April 1, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Rocky Miller Park)
Score: Northwestern 6, Nebraska 1
Records: NU (10-15, 3-3 Big Ten), Nebraska (19-11, 3-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, April 6 -- vs. Purdue (Rocky Miller Park), 3 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Right-hander Zach Morton silenced Nebraska's potent offense, tossing a complete-game six-hitter as Northwestern earned a series victory by virtue of its 6-1 win Sunday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park.
The complete game was the second of the season for Morton who finally earned his first win despite having pitched well all year long. The Huskers came into the game with a .325 team batting average and ranked in the top five nationally with an average of over eight runs per game. However, Morton kept the visitors off balance all day long.
The redshirt junior retired Nebraska in order the first time through the lineup with his teammates getting him a second-inning run along the way. Geoff Rowan
was at first with two outs when Colby Everett
started his big day by doubling to the gap in right-center. The relay throw to the plate was in time, but catcher Richard Stock couldn't hold on to the ball as Rowan scored to put the 'Cats in front.
Nebraska evened the score in the top of the fourth without the benefit of a hit. A leadoff walk cost Morton as Michael Pritchard eventually scored on a groundout by Chad Christensen.
The Wildcats answered right back against Zach Hirsch, though, as Paul Snieder drew a leadoff walk and Jack Havey followed by launching a two-run homer to left-center to put NU up 3-1. It was the fourth round-tripper of the season for the Northwestern junior.
The Huskers finally got their first hit off Morton with two outs in the fifth inning. An error put runners on the corners, but Morton struck out Bryan Peters to end the threat.
Northwestern added three big insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stretch its advantage to five. Back-to-back singles by Hamilton Wise and Kyle Ruchim preceeded Morton being hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. Snieder delivered an RBI single to center that plated one, through Ruchim was thrown out at the plate for the first out. A wild pitch advanced two into scoring position and Dylan Vogt intentionally walked Havey to re-load the bases. Nick Linne then delivered a huge two-run single to center to make it a 6-1 game.
That was more than enough support for Morton who was on his game. He worked around two singles and the eighth and a leadoff double in the ninth to secure the series win for the Wildcats.
Morton pitched to contact as he finished with just three strikeouts, two of which came in the first inning. Everett paced Northwestern at the plate, going a perfect 4-for-4. Havey and Linne drove in two runs apiece, while Snieder scored twice. The Wildcats doubled up Nebraska in the hit column, 12-6.
NU returns to action at 3 p.m. Friday as it hosts nationally ranked Purdue at Rocky Miller Park in the first game of a three-game series.
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