Feb. 22, 2013
| vs. Ball State (Nashville, Tenn.)
| Final Score
|| NU 5, BSU 2
| Winning Pitcher
|| Zach Morton, 2-0, 1.29 ERA
|| NU 2-1, BSU 2-3
| Next NU Event
|| vs. Northern Kentucky (Nashville, Tenn. | Shelby Park), Saturday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m. CT
| Next NU Event
|| vs. Saint Louis (Nashville, Tenn. | Shelby Park), Saturday, Feb. 23, 4 p.m. CT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A three-run rally with two outs in the fourth inning provided all the cushion Northwestern needed as it topped Ball State, 5-2, at E.S. Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn. Friday night.
For the second time in as many starts, fifth-year senior Zach Morton was sensational on the rubber for Northwestern (2-1). The Evanston, Ill., native earned his second win of the season as he tossed seven innings of one-run baseball to hold the Cardinals at bay. Morton scattered five hits and struck out four Ball State batters on the evening,
Northwestern dented the scoreboard first on a brisk Friday evening in the Music City. Leadoff man Trevor Stevens laced a double down the left field line and eventually scored when starting pitcher Zach Morton helped his cause with a two-bagger of his own. After an inning of play, Northwestern led the Cardinals, 1-0.
The Wildcats extended their lead in the top half of the second inning. Luke Dauch drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second a batter later when freshman Jake Schieber tallied his first collegiate hit. Both runners gained 90 feet on a sacrifice off the bat of backstop Jake Straub. Dauch scored on an RBI-groundout by second baseman Antonio Freschet to give the 'Cats a two-run lead.
Ball State came right back and sliced the deficit in half during its next at-bat. Morton retired the first two batters he faced before issuing back-to-back free passes. The second of those two batters to walk came around to score from second base on a single to center field making it 2-1 in favor of Northwestern.
The lengthy two-out rally in the top of the fourth frame helped the Wildcats extend their lead to four runs at 5-1. Ball State starting pitcher Nestor Bautista began to unravel as he issued two walks, surrendered a pair of singles, balked in a run and hit a batter to end his outing after 3.2 IP.
Walker Moses and Morton collected RBI-singles with Straub, Stevens and Moses himself scoring the runs in the inning for Northwestern. Stevens also picked up his first stolen base of the season in the inning when he nabbed third with Morton at the dish.
Ball State reliever Clay Manering did his best to hold NU in check and he did just that as he sent down eight in a row until Straub earned an infield single to open the top of the eighth inning.
Reed Mason made his second appearance out of the bullpen for the Wildcats in as many games to open bottom of the eighth. The southpaw notched his first collegiate strikeout in the frame when he sent down T.J. Weir swinging.
The Cardinals picked up a run in the inning on an RBI-double to make it 5-2 in favor of NU, but a splendid pick-up and throw by Stevens ended the inning without further damage.
Jack Quigley came on to work a 1-2-3 ninth inning to nail down his first save of the season for the 'Cats and his first overall since 2011.
In addition to flexing its offensive muscle Friday, the 'Cats flashed a fair amount of leather during the ball game. All four infielders and three outfielders handed in clean defensive sheets, and as a team Northwestern did not commit an error for the second time in three games this season.
The Wildcats will play their first doubleheader of the season Saturday, Feb. 23 in Nashville. NU will take on Northern Kentucky for the first time in program history at 1 p.m. before playing the Saint Louis Billikens in the nightcap immediately following the first game. Both contests will be played at historic Shelby Park.
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