March 25, 2012
Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Duane Banks Field)
Score: Iowa 3, Northwestern 1
Records: NU (8-14, 1-2 Big Ten), Iowa (9-11, 2-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, March 30 -- vs. Nebraska (Rocky Miller Park), 3 p.m.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Zach Morton pitched well enough to win, but four Northwestern errors led to three unearned runs by Iowa as the Wildcats dropped the series finale 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
Morton struck out eight batters but it wasn't enough as the Hawkeyes won the series in a third-consecutive pitchers' dual.
Morton ran into trouble in the first inning as a double and a bunt single gave the Hawkeyes runners at the corners with no one out. A comebacker to the mound resulted in the first out and two men in scoring position. An intentional walk to Phil Keppler loaded the bases, but Morton got a strikeout of Chett Zeise and a grounder back to the mound to work his way out of the jam.
Northwestern opposed a lefty starter for the third consecutive day in Sasha Kuebel. The freshman retired the Wildcats in order in each of the first two innings before Walker Moses became NU's first baserunner with a leadoff single in the third.
The 'Cats got on the board first in the top of the fourth inning as Morton led off the frame by reaching on a two-base error by the Iowa right fielder. He moved to third on a flyout by Paul Snieder before the Hawkeyes intentionally walked Jack Havey. Nick Linne got the job done, though, perfectly executing a squeeze bunt to plate Morton.
Two NU errors in the bottom half of the frame led to Iowa picking up a pair of unearned runs as the hosts took a 2-1 lead. A leadoff single, a stolen base and a fielding error gave the Hawkeyes runners at first and third with no one out. A successful stolen base resulted in a throwing error allowing Keppler to score from third. A two-out single up the middle by Keith Brand put Iowa in front.
Kuebel was able to silence the Northwestern bats after his teammates gave him the lead, as he set down the Wildcats in order in the fifth and sixth innings while allowing just one infield single through the first six frames.
Linne broke a stretch of nine in a row retired with a one-out single in the seventh. He would move to second on a bunt, but NU was unable to bring him home.
Northwestern's third error of the game in the bottom of the seventh led to a big insurance run for the Hawkeyes. Following a one-out walk by Mike McQuillan, a failed pickoff throw advanced him all the way to third before Jacob Yacinich scored him on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Nick Brown a perfect eighth before the 'Cats mounted a rally in the ninth. Snieder singled with one away before pinch hitter Jack Livingston and Geoff Rowan drew back-to-back two-out walks to load the bases. However, Brown got Walker Moses to ground out to end the game.
Kuebel picked up the win to improve to 2-0. He allowed two hits and one run (none earned) while walking one and striking out one.
Northwestern returns to action at 3 p.m. Friday as it opens its home season by getting a three-game series underway with Nebraska.
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