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    Wildcats Blank Wheaton in Season's First Shutout, 6-0

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Kyle Ruchim drove in three runs with an RBI triple Tuesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Kyle Ruchim drove in three runs with an RBI triple Tuesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    April 16, 2013

     vs. Minnesota
     Box Score  NU 6, Wheaton 0
     Records  NU 15-13, Wheaton 8-18
     Next NU Event
     vs. Western Michigan (Evanston, Ill.), April 17, 3:00 p.m.

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Behind a stellar performance from a young hurler on the mound and a prolific four-run fourth inning, the Northwestern Wildcats claimed their first shutout of the season Tuesday, a 6-0 victory over the Wheaton Thunder at Rocky Miller Park.

    Freshman left-handed pitcher Matt Portland was sensational on the bump in his fourth collegiate start. The Victor, N.Y., native struck out a career-high eight in seven innings of work and at one point retired 15 consecutive Thunder hitters between the second and seventh innings. Portland did not allow a run as he scattered three hits to earn his second career victory.

    Watch Game Highlights

    Portland was faced with a runner on a second base in the top of first inning after a single and a stolen base, but the southpaw recovered quickly to punch out both Phil Tuttle and Justin Swider to end the minor threat.

    The Wildcats (15-13) offense pushed across what proved to be the winning run in their half of the first. Designated hitter Kyle Ruchim singled to left field and advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Wheaton's Peter Moran. The junior scored when first baseman Jack Havey took a ball the opposite way to right field to pick up an RBI single.

    After issuing a base-on-balls with one out in the second, Portland began his tremendous tear through the Thunder lineup. Michael Kauffman grounded into a double play and from that point the Wildcats starter did not allow another base runner until Swider picked up an infield single with two outs in the seventh inning.

    Northwestern's offense began to pile on in the home half of the fourth inning as Moran failed to consistently find the strike zone. Walks by Zach Jones and Jake Straub sandwiched around a double by Colby Everett set the stage for the second run of the afternoon when Walker Moses notched a sacrifice fly to center. After Trevor Stevens walked to load the bases yet again, Ruchim cleared them with a triple over the head of the Wheaton center-fielder. The 'Cats led 5-0 after four innings.

    NU added its final run of the ballgame on an RBI single from Everett in the bottom of the fifth. Havey walked to lead off the frame and scored from second base on the third baseman's second hit of the day.

    Portland was lifted after seven innings of shutout baseball in favor of another newcomer, right-hander Evan Schreiber. Schreiber made his collegiate debut for Northwestern by striking out the first batter he faced to set the tone for a pair of scoreless stanzas in relief.

    No rest for the Wildcats as Northwestern will the Western Michigan Broncos on Wednesday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park. The first pitch is slated, once again, for 3 p.m.

    Tickets are on sale now for NU's game at Wrigley Field on Saturday, April 20. The 'Cats will take on Michigan this weekend 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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