April 16, 2014
CHICAGO -- Northwestern broke out its brooms on Wednesday as it opened a five-game road trip by capturing both games of a doubleheader at Chicago State, 6-1 and 4-2.
After dropping the opener by five runs, the Cougars struck first with an unearned in the bottom of the first inning in the nightcap. Jared Patterson drew a lead-off walk for Chicago State and the second baseman eventually scored from second base with two outs when Jordan Stroschein hit an infield single and the errant throw extended the inning.
Northwestern pressured Chicago State into surrendering two runs in the top of the second to give the visitors their first lead of the day. Matt Hopfner singled to right field to lead off the inning and Reid Hunter doubled down the right field line to give the Wildcats two runners in scoring position with one out. Cody Stevens skied a ball behind the bag at second base, but CSU shortstop Julian Russell was unable to catch it cleanly, allowing both Hopfner and Hunter to score and give Northwestern a 2-1 lead.
Chicago State was able to equalize the ledger in the bottom of the fourth. Stroschein walked and scored three batters later when pinch hitter Sanford Hunt grounded out to Hunter at second base. NU starting pitcher Dan Tyson limited the Cougars, though, by notching his second strikeout of the night to strand a pair in scoring position.
The 'Cats clawed their way back into the lead in the top of the fifth. Stevens drew a lead-off walk from CSU's Dane Mehrig and he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Linne. The speedy Stevens scored when Walker Moses laced a single into to center field, giving NU a 3-2 lead. The Purple and White weren't done yet, though. Moses, who took second on the throw to the plate, was able to score when Scott Heelan clubbed a double to the gap in left center field. Heelan's fifth two-bagger of the season gave Northwestern a 4-2 lead after four and a half innings.
After beginning the game in right field, Hopfner relieved Tyson on the bump to open the fifth inning. The newcomer threw a career-high two innings of relief and he kept the Cougars largely off the bases. The first batter Hopfner faced reached on an error, but he retired the next six in order over the next two frames.
Hopfner slid back into right field in the bottom of the seventh, making way for sophomore Reed Mason. Mason issued a lead-off walk, but he got a big strikeout and a double play ball that Stevens fielded off the bag at second and fired on to Zach Jones to end the ballgame. Mason earned his first career save as he nailed down the two-run victory for the Wildcats.
Tyson picked up his third win of the season in the nightcap. Heelan led the squad with two hits in the victory.
For a complete recap of Northwestern's victory in game one, click here.
NU will resume Big Ten play on Friday evening when it invades Hawks Field at Haymarket Park for the first in a three-game set against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The series opener will begin at 7 p.m. and it will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. Kevin Kugler will handle play-by-play duties and Danan Hughes will provide color analysis.
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