Feb. 15, 2013
| First Pitch Invitational
| Final Score
|| NU 8, MU 1 (Morton, 1-0)
|| NU 1-0, MU 0-1
| Next NU Event
|| vs. Furman (Greenville, S.C. | Fluor Field), 11 a.m. CT
GREENVILLE, S.C. --Seven runs from the sixth inning on and a pair of masterful performances on the mound helped Northwestern emerge with a decisive 8-1 victory over the Miami RedHawks at the First Pitch Invitational on opening day in Greenville, S.C.
Kyle Ruchim collected four hits and reached base safely in all five of his appearances Friday. The versatile junior also stepped the mound to close out the game for the Wildcats with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
Miami dented the scoreboard first in the bottom of the opening inning. Matt Honchel doubled into the left field corner and came around to score on a two-out single up the middle to give his team a 1-0 lead.
After the first inning starting pitcher Zach Morton was sharp and efficient. The fifth-year senior picked up the victory after tossing 7.0 IP and allowing three hits while striking out four, including two in his final inning of work.
Facing a one-run deficit, the Wildcats tied it up in their half of the second inning. Walker Moses drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on slashing single the opposite way by catcher Scott Heelan. After Moses stole third base, Luke Dauch laced a single through the right side to give Northwestern its first tally of the season.
Both offenses went relatively quiet until the top of the sixth when NU got it rolling once again. Ruchim blasted a double to lead off the frame for his third hit of the day. The junior scampered to third base on a sacrifice bunt by clean-up hitter Jack Havey. Moses was hit by a pitch before Heelan dropped down a squeeze bunt up the right side, plating Ruchim and giving Northwestetern its first premier lead of the season, 2-1.
Though they could only muster one run in the sixth, NU put together another rally in the top of the seventh. Nick Linne drew a leadoff walk and found himself on third after a botched pickoff attempt by the RedHawks. Morton drilled a sacrifice fly to deep center field allowing Linne to score and Dauch to move up to third. Dauch came in to score when Ruchim drilled his fourth knock of the day up the middle. That made it 4-1 in favor of the Wildcats after six-and-a-half frames.
Northwestern added another run in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth to account for the final score. Trevor Stevens picked up his first hit of the season and moved to third when Antonio Freschet laced a double down the left field line for his first collegiate hit in his first at-bat.
Moses delivered the biggest and final blow of the inning with a two-run single to center field.
Northwestern's defense also played a pivotal role in the win. The Wildcats did not commit an error and turned a pair of double plays in the win.
Brooks Fiala was saddled with his first loss of the season Friday. Fiala allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven 'Cats.
The Wildcats continue the First Pitch Invitational Saturday against the Furman Paladins. Game two of the regular season gets underway at 11 a.m. CT.
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