April 17, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Joe Muraski allowed just four hits over seven strong innings of work as the Northwestern baseball team ran its winning streak to three with a 4-3 victory over Iowa Friday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park.
The Wildcats (10-23, 2-7 Big Ten) got a run off Hawkeye starter Nick Brown right away in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. Trevor Stevens was aboard with one out when he stole second and advanced to third on an infield single by Chris Lashmet. The hit extended the sophomore third baseman's hitting streak to 10 straight games. Tony Vercelli followed with a sacrifice fly to give NU the 1-0 advantage.
After Muraski faced the minimum through the first three frames, Iowa managed to push across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 2-1. Ryan Durant singled home a run before Wes Freie added a sac fly.
But the 'Cats answered right back in their half of the fourth to reclaim the lead. Paul Snieder started the inning with a double to put the leadoff man aboard. Kenneth Avila singled to right with one away, but Snieder was called out at the plate on a bang-bang play. However, Quentin Williams doubled to the fence in left to bring home Avila and fellow freshman Hamilton Wise followed with a run-scoring double of his own down the right field line.
Iowa (11-22, 2-8) got back to even in the seventh as Sean Flanagan drove in his first run of the season with a home run to make it 3-3.
Once again, Northwestern had the answer, though, and it was Wise who got things started with his second double of the game. A hit batter and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one away as the Hawkeyes tried to set up a double play. But Vercelli would pick up his second RBI of the game on a fielder's choice for the decisive run of the contest.
David Jensen came on for Muraski in the eighth and retired the first two batters before allowing a single and a walk. The Wildcats then turned to Cole Livermore, who got Freie to line out sharply to third to end the threat.
Livermore stayed on for the ninth and worked a 1-2-3 frame to pick up his second save in as many contests.
Muraski improved to 3-4 with the win, surrendering just four hits and three runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out five. Avila and Wise paced NU at the plate with two hits apiece.
Northwestern and Iowa resume their series at 1 p.m. Saturday.