TAMPA, Fla. -- Northwestern's bats came alive in a four-run seventh inning to overcome a late deficit and pull out a thrilling 6-4 victory in the series finale at South Florida Sunday.
The Wildcats struck first Sunday, as Jake Schieber led off the game with a booming double off the left-center field wall, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Zach Jones.
The small ball continued in the second, when Luke Dauch singled, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third, and scored on a passed ball. USF bounced right back in the bottom half of the frame though, capitalizing on a throwing error to tie the score.
The Bulls pushed across two more runs against NU starter Dan Tyson in the bottom of the fifth, and held a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning. Nine outs away from dropping the getaway-day game, the Wildcats put together the rally that had been eluding them all weekend.
Freshman Matt Hopfner got the 'Cats going with a single up the middle, his second hit of the afternoon. Dauch followed with a textbook bunt, and beat out the throw to first. The Bulls made a pitching change, and the reliever immediately plunked both Nick Linne and Schieber, which forced in a run.
Scott Heelan then got the breakthrough hit, lacing a two-run single to left to give Northwestern the lead for good. After a well-executed double steal, Jones' deep sacrifice fly gave Northwestern some insurance.
In his first start since the 2012 campaign, Tyson lasted 8.0 solid innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out five. The southpaw's five strikeouts were one shy of matching his previous career high. Closer Jack Quigley picked up his third career save with a scoreless ninth.
Dauch tallied a season-high three hits Sunday and he scored two runs for NU.
Northwestern will return to the Sunshine State next weekend for the RussMat Invitational, where they will take on Evansville, Maine, LIU Brooklyn and Bucknell.
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