April 21, 2012
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: Northwestern 6, Michigan 5 (11 inn.)
Records: NU (12-22, 4-9 Big Ten), Michigan (16-23, 3-7 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Game 2 of doubleheader - 30 minutes following completion of first game
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Colby Everett delivered a pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 11th inning and Northwestern got two more runs in the frame as the Wildcats held on to outlast Michigan 6-5 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Wilpon Complex.
Michigan had five baserunners through the first three innings against NU starter Francis Brooke, but the right-hander was able to keep the Wolverines off the scoreboard. Senior catcher Geoff Rowan played a large role in holding the hosts at bay. Patrick Biondi, who came into the game leading the Big Ten with 24 stolen bases, was aboard to lead off both the first and third innings, but Rowan easily gunned him down attempting to steal second on each occasion.
Meanwhile, Brandon Sinnery faced the minimum the first time through the Northwestern lineup before the Wildcats got things going in the fourth. Singles by Zach Morton and Kyle Ruchim and a walk to Jack Havey loaded the bases with one out. Sinnery got a strikeout for the second out before Rowan hit a routine grounder to short that was booted by Dylan Delaney, giving NU a 1-0 lead. The 'Cats got another break when Nick Linne was able to reach on a third-strike wild pitch, allowing Havey to scoot home from third to give Northwestern a two-run advantage.
Brooke worked around two more Michigan singles in the fourth before the Wildcats added to their lead in the top of the fifth. Morton doubled off the left-field wall with one out, giving NU a runner in scoring position. Paul Snieder followed with a drive to deep right-center that was flagged down by right fielder Zach Zott, but the flyball was hit far enough to allow Morton to race all the way around to score from second for a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Michigan got back in the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it a one-run game. Coley Crank led off by hitting a two-strike mistake from Brooke out of the ballpark for his eighth home run of the season to get the Wolverines on the board. Northwestern's third error of the game put Brett Winger on first with no one out and he eventually came around to score on a single by Matt Lorenz. With runners on first and second and two away, NU brought on Luke Farrell
in relief and he walked Kevin Krantz on four pitches to load the bases. However, Biondi swung at the first offering he saw and flew out to left field as the Wildcats maintained their 3-2 edge.
After Farrell worked a perfect bottom of the seventh, yet another miscue in the field nearly cost Northwestern in the eighth. A throwing error put the Michigan leadoff man aboard and a sacrifice bunt moved Delaney to second with one out. Farrell got a strikeout and a groundout to short, though, to allow the 'Cats to stay in front.
Farrell retired the first two men in the bottom of the ninth before allowing consecutive walks to John DiLaura and Crank to put the tying and winning runs on base. Brett Winger worked the count full before dinking a bloop single barely over the head of Snieder at first base to plate pinch runner Adam Robinson to tie the game. Farrell would get a flyout to the wall in left to send the game to extra innings.
After a scoreless 10th, Northwestern pulled in front in the 11th. Ruchim got on base when he was hit by a Matt Ogden offering with one out before he stole second, giving the Wildcats a runner in scoring position. Everett then came off the bench and delivered NU's first hit since the sixth inning, a single to right that plated Ruchim, thanks in part to a nifty slide at the plate. A walk to Rowan put two men on and a double steal by pinch runner Jack Quigley and Rowan resulted in a throwing error by catcher Cole Martin that made it a two-run game. NU got one more when Nick Linne brought home Rowan from third with a squeeze bunt as the Wildcats went up 6-3.
Ruchim came on to pitch following a leadoff walk in the bottom of the 11th and Michigan made things interesting, plating two runs and getting the winning run to the plate, but the Wildcats were able to hold on for their second-straight 11-inning win.
The second game of the twinbill was set to being 30 minutes following the completion of the first game (approximately 3:50 p.m. Central time).
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