April 14, 2010
Site: Loves Park, Ill. (Road Ranger Stadium)
Score: Northwestern 6, Northern Illinois 3
Records: NU (10-21, 3-3 Big Ten), Northern Illinois (11-20, 4-5 MAC)
Next NU Event: Friday, April 16 - vs. Minnesota (Rocky Miller Park), 3 p.m.
LOVES PARK, Ill. -
Zach Morton and Chris Lashmet both homered and Northwestern got one run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to post a 6-3 win over Northern Illinois Wednesday evening at Road Ranger Stadium. Lashmet's homer to lead off the top of the eighth broke a 3-3 tie.
The Wildcats entered the game not having hit a home run in their previous 12 games, but that isn't of concern to head coach Paul Stevens.
"I like the way that our guys have been swinging the bat," Stevens said. "They've been hitting the ball gap to gap. I'm pleased with their approach at the plate. If they continue taking that solid approach, then the home runs will come."
Northwestern wasted little time in jumping in front against NIU starter Brian Smith. Arby Fields singled on the first pitch of the game and Zach Morton took the second pitch he saw off the scoreboard in left-center for his first collegiate home run to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage.
Freshman Luke Farrell made his first collegiate start on the mound for the Wildcats and worked around a leadoff walk to hold the Huskies scoreless in the bottom of the first. Northern Illinois loaded the bases with no one out in the second, but Farrell was able to limit the damage to one run by getting a double-play grounder and a strikeout.
Consecutive singles to start the third inning followed by a fielder's choice by Jordin Hood helped the Huskies tie the game at 2-2.
Northwestern reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth and again it was Fields who started the rally. The freshman doubled down the left field line, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Morton and then scored on a single by Chad Noble.
relieved Farrell on the mound to start the bottom of the fourth and put up back-to-back zeros, but Joe Etcheverry was able to take a full-count offering to start the bottom of the sixth over the wall in center field to knot things at 3-3.
NIU got a leadoff double from pinch hitter Jamison Wells to start the bottom of the seventh, but Havey did a good job of stranding him at third to keep the game tied.
The Wildcats collected at least one hit in each of the first seven innings, but had just three runs to show for it. Lashmet finally allowed NU to regain the lead in the eighth as he started the frame by taking new pitcher Tom Zelasko deep for his second homer of the season.
Fields led off an inning for the fifth time in the game to start the ninth and drew a walk off Andy Deain. Morton followed with a double to the wall in left-center which brought Fields all the way around to score. Following a sacrifice bunt by Hamilton Wise, Paul Snieder made it a 6-3 game with a single up the middle.
Matt Gailey relieved Havey to start the bottom of the eighth and worked a perfect frame before Snieder set NIU down in order in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.
Northwestern finished with a 14-7 edge in the hit column. Fields, Chris Kontos, Morton, Snieder and Stevens collected two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
Havey earned his first collegiate win, allowing one run and four hits while striking out three over four innings of work.
"That's two strong outings in a row that Havey has put together," Stevens said. "He's really starting to come into his own. He had command of three pitches tonight."
Northwestern returns to action 3 p.m. Friday as it opens a three-game Big Ten series against Minnesota at Rocky Miller Park.