April 3, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Eric Jokisch kept his team in the game long enough for his offense to come to life Saturday afternoon. The junior southpaw hurled eight strong innings and Northwestern scored four runs in the decisive sixth inning as it defeated Ohio State 8-2 at Rocky Miller Park.
After scoring four runs in the first inning on Friday, Ohio State (15-8, 1-1 Big Ten) struck first in the opening frame again in the second game of the series. Michael Stephens capped three consecutive singles by driving in Cory Rupert from second base and Brian DeLucia later plated a second run with a sacrifice fly.
Northwestern (7-19, 1-1) had an opportunity for a big inning in the bottom of the third as Drew Rucinski struggled with his control. Chris Kontos started the frame with a single down the right field line and consecutive one-out walks to Arby Fields and Trevor Stevens loaded the bases. Paul Snieder laced a single to right to plate one run, but the Wildcats were unable to get any more.
NU had another great chance to tie the score in the fourth as singles by Zach Morton and Kontos put runners on the corners with one away, but Rucinski got a double-play ball to end the threat.
The Wildcats stranded two more base runners in the fifth before finally breaking through for four runs in the sixth to take a three-run lead. Singles by Morton and Kontos gave Northwestern runners at the corners with one away before an error on a ball hit by Geoff Rowan tied the game and marked the end of Rucinski's day.
Eric Best entered in relief for the Buckeyes, but surrendered consecutive run-scoring hits to Fields, Stevens and Snieder to put NU in front 5-2. Only a sharply hit lineout by Chad Noble
that resulted in a double play prevented the Wildcats from further building upon their advantage.
Northwestern tacked on an insurance run in the seventh with a two-out rally. Following Colby Everett's single, Kontos doubled to deep left field off the glove of Zach Hurley for his fourth hit of the day.
Meanwhile, Jokisch settled into a groove after giving up the two runs in the first. From the second through the seventh inning, the he scattered only three hits and two walks while holding the Big Ten's leading hitting team scoreless.
However, Ohio State was able to get the tying run to the plate in the top of the eighth. With two away, Jokisch got Matt Streng to chase the first pitch and foul out to catcher Chad Noble to end the threat.
NU tacked on two final runs in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a two-out error by the Buckeyes. Chris Lashmet and Zach Morton had RBI singles in the frame as the Wildcats pushed their advantage to six.
Jokisch hurled eight strong innings to pick up his second victory of the season. He allowed two runs and scattered eight hits while walking four and striking out two.
Kontos collected a career-high four hits in the contest, while Snieder and Morton added three apiece as NU out-hit the Buckeyes 14-8.
The teams wrap up their three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.