April 22, 2012
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: Michigan 5, Northwestern 4
Records: NU (13-23, 5-10 Big Ten), Michigan (17-24, 4-8 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Tuesday, April 24 - vs. Chicago State (Rocky Miller Park), 3 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Kyle Ruchim hit a pair of home runs and Jack Havey had one of his own, but Michigan got a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Northwestern 5-4 Sunday afternoon in the series finale between the teams at Wilpon Complex.
Michigan got its leadoff man on board in the ninth for the seventh time in the contest when Dylan Delaney was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a sac bunt and then came in to score the game-winning run on a single to center by John DiLaura to allow the Wolverines to salvage one win on the weekend.
After Zach Morton stranded a runner at second base in the bottom of the first, the Wildcats got on the board in the top of the second as Ruchim launched the first offering he saw from Trent Szkutnik deep over the high wall in left field.
Jack Havey followed Ruchim's lead in the next inning as he blasted a two-out, no-doubter that stayed just inside the fair pole to increase the Northwestern advantage to 2-0. Ruchim nearly followed with his second of the game, but Patrick Biondi made a running grab up against the 395-foot marker in straight-away center to end the inning.
Michigan batted around in the bottom of the third, though, scoring four times to take the lead. Following back-to-back singles to start the inning, John DiLaura hit a comebacker to Morton who threw to second for the first out. Ruchim's relay throw to first attempting to turn two hit Biondi sliding into second and went into shallow right field allowing a run to score. A three-run homer by Brett Winger put the hosts up 4-2.
Northwestern struggled against Szkutnik after getting the two early home runs. The freshman right-hander racked up eight strikeouts through the first six innings, including getting a pair with Ruchim and second and one out in the sixth.
Michigan was able to collect nine hits off of Morton through six frames, but the senior was able to induce three double plays to keep the Wildcats within striking distance.
NU crept back within one in the top of the seventh. A leadoff single by Nick Linne preceded Jake Straub being hit by a pitch to put two on with none out. Szkutnik was then relieved on the mound by James Bourque and Hamilton Wise advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Morton plated Linne from third with a groundout to make it 4-3 and Snieder followed with a linedrive to center, but Biondi was able to nab it before it hit the ground to keep the Wolverines in front by a run.
Snieder worked a scoreless bottom of the seventh on the mound before the Wildcats got back to even in the eighth. With one away, Ruchim deposited his second round-tripper of the contest over the wall in left, his third homer of the season. It was the second multi-homer game of Ruchim's career, matching the two he hit against Purdue April 23, 2011.
Northwestern came within about a foot of taking the lead in the top of the ninth. With one on and one out, Snieder ripped a blast to the deepest part of the park and Biondi made a leaping grab while hitting the wall for the second out. The Wildcats would leave a pair stranded in the inning before the Wolverines got the winning tally in the bottom half.
Ruchim, who took the loss, and Havey had two hits apiece for the Wildcats. Kevin Vangheluwe worked 1/3 of an inning to pick up the win.
Northwestern opens a busy stretch of five home games in six days Tuesday when it takes on Chicago State at Rocky Miller Park. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
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