March 18, 2012
Box Score | Box Score
Site: Winter Haven, Fla. (Chain of Lakes Park Stadium)
Score: Northwestern 9, LIU Brooklyn 4
Records: NU (6-11, 0-0 Big Ten), LIU Brooklyn (8-9, 0-0 Northeast Conference)
Next NU Event: Monday, March 19 -- vs. Jacksonville State (Winter Haven, Fla.), 3 p.m. CT
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Kyle Ruchim totaled three hits, Zach Morton drove in a trio of runs and Brandon Magallones struck out nine opposing batters as Northwestern used an all-around team effort to defeat LIU Brooklyn Sunday, 9-4, at the 2012 RussMatt Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla.
Each of the nine batters in the starting lineup notched at least one hit and seven different Wildcats scored a run. Ruchim hit two of Northwestern's seven doubles on Sunday. Morton drove in three runs with a bases-clear extra-base knock of his own. For Ruchim, it was his second three-hit performance of the season; it was the first time Morton tallied three RBIs in a game in 2012.
Magallones' nine strikeouts in eight innings of work more than doubled his previous career-high of four. The freshman allowed three runs on four hits and walked only two batters on the day.
Julian Castro led off the bottom of the third with a double for the Blackbirds. The LIU left fielder advanced to third and then came in to score the game's first run on back-to-back groundouts to Morton at second base.
Magallones worked out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth. After Drew Walsh singled and scampered to second on an errant pick-off attempt, the right-hander struck out a pair of Blackbirds to end the threat.
NU catcher Geoff Rowan clubbed the third double of the day for the 'Cats with one away in the top of the fifth. Walker Moses followed with a base hit to right field putting runners at the corners with only one out. Hamilton Wise laid down a bunt and the Blackbirds neglected to cover first base, so he loaded the bases for Ruchim. The shortstop singled to left field and the runners moved up 90 feet with Rowan scoring to tie the score at one.
Morton came up and ripped a double over the left fielder that cleared the bases. Moses scored with ease from third, while Wise and Ruchim scored in close proximity of one another. Ruchim made a nice play to evade a sweep-tag-attempt from LIU's Jesse Brown.
The scoring continued for the 'Cats in the top of the sixth. Nick Linne drew a walk to start the inning. After Jack Livingston, who doubled over the center fielder's head in his first at-bat, was hit by a pitch, Rowan sacrificed himself to push the runners up 90 feet. Linne then came home on sacrifice fly to deep center field off the bat of Moses.
Livingston scored the inning's second and final run on a wild pitch from relief pitcher Emerson Morillo. That tally padded the Northwestern lead to five as it led 6-1 after five-and-a-half frames.
LIU climbed back to within three runs with two scores in their half of the sixth. Magallones unleashed two wild pitches with runners on third to account for the tallies. After six innings of play, Northwestern maintained a 6-3 advantage.
The Wildcats added plenty of insurance in their last at-bats. Wise began the top of the ninth by drawing his second base on balls of the game and Ruchim followed with his second double Sunday and sixth of the season. Wise scored and Ruchim moved to third when LIU's Skye Freeman balked. That run made it 7-4 in favor of the Wildcats. Paul Snieder added an RBI-double and Jack Havey drove home Snieder with a double of his own.
Snieder slid over to the mound to pitch the ninth inning for the Wildcats in a non-save situation. Brown homered down the line in left to make it 9-4, but the Blackbirds would come no closer. Snieder fanned two hitters in the inning, including Mike Garcia to end the game.
Magallones earned his third win in as many starts as a collegiate hurler. Matt Higginbotham was saddled with his first loss of the year for LIU Brooklyn.
Northwestern, now 2-2 on its spring break trip will continue play at the RussMatt Invitational Monday with a matinee against Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks have won the only two previous ballgames in the series. First pitch between the 'Cats and JSU is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT tomorrow at Chain of Lakes Park.
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