March 14, 2013
| vs. LIU Brooklyn
| Final Score
|| NU 12, LIU 3
| Winning Pitcher
|| Zach Morton
|| NU 5-5, LIU 0-11
| Next NU Event
|| vs. North Dakota State (Winter Haven, Fla.), March 15, 3:30 p.m. CT
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Northwestern exploded for a season-high 12 runs on a year's-best 15 hits in a decisive 12-3 victory over LIU Brooklyn in its opening game at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla. Thursday.
Three Wildcats (5-5) drove in two runs apiece, while five players notched multi-hit games. Jack Havey had three hits and two RBI, while Kyle Ruchim doubled twice and scored three times. It was the highest output of runs that the Wildcats have produced since a 12-7 victory over Chicago State on April 24, 2012.
NU's (5-5) starting pitcher Zach Morton kept the Blackbirds (0-11) off balance from the start. The fifth-year senior struck out five and collected his third win of the young season, while lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.63. He has not allowed an earned run since the second inning of his second start of the season on Feb. 22 vs. Ball State.
Northwestern scored early and often in its first game at the 2013 RussMatt Central Florida Invitational at Chain of Lakes Park. Morton got the offense going in the first with a base hit to center field before Ruchim ripped a double to left to put two runners into scoring position. Morton scored when Havey extended his hitting streak to seven games and picked up an RBI single to left.
After being held off the scoreboard in the second inning, the Wildcats added two more tallies in their half of the third. Morton walked and Ruchim doubled for the second consecutive time to start the action. Morton scored on an RBI fielder's choice by Jack Mitchell and Ruchim followed on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Walker Moses.
NU's lead ballooned to six runs with three more scores in the fourth inning. This time Jake Straub led off with a single, Josh Perlmutter drew a base on balls and Trevor Stevens singled as well. Straub scored on a sacrifice fly by Morton and Perlmutter then came home on one from Ruchim. Stevens scored when Havey blistered a base hit to left to collect his second RBI of the ballgame. After four innings of play at Chain of Lakes, the Wildcats led 6-0.
The parade at the plate for Northwestern resumed in the sixth inning. The Wildcats batted around for the first time this season as they plated four more runs in the frame. Perlmutter tripled to deep right center field and scored on a sac fly by Stevens. Mitchell and pinch hitter Zach Jones also drove in runs during the inning. Jones' sacrifice fly to right field marked the first RBI of his young career. Havey scored the inning's final run on a wild pitch from LIU relief pitcher Chas Lacko.
The Wildcats added another run in the top of the seventh when Cody Libman roped a single to center field and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Morton, his second of the game.
The Blackbirds got on the board for the first time in their half of the seventh inning by scoring two unearned runs in the frame. For Morton, the inning snapped a streak of 19.1 consecutive innings with allowing a run dating back to Feb. 22.
LIU Broooklyn picked up another unearned runs off Northwestern reliever Ethan Bramschreiber in the eighth. After the score, however, the right-hander, who was making his team-high fifth appearance, buckled down and picked up two strikeouts with two runners aboard to avoid any further damage. The junior added a third strikeout in the ninth inning as he worked to seal the victory.
Northwestern will continue the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational Friday against North Dakota State. The Wildcats, led by senior Luke Farrell on the mound, will take on the Bison in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. The first pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m. CT at Chain of Lakes Park.
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