Feb. 20, 2009
BRADENTON, Fla. -
Sophomore left-hander Eric Jokisch hurled a complete game and struck out a career-high nine batters as the Northwestern baseball team opened its 2009 season with a 5-3 win over Georgetown during the opening day of competition in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge.
It is the fifth career complete game for Jokisch who is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The victory marks the third straight season-opening win for the Wildcats.
After each team stranded a pair of baserunners in the second inning, Northwestern cashed in with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Consecutive hits and a hit batter loaded the bases with no one away before Trevor Stevens, who started the inning with a single, came in to score on a double-play grounder. Following another basehit, freshman Paul Snieder singled home Jake Goebbert to put the Wildcats up 2-0.
The Hoyas were able to cut into NU's lead in the top of the sixth inning as three straight singles filled the bases with no one out. A one-out single got Georgetown to within 2-1, but Jokisch was able to induce a 4-6-3 double play to prevent any further trouble.
The Wildcats made the missed opportunity pay in the bottom half of the sixth as they cashed in twice to extend their advantage to 4-1. With runners on the corners and no one down, pinch-hitter Jake Wilson perfectly exectued a squeeze bunt to bring home Chad Noble. Tommy Finn later contributed an RBI groundout to increase Northwestern's lead to three.
The 'Cats tacked on one final unearned insurance run in the eighth as Kenneth Avila came home from third when Stevens reached on a two-out error.
Georgetown made a late charge in the top of the ninth as an error opened the door for a pair of unearned runs. The Hoyas had the tying runs on base, but Jokisch recorded a strikeout to finish off the win.
The southpaw threw 123 pitches, 80 for strikes. Stevens and Tony Vercelli had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
Northwestern returns to action at noon Central time Saturday as it takes on Penn State.