March 2, 2014
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Northwestern scored early on Sunday, but not often enough as it erased a four-run deficit, but ultimately dropped the series finale to Tennessee Tech at Bush Stadium in Cookeville, Tenn., 8-6.
The Wildcats produced a season-high 18 hits in the game, but left 13 on base and had a quartet of errors that helped Tennessee Tech to score four unearned runs and secure its 11th victory of the season. Northwestern's 18 hits Sunday were the most since the lineup pounded out 19 on April 7, 2013 at Purdue.
For the third-straight game, the Wildcats got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Designated hitter Joe Hoscheit opened the scoring with a RBI single that scored Walker Moses who had earlier opened the game with a base hit up the middle.
The Golden Eagles answered by scoring four runs with two outs off Northwestern starting pitcher Reed Mason in the bottom of the first to take a three-run lead. The first two runs scored on an RBI single to center field by Dylan Bosheers, with two more coming on a base hit to left field by David Allen. The home team added another run by way of a fielder's choice in the second inning to take a 5-1 lead into the third.
Northwestern got back in the scoring column by plating a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Matt Hopfner, who entered play Sunday with a conference-best .414 batting average, doubled to right-center field to bring home Jack Mitchell for NU's second tally of the day. Two batters later, shortstop Cody Stevens blooped a base hit to the opposite field that allowed Hoscheit to score and shrink the 'Cats' deficit to two runs after two-and-half innings of play.
The Wildcats trailed by three runs heading into the seventh inning when the offense posted another crooked number - three- to even the ledger at 6-6. Singles from Hopfner, Straub and Stevens started loaded the bases with nobody out before Nick Linne hit legged out an infield hit that scored Hopfner for the first run. Moses hit a sacrifice fly to center field that brought Straub home and Heelan's base hit into right field allowed Stevens to score to tie the game.
NU's momentum was short-lived unfortunately because the Golden Eagles scored an unearned run in the bottom of the frame to take back a one-run lead. The Wildcats came up empty in the top of the eighth and Tennessee Tech added an insurance run to take its lead back up to a pair of runs, which ended up being the final margin.
Stevens had a career-high three hits for Northwestern, while Linne produced three hits for the fifth time in his career. Making his first start of the season, NU's Mitchell also matched a career-high with three hits, including a double.
Northwestern will make its second of three trips to Florida this season next weekend. The Wildcats are scheduled to visit Tampa to take on the South Florida Bulls in a three-game series beginning Friday, March 7 at 6:05 p.m. CT.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!