March 22, 2010
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -
Sophomore Zach Morton struck out 10 on the mound and collected three hits at the plate, but Northwestern fell victim to a late Cornell rally as the Wildcats dropped an 8-7 decision to the Big Red.
After two scoreless innings, NU (5-13) got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the third. Chris Kontos started the inning with a double, moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a groundout by Trevor Stevens.
Cornell (3-1) knotted the score in the top of the fourth, but Morton was able to prevent any further damage. With one run already in and the bases loaded with no one out, Morton got a strikeout and then a double-play ball to keep the scored knotted 1-1. However, the Big Red would surge ahead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Mike Lopez.
Northwestern used the longball of its own to surge in front in its half of the fifth. Kontos tied the game by socking his team-leading third homer before Arby Fields socked a two-run shot of his own to put the Wildcats in front 5-3.
NU added to its advantage with a two-out rally in the sixth. With two down and no one on, Geoff Rowan singled and Stevens was hit by a pitch before Fields came through with an RBI double to give the 'Cats a three-run cushion.
Cornell got one run back against reliever Paul Snieder in the seventh before putting together a decisive two-out rally in the eighth. NU retired the first two batters in the eighth, but the third out proved to be elusive. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases before a wild pitch made it a one-run game. Another walk reloaded the bases before Lopez gave the Big Red the lead with a two-run single. Brian Billigen's run-scoring hit gave Cornell an 8-6 advantage.
The Wildcats got one run back in the bottom of the eighth as Fields brought home his fourth run of the game with a double, but he was left stranded. Morton singled with one out in the ninth, but David Rochefort got a double-play grounder to end the game.
Northwestern held a 16-11 advantage in the hit column behind three apiece by Fields and Morton. Kontos, Snieder and Chris Lashmet each collected two hits.
Morton took a no-decision despite fanning a career-high 10 batters in just six innings of work. He surrendered five hits, three runs and three walks.
NU returns to action at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday as it takes on Dartmouth.