April 19, 2014
LINCOLN, Neb. -- One day after winning a one-run game in extra innings, Northwestern returned to Hawks Field and bested the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the second game in a row, this time by a score of 3-2, to start a doubleheader.
NU starting pitcher Brandon Magallones pitched perhaps his finest game of the season for the Wildcats in game one. The junior struck out a season-high seven hitters over 8.0 IP in which he allowed just two runs.
Northwestern looked to carry its momentum over from Friday night's extra-inning win in the top of the first inning. Luke Dauch doubled to right field to start the game and Zach Jones followed by drawing a base on balls. Nebraska starter Chance Sinclair settled down, however, and set down the next three Wildcats in order, getting the last two down on strikes, to end the frame.
Sinclair retired eight Wildcats in a row until Jones snapped the streak with a single through the middle of the diamond with two outs in the top of third. Northwestern was unable to keep the rally going though and the inning ended shortly thereafter.
Magallones faced the minimum through the first two innings, with three strikeouts, before running into a jam in the bottom of the third. The first two hitters singled to center field to give Nebraska runners at the corners with nobody out. The junior avoided giving up a run though because he got Taylor Fish to pop out to Cody Stevens at shortstop and Ryan Boldt to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Nebraska finally got the first run of the ballgame in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jake Placzek walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch from Magallones. Nebraska's third baseman moved up to third on a ground out to the right side and eventually scored on a base hit from Pat Kelly. The 'Cats were able to turn their third double play in as many innings, this one started by Jones with help from Stevens and Magallones, to end the inning and limit the home team to one run.
The Wildcats took advantage of their own leadoff walk in the top of the sixth inning. After being down in the count 0-2, Jones took four straight pitches to draw his second walk of the afternoon. Two batters later, NU's designated hitter Jack Livingston's double to the gap in left-center field allowed Jones to come all the way around from first base and tie the game, 1-1. It was the team-high ninth two-bagger of the season for the senior and the 15th RBI.
Northwestern wasn't done yet though. With runners on first and second with two outs, one of Friday night's heroes, Jake Straub, delivered in the clutch once again with a single to left field that allowed Matt Hopfner to score and give the visitors their first lead of the ballgame.
After Magallones breezed through the Huskers in the sixth and the Wildcats came up empty in the top of the seventh, Nebraska put the pressure on once again in the home half of the inning. Austin Darby doubled to lead off the inning before Christian Cox reached on a bunt single to put men at the corners with nobody out. Center fielder Jake Schieber made a diving attempt to snare the screamer off Darby's bat, but he fell just short of making the catch.
A walk loaded the bases, but then Magallones turned in another fine defensive play to help his own cause. The right-hander snagged a low line drive from Blake Headley and fired to Nick Linne at third base to double off Darby. The next batter, Taylor Fish, was able to tie the game, however, with a single to right field that brought Cox around to score. After seven innings, Northwestern and Nebraska were tied, 2-2.
Sinclair was lifted to start the eighth inning and Chicago's Big Ten Team went to work against reliever Bob Greco. Hopfner walked to start the inning and alertly moved from first to third when Joe Hoscheit dropped a bunt down the third base line and the Huskers failed to cover the bag. Straub delivered once again by reaching on a fielder's choice that allowed Hopfner to score the go-ahead run. Northwestern was unable to add on as it stranded runners at first and second when Schieber flew out to the left field corner to end the surge.
Magallones had runners on first and second base with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but the Manhattan, Ill., native reached back and reeled off back-to-back strikeouts to send the Huskers back to the dugout without a run.
One day after notching the win by pitching 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, senior Jack Quigley found himself back in the center of the diamond to try and nail down his third save of the season. After issuing a lead-off walk on four pitches to Steven Reveles, the team captain got the final three outs to help his team win its fourth straight game.
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