March 20, 2007
BRADENTON, Fla. -
Freshman Joe Muraski started the first game of his collegiate career and was in total control from start to finish. He pitched all nine innings as Northwestern avenged a 10-7 Sunday loss to UMass with a 4-2 victory Tuesday afternoon at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Muraski was the difference as he halted the Wildcats six-game losing streak in just his third career appearance. The win ups NU's record to 3-10 and 1-3 in Florida.
Offensively, the Wildcats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when right fielder Max Mann (Los Angeles, Calif./Brentwood) hit a line-drive double to the left centerfield wall to score Caleb Fields (Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick) from first base. Fields lined a single to center to reach base. It was Mann's third double of the season.
Fields and Mann were at it again in the bottom of the third inning, this time each knocking in RBI with back-to-back singles. Designated hitter Antonio Mule (Lodi, N.J./Lodi) walked and advanced to second on first baseman Jake Goebbert's (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) single through the right side of the infield. Fields followed with a line-drive single to left to score Mule. Mann then rolled a single through the middle of the infield to score Goebbert. After a Tommy Finn (Valparaiso, Ind./Andrean) walk loaded the bases, freshman catcher Chad Noble (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall) coaxed another free pass for the easy RBI. Fields scored on the bases-loaded walk. After a Massachusetts pitching change, a strikeout ended the Wildcat threat.
Neither team found the scoring column until Massachusetts scored two runs on a two-out double. Wildcat hurler Joe Muraski (Rothschild, Wis./D.C. Everest) was masterful on the hill. A pair of walks in the top of the seventh inning allowed UMass to plate its two runs.
That was all the Minutemen would muster against Muraski.
Muraski faced the minimum number of hitters through the first three innings with a little help from his defense. In the second inning, a leadoff double was thrown out at third on an attempted sacrifice bunt and three pitches later Noble picked off a runner at first base.
In the fourth inning, a pair of Massachusetts singles put runners on first and third with one out. Muraski followed up with an infield pop out and a weak groundout to second base to end the threat.
Northwestern left 14 runners on base and had chances to break the game open, but three Minutemen pitchers held the offense at bay. NU out-hit Massachusetts 12-6 in the game.
The Wildcats are back in action Thursday, March 22 when they take on Ohio State at 1:30 p.m. at IMG Academy Park. The Buckeyes and Wildcats do not meet during the Big Ten regular season and will play a nonconference game.