March 30, 2012
WATCH: Game Highlights on Wildcats All Access!
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Rocky Miller Park)
Score: Nebraska 7, Northwestern 4
Records: NU (8-15, 1-3 Big Ten), Nebraska (19-9, 3-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, March 31, 2012 -- vs. Nebraska (Rocky Miller Park), 1 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern pounded out 15 hits but came up short in its home-opener Friday afternoon, falling 7-4 to Nebraska at Rocky Miller Park.
Jack Havey, Kyle Ruchim and Paul Snieder collected three hits apiece, but the Wildcats stranded 10 men on base in falling to the newest Big Ten member.
After a scoreless first inning, the Huskers raced out to a 2-0 lead in the second as a single, an RBI triple by Richard Stock, an error and a double plated a pair and gave the visitors two men in scoring position with no one out. However, Wildcat starter Francis Brooke got a strikeout, a foulout and an grounder to prevent any further damage.
Northwestern posted three hits in the first two frames against Tom Lemke but couldn't cash in before sending eight men to the plate in the third inning to take the lead. Hamilton Wise battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a leadoff walk before singles by Ruchim and Zach Morton loaded the bases. Snieder followed with an RBI single to plate one before Havey plated two with NU's fourth-straight hit to put the 'Cats in front 3-2.
Nebraska reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth. Pat Kelly led off the inning with his fourth home run of the year. A hit batter, a bunt single and a walk gave the Huskers the bases loaded with no one away. Brooke nearly pulled another Houdini act as he got a a strikeout and a forceout to get one out away from escaping the jam, but Stock recorded an infield single to plate a run to make it 4-3 in the guests' favor.
Northwestern knocked around Lemke to the tune of 11 hits in six innings pitched, but they were unable to tally off him outside of the three-run third. The Huskers added an insurance run in the top of the sixth with a two-out rally as Michael Pritchard recorded an RBI double.
The Wildcats mounted a two-out rally of their own in the seventh against reliever Tyler King as Nick Linne and Geoff Rowan doubled with two away to get NU within 5-4. Nebraska added to its lead against reliever Luke Farrell in the eighth, though, scoring twice on an RBI single by Kelly and a sacrifice fly by Kale Kiser.
Northwestern mounted one final threat against closer Travis Huber in the ninth. Ruchim opened the inning with a single and a one-out hit by Snieder gave the 'Cats runners at the corners, but the hosts were unable to score as Nebraska took the opener of the three-game set.
Brooke (1-2) took the loss despite recording seven strikeouts. He worked six innings, allowing five runs, eight hits and two walks. Lemke (3-2) got the win as he was able to limit the damage despite allowing the 11 hits.
The teams continue their weekend series with a 1 p.m. contest Saturday.
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