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    Northwestern Blanks Eastern Illinois, 1-0

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Jack Havey drove home the game-winning run in the first inning.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Jack Havey drove home the game-winning run in the first inning.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

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    March 16, 2012

    Site: Winter Haven, Fla. (Chain of Lakes Park Stadium)
    Score: Northwestern 1 , Eastern Illinois 0
    Records: NU (5-9, 0-0 Big Ten), Eastern Illinois (6-11, 0-0 Ohio Valley)
    Next NU Event: Saturday, March 17 -- vs. Navy (Winter Haven, Fla.), 8 a.m. CST

    WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Behind a trio of masterful performances on the mound the Northwestern Wildcats picked up their first win at the 2012 RussMat Invitational Friday morning, a 1-0 triumph over Eastern Illinois.

    The game had plenty of action early on. After a one-out single off the bat of Ryan Dineen, the EIU shortstop got too greedy with his lead from first base. Northwestern catcher Geoff Rowan took note and picked off the runner with a strong peg down to Jack Havey, who was at the bag to record the out.

    Havey also revved up NU's offense in the bottom of the opening frame. After Zach Morton and Paul Snieder reeled off back-to-back singles, Havey drove in his 10th run of the season with a sacrifice fly to left field that gave the 'Cats an early 1-0 advantage, one that would ultimately hold up Friday.

    In the third inning, Morton and Snieder each found holes in the infield for their second base hits of the day. With one out Havey got a pitch to drive from EIU's Christian Slazinik, but it settled in the left fielder's glove on the warning track. Nick Linne then flew out to center for the third putout and Northwestern was held in check.

    Morton found himself in scoring position yet again in the home-half of the fifth. The second baseman drew a one-out walk and moved over to third after Slazinik uncorked a pair of wild pitches. Havey belted another long fly ball, this time to center field, but it found the bottom of a glove once again and the Wildcats were held scoreless.

    Meanwhile, NU starting pitcher Francis Brooke was highly effective all morning long. The senior hurler scattered seven hits throughout his seven-plus innings of work against the Panthers. He walked only one and struck out three batters, including a pair to end the seventh inning in style.

    Snieder toed the rubber next and found himself in a bit of a jam with the bases loaded and nobody out following a single, an error, a hit batsmen and an intentional walk. The senior hunkered down mightily and struck out the EIU clean-up hitter, TJ McManus, and induced Ben Thoma to line out to Kyle Ruchim at shortstop to escape the stanza unscathed with the lead intact.

    The Hawaii native then tried to help out his own cause by chopping a single up the middle to start the eighth inning. That hit was the third of the day for Snieder.

    The next batter, Havey, ripped another line drive, but it was right at the second baseman and Snieder was narrowly doubled off and the rally was undone.

    Ruchim took the mound to try to nail down the victory and he did just that. The sophomore struck out the first batter looking, forced a foul pop-out to Havey for the second out and threw strike three past the third batter to collect his fourth save in five Northwestern victories.

    Brooke earned the win for the 'Cats, his first of the season. With seven scoreless frames he also lowered his ERA to an eye-popping 1.95 (6 ER/27.2 IP) on the year.

    The Wildcats will be back in action on Saturday with a twinbill at Chain of Lakes Park Stadium against two different squads. In game one Northwestern will take on Navy at 8 a.m. CT. Following that clash, NU will square off against Bucknell. First pitch for that game is tentatively set for noon CT.

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