April 8, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern matched a season high in scoring as it pounded out a dozen runs to roar past Valparaiso Tuesday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park, 12-5. The Wildcats notched 16 hits and allowed only two earned runs in the nonconference victory over the Crusaders.
Luke Dauch paced the offense Tuesday as the junior tied a career high with four hits, while Matt Hopfner matched his own career highs with three hits and three RBI in the triumph. The freshman was also one of seven pitchers that Northwestern utilized to hold down the Crusaders.
Valparaiso actually scored first on an unearned run in the top of the first inning, but the Wildcats roared back to take the lead for good in the bottom half. Dauch ripped the first pitch he saw into center field and he advanced to third on a well-executed hit-and-run with Hopfner at the plate. Dauch scored NU's first run of the ballgame when cleanup man Scott Heelan poked a single through the right side. Later, Hopfner came home when Jake Schieber reached safely on an error by Valpo's shortstop, Jeff Edwards.
The Crusaders were unable to score in the top of the second, thanks in large part to the defensive effort of left fielder Joe Hoscheit. With the bases loaded and one out, Valpo's Spencer Mahoney flied out to Hoscheit in left and the freshman cut made a strong throw to cut down Andrew Bynum who was trying to score after tagging up at third base. Bynum went down on the play with an apparent injury, but Hoscheit's throw had him beat by plenty.
The offense went right back to work for NU in the bottom of the second. Nick Linne walked with one out before Dauch recorded his second hit, a single through the right side. Zach Jones singled up the middle ahead of Hopfner, who proceeded to drive in the first two men with his second base hit of the ballgame.
Chicago's Big Ten Team struck for three more runs in the third inning with Dauch responsible for two-thirds of that production. Second baseman Antonio Freschet plated the first run (Schieber) with a single to left field before Dauch sent home a pair with a two-bagger to right field. Later, in the bottom of the fourth, center fielder chieber clubbed a double of his own to left-center field that scored both Heelan and Hoscheit and gave the Wildcats a 9-1 lead.
Northwestern's final three runs of the game came an inning later in the bottom of the fifth. Linne doubled to the opposite field in right to turn it over to the top of the lineup and Dauch pushed a bunt into no-man's land on the right side for his fourth hit in as many at-bats. Mike Trucco walked to load the bases and then Hopfner drove in his game-high third run with a single into left. Also in the inning, Cody Libman hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Dauch and earn his first RBI of the season before Trucco scored on a RBI groundout off Hoscheit's bat.
The Wildcats used seven different pitchers Tuesday. Dan Tyson started and threw two innings, earning his second victory of the season. Ethan Bramschreiber tossed two scoreless innings of relief, while Jake Stolley, Nick Friar and Hopfner each went one scoreless on the day. In the top of the seventh, Jack Livingston surrendered a pair of unearned runs to allow Valpo to score for the first time since the opening inning, but the big right-hander also struck out two Crusaders on the day. Senior Jack Quigley closed out the ballgame on the mound for the 'Cats.
Tuesday marked the 13th time this season that the Wildcats posted 10-or-more hits. It was the third time that the offense posted double-digit runs and the first time since scoring 12 against Mississippi Valley State on Feb. 22.
Big Ten play resumes on Friday afternoon when Northwestern welcomes the Iowa Hawkeyes to Rocky Miller Park to begin a three-game series. The first pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!