Face Indiana

    Northwestern Wildcats (18-14, 4-8 Big Ten)
    at Indiana Hoosiers (21-19, 6-6 Big Ten)
    April 17-19, 1998 - Bloomington, Ind.
    

    Northwestern travels to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend for a four-game series against the Hoosiers. This is the third-straight weekend the Wildcats have been on the road. NU won both of its midweek contests against Lewis and Northeastern Illinois, outscoring the two teams, 15-2. Sophomore DH Brian Baron was 5-for-7 in the two games this week. On the mound against NE Illinois, sophomore lefty Dan Padgett and freshman righty Jacob Briskman allowed just three hits and fanned eight batters in the 9-0 shutout.

    Probable Starting Pitchers  
    *   Friday - Chris Hargan (Sr., RHP, 2-4, 7.86 ERA)
    Last:  L 8-5 at Penn State (6.0 IP - CG, 9H, 8R, 7ER, 0BB, 9K)
    *   Sat. game 1 - Phil Rosengren (Jr., RHP, 0-3, 8.88 ERA)
    Last:  ND 5-4 at Penn State (5.1 IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K)
    *   Sat. game 2 - Nick Franzese (Jr., RHP, 3-2, 6.31 ERA)
    Last:  W 6-2 vs. Lewis (7.1 IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K)
        or
        J.J. Standring (Fr., RHP, 0-1, 5.12 ERA)
    Last:  ND 11-14 at Penn State (3.0 IP, 5H, 7R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K)
    *   Sunday - John Seaman (Jr., RHP, 8-2, 3.40 ERA)
    Last:  L 11-14 at Penn State (2.1 IP, 6H, 7R, 0ER, 1BB, 0K)
    
    Record vs. Indiana

    This weekend marks game Nos. 118-121 in the all-time series between Indiana and Northwestern. The Hoosiers lead the series, 64-51-2. The two teams have not met since April 8-10, 1995, in Bloomington. NU and IU split that four-game set.

    Head Coach Paul Stevens

    Paul Stevens (Lewis, 1976) is in his 11th season as a collegiate head coach, all of which have been at the helm of the Wildcat program. He currently owns a 284-302-4 career mark. His 284 wins rank second on the all-time NU list, behind only George McKinnon's 304 wins from 1962-81. Stevens was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1995.

    Stritch, Kurella Hit for the Cycle

    Fifth-year senior Mike Stritch hit for the cycle in NU's 11-6 victory over Grand Canyon on Feb. 21. He knocked a triple in the eighth inning to complete the cycle, and concluded the afternoon 5-for-5 with three runs and five RBIs.

    Not to be outdone, freshman shortstop Jeremy Kurella also hit for the cycle in the first game of the Boston College twinbill on March 7. He was the second Wildcat in six games to accomplish the feat. Kurella singled in the first, homered in the third, tripled in the fourth and doubled in the fifth inning. He ended the game 4-for-4 with a walk, four runs scored and two RBIs.

    Seaman Shutting Them Down

    Junior righty John Seaman is making a serious bid for Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors. A candidate for the Rotary Smith Award (presented to the college baseball player of the year), he has made 13 appearances this season, eight as a starter and five out of the bullpen. He currently leads the Big Ten in wins (eight) and is sixth in ERA (3.40).

    Seaman was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on March 30 after earning wins at UCF, at Stetson and vs. Ohio State, all of which made last year's NCAA regionals. See the attached flyer for more info. as well as his game-by-game stats.

    Seaman Moving Up the Appearance Chart

    With his 13 appearances on the mound this year, John Seaman now has 65 career appearances as a Wildcat, fourth on the all-time NU chart. The list: (1) Brian Cummins, 83 from 1992-95; (2) Josh Levey, 75 from 1994-97; (3) Jason Wallace, 69 from 1983-86; (4) John Seaman, 65 from 1996-present.

    Kurella - Freshman of the Year Candidate

    Shortstop Jeremy Kurella is making a bid for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He opened the year by hitting for the cycle in just his eighth collegiate contest.

    Thus far, he is hitting .352 with one homer and 21 RBIs while hitting in the two slot. The switch hitter also leads the team in runs scored (30) and is second in the Big Ten in triples (four).

    Defensively, he has started all 32 contests for NU at shortstop, forming the league's best double-play tandem with second baseman Ollie Dunn. Kurella is third in the conference in assists (107) and sixth in double plays turned (28). See the attached flyer for more information.

    Way Back, That Ball is Gone

    The Wildcats have hit 29 homers in their 32 games this season, unlike last year when NU managed just 23 homers in 55 games. In fact, 12 players have at least one homer this year.

    Freshman catcher Joe Hietpas and fifth-year senior outfielder Mike Stritch lead the squad with five homers this season.

    Stritch Moving Up Home Run Charts

    Fifth-year senior Mike Stritch currently ranks second on the all-time school list with 29 career homers. Eric Mogentale set the record of 36 career homers from 1981-84. Stritch entered the year tied for second with Matt Huff and current New York Yankee catcher Joe Girardi.

    Stritch Ties Big Ten Single-Game Record

    Last Friday at Penn State, Mike Stritch tied a 41-year-old Big Ten record with six hits in a game. Only two other players in conference history had recorded six hits in a Big Ten game. Purdue's Bill Gorman did it against Iowa in 1957 and NU's Don Burson did it against Wisconsin in 1948.

    Stritch ended the Penn State series batting 13-for-18 (.722) with nine runs scored and 10 RBIs. He was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday.

    Baron on Six-Game Hitting Streak

    Sophomore DH Brian Baron enters the Indiana series with a six-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .571 (12-for-21). He has four multiple-hit efforts in the streak, including three-hit games at Penn State on Friday and vs. Lewis on Tuesday.

    His third inning single on Wednesday at Northeastern Illinois marked his 100th career hit. Baron, who was named third-team All-Big Ten last year as a freshman, leads the team in batting at .378 and is second with a .646 slugging percentage.

    Milestone Notes

    * Sophomore Patrick Thompson needs just six hits to reach 100 for his career.

    * With his three RBIs on Wednesday, Mike Stritch has moved into fifth place on the all-time NU runs batted in chart with 128. Jon Osborne (1980-83) is in fourth place with 132.

    * John Seaman needs one more victory to become just the ninth Wildcat to record nine wins in a season. Only four 'Cats have ever recorded 10 wins in a season. The record is 11, set by Grady Hall in 1986 when he went 11-1.

    * Jeremy Kurella needs just one more triple to become the 13th Wildcat to record five in a season. The last to do so was first-team All-Big Ten outfielder Jim Reeder in 1995. The single-season record is eight by former major leaguer Mike Huff in 1984.

    First Inning Prowess

    The Wildcats have scored 26 first-inning runs this season, and at least one first-inning tally in 14 of the 32 games. The 'Cats are 11-3 when scoring in the first inning.

    No Homers Allowed, Just Double Plays

    The Wildcats have turned 43 double plays this season, tops in the Big Ten. Also, Wildcat pitchers have allowed just 21 homers thus far, the third-fewest in the conference.

    Tough Schedule

    This year's early-season schedule was definitely one of the toughest of any team in the nation. Of the first 13 opponents NU faced this season, six of them (Texas Tech, Central Florida, South Alabama, Wichita State, Stetson and Ohio State) earned a berth into last year's NCAA regionals. The Wildcats won more than their share of those contests, going a combined 7-5 against those teams.

    A Young Team

    Twenty of the 30 players on the Northwestern roster are either freshmen or sophomores. There are only five seniors on this year's squad: second baseman Ollie Dunn, pitcher Chris Hargan, outfielder Ken Kilian, infielder Chris Pedersen and outfielder Mike Stritch. Kilian has a year of eligibility remaining after missing all of 1997 due to a hamstring injury.

    Are You Ready For Some Baseball?

    Three members of the NU baseball team also play football for the Wildcats. Freshman pitcher J.J. Standring is a punter, freshman pitcher Nick Kreinbrink plays quarterback, while junior outfielder Kyle Sanders is a safety. All three have an opportunity to earn starting jobs on the gridiron next fall.

    WNUR Radio Schedule

    Six more Wildcat baseball games will air on WNUR 89.3 FM, the Northwestern student radio station. The list: April 22 vs. Northeastern Illinois; April 24 and 26 vs. Purdue; April 28 vs. Northern Illinois; May 8 and 10 vs. Minnesota.

    NU Retires Joe Girardi's Number 12

    On Feb. 10, former Wildcat catcher and current New York Yankee Joe Girardi became the first Wildcat baseball player to have his number retired. The ceremony was done in conjunction with his induction into the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame.

    Girardi ranks among the top-10 all-time at NU in batting average (.351), homers (24), games played (208), at-bats (646), hits (227), RBIs (156), doubles (45), walks (100) and total bases (364). Current senior Ollie Dunn, who started the season with No. 12, will be allowed to finish the season with that number before it is placed in permanent retirement.

    Wildcats on the Web

    Complete results of all Northwestern baseball games this year, including box scores, will be available to fans and media on the official web site of the Wildcats. The internet address is NUSPORTS.COM.