April 3, 2013
| vs. UIC
| Final Score
|| NU 3, UIC 1
|| NU 12-9 (2-4 Big Ten), UIC 13-13 (3-3 Horizon)
| Next NU Event
|| at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.), April 5, 6:00 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- One day after pounding out 14 runs on 18 hits for a victory at Rocky Miller Park, the Northwestern Wildcats used a strellar pitching performance and the ability to manufacture runs to knock off the visiting UIC Flames, 3-1, Wednesday.
Northwestern (12-9) freshman Reed Mason got the nod for his first collegiate start against the Flames (13-13) and he did not disappoint. The left-hander tossed seven shutout innings, while scattering just five hits. Mason struck out a career-best five hitters and walked only one as he notched his first victory.
The Wildcats began to set their offensive wheels in motion in the bottom of the third against UIC's Mike McKinley. Reid Hunter walked with one away and advanced to second on a groundout one batter later. With two outs in the frame, Kyle Ruchim continued to wield a hot bat as he singled to center field to allow Hunter to score the game's first run. Ruchim, who advanced to second on the throw to the plate on his own base hit, made it to third on a single by Zach Morton to left field. Ruchim then scored Northwestern's second run of the afternoon when Scott Heelan went the other way to right field for a base hit.
The Flames looked to have something brewing in the top of the fourth when catcher Jacob McNamara doubled for his team's first hit of the day to lead off the inning. McNamara advanced to third on a single by the next hitter, but Mason got a fly ball to Ruchim at second, a strikeout and a ground ball to Ruchim to end the threat without a run.
Luke Dauch ignited the offense with one down in the bottom of the fourth. After lacing a single to center, Dauch stole second and then third base. With Hunter at the plate, McKinley uncorked a wild pitch to allow NU's speedy centerfielder to score easily from 90 feet away and give his team a 3-0 lead.
Mason's defense did a tremendous job backing him all afternoon. With two on and just one out in the sixth inning, the 'Cats turned a textbook 5-4-3 double play to end the frame. One inning later, it was a 4-6-3 double play with no outs that helped the Solana Beach, Calif., native escape unharmed.
UIC finally dented the scoreboard in the top of the eighth inning. Jack Livingston came out of the bullpen to erase the lead-off hitter before Ryan Shober reached on a bang-bang bunt single. Shober was awarded second base on a balk and he scored on a base hit up the middle by Tyler Detmer. Livingston then caught McNamara looking and got an unconventional 1-4-3 groundout to end the eighth.
Northwestern head coach Paul Stevens turned to Ruchim in the ninth inning to seal the victory. The hard-throwing right-hander picked up a pair of strikeouts, including one by Joe Betcher looking to end the ballgame, as he earned his second save of the season.
The Wildcats will hit the road for a three-game series at Purdue beginning Friday, April 5. The first pitch in Friday's contest at brand-new Alexander Field is set for 6 p.m. CT. All three games in the series will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network.
Tickets are on sale now for NU's game at Wrigley Field on Saturday, April 20. The 'Cats will take on Michigan at the Friendly Confines with the first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. To purchase tickets, call 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or click here!
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