March 31, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Rocky Miller Park)
Score: Northwestern 8, Nebraska 4
Records: NU (9-15, 2-3 Big Ten Big Ten), Nebraska (19-10, 3-2 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, April 1 -- vs. Nebraska (Rocky Miller Park), 1 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Freshman right-hander Brandon Magallones struck out a career-high 10 batters and improved to 5-0 on the season as Northwestern took advantage of six Nebraska errors in posting an 8-4 victory Saturday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park.
Nick Linne led the Wildcats offensively with three hits, while Jack Livingston and Kyle Ruchim drove in two runs apiece.
Magallones, the reigning Big Ten Co-Pitcher and Co-Freshman of the Week, picked up right where he left off in last Saturday's win at Iowa that saw him hurl seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts.
Facing a Nebraska offense that came into the game with a .328 team batting average and ranked in the top five nationally with an average of 8.3 runs scored per game, Magallones was unfazed. He retired the first eight batters he faced, including five via strikeout.
The Huskers' struggles in the field started in the bottom of the third inning as the Wildcats surged in front. With Walker Moses at first and one out, a throwing error on third baseman Kurt Farmer gave NU runners at the corners. A squeeze bunt by Kyle Ruchim plated Moses from third to get Northwestern on the board. Another error by Farmer put runners on the corners before starting pitcher Jon Keller lost his command. Three consecutive walks, including two with the bases loaded, plated two more runs to put Northwestern up 3-0.
Nebraska got its first hit with one out in the fourth on a comebacker that eluded Magallones, but the right-hander got a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Two more Husker errors in the fourth led to three more Northwestern runs as the hosts stretched their lead to 6-0. Moses started things again with a one-out walk and an error put runners at first and third. Ruchim drove in his second run with a groundout before Zach Morton singled to right to make it 5-0. Keller then issued his fifth base-on-balls of the day to bring his afternoon to an end. Brandon Pierce came on in relief and got Jack Havey to ground to short, but Chad Christensen's second error of the inning allowed Morton to score from second.
Despite having to sit in the dugout for an extended period of time, the delay didn't phase Magallones as he pitched a perfect top of the fifth inning. Nebraska would get on the board in the sixth as Rich Sanguinetti hit an RBI single to make it 6-1.
The Wildcats got the run right back, plus another, in the sixth to extend their lead to seven. Again, an error opened the door for NU as Morton reached on Christensen's third miscue of the day. Morton was still at first with two outs when Havey was hit by a pitch and Jack Livingston followed with an RBI single up the middle. Geoff Rowan would add a run-scoring hit of his own in the frame.
The run support was plenty for Magallones, who was brilliant. He sat down Nebraska in order in both the seventh and eighth innings. His strikeout of Blake Headley to start the eighth was his 10th of the day, surpassing his previous career high of nine established in each of his previous two starts.
Magallones, who had surrendered just one run and three hits through the first eight frames, was allowed to go back out for the ninth but was lifted after surrendering a double and hit batsman. Ruchim came on to replace Magallones on the mound and Nebraska rallied to get three runs, but it wasn't enough as Northwestern held on to even the weekend series.
The teams conclude their weekend series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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