March 14, 2014
Game 1 Box Score | Game 2 Box Score
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Northwestern lost both games of a doubleheader at the RussMatt Invitational Friday, falling to Maine 8-4 before coming short against LIU Brooklyn, 9-4, in the nightcap.
Matt Hopfner continued on to hit at an elite level for the Wildcats Friday. The Edina, Minn., native collected five hits in seven at-bats for Northwestern in the two games. He drove in two runs and scored a pair as well. Designated hitter Jack Livingston had five hits as well, including a career-high four in game one against Maine.
Here is a look back at Friday's action from central Florida:
Maine struck first Friday with a trio of runs in the top of the second inning. Alex Calbick drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on RBI groundout three batters later. Scott Heath, who had Maine's only hit in the inning, also scored on a RBI groundout to third base. The final run of the frame scored on a wild pitch by NU starting pitcher Reed Mason.
In the third inning, it was Northwestern's turn to hang a crooked number on the scoreboard. Hopfner picked up his second hit of the ballgame in as many at-bats with one away and he moved up 90 feet when Zach Jones poked a two-out single through the right side two batters later. Freshman Joe Hoscheit drove in Hopfner from second base on a sharp single to right field. Jones scored the second run on Livingston's base hit through the right side and Hoscheit came home to even the score when Jake Schieber picked up the Wildcats' fourth consecutive single. The rally tied the game at 3-3 after three innings of play.
The Black Bears wasted little time in taking back the lead with a run in the top of the of the fourth. Heath picked his second hit of the game with one out and scored on a double off the bat of Shane Bussey. Maine added another tally in the top of the fifth and two more in the sixth to extend its lead to a game-high four runs, 7-3.
The Wildcats got back on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nick Linne and Cody Stevens led off with back-to-back singles and each moved up into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Luke Dauch. Hopfner then drove in his first run of the ballgame on a ground ball to Bussey at third, bringing Linne home. After six innings, NU trailed Maine, 7-4.
Maine picked up one more insurance run in the top of the ninth by capitalizing on three Northwestern errors to secure the four-run victory, 8-4.
Joe Hoscheit got Northwestern three quick runs with one swing in the top of the first inning. The freshman hit a screaming line drive over the outstretched glove of LIU's right fielder and motored all the way around for his first career home run. Walker Moses had singled to lead off the game and Hopfner walked, and both 'Cats scored on Hoscheit's rocket.
The Blackbirds answered quickly with a pair of runs in their half of the first off NU starter Dan Tyson. The designated home team scored three more times in the bottom of the second to take the lead for good.
Northwestern trailed 7-3 in the top of the sixth when it threatened to climb back. Hopfner picked up his second single of the nightcap to lead things off and Livingston followed with a base knock into right field. Hopfner eventually made it to third base with one out, LIU starter Brian Drapeau induced back-to-back fly balls to end the threat.
The 'Cats finally did break through with another run in the seventh inning. Jack Mitchell lined a hard single off the third baseman. Two batters later, Stevens singled to left field before RJ Watters recorded his first collegiate hit with a single up the middle that loaded the bases. Drapeau then plunked Hopfner to force in Mitchell and get the Wildcats within three. NU left the bases loaded however as reliever Evan Flood notched a strikeout and groundout to end the frame.
The Blackbirds took advantage of three walks and a single to respond with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. LIU's Pete Leonello delivered the two-out single to add to his team's lead.
Sophomore Jake Stolley pitched a career-high 4.0 innings of relief in the game. He also recorded Northwestern's only three strikeouts on the mound against LIU.
The Wildcats conclude their stint at the RussMatt Invitational on Saturday, March 15 against Bucknell. In last season's meeting against the Bison at Chain of Lakes Park, NU clobbered Bucknell, 17-2. Saturday's first pitch is set for 10 a.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!