April 26, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
Northwestern played toe-to-toe with No. 23 Ohio State all weekend and finally got a win to show for its efforts. The Wildcats scored four times in the sixth inning and twice more in the seventh to help them pull away from the Big Ten-leading Buckeyes on their way to a 10-6 victory at Bill Davis Stadium.
Chad Noble led NU at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three runs driven in. Trevor Stevens also collected three hits and scored three times.
Northwestern (12-26, 3-10 Big Ten) jumped on the scoreboard first in the top of the first inning in both previous games in the series and did so again on Sunday. Stevens started the rally with a one-out single and he was on second base with two down when Noble chased him home with a single to right. Kenneth Avila followed with a ringing double of the base of the wall in center field to give the Wildcats the early 2-0 advantage.
NU continued to get after Ohio State starting pitcher Eric Best in the third as Stevens earned his third multi-hit game of the series with a single to left. After advancing to second on a groundout by Tony Vercelli, Stevens raced around to score on Noble's second RBI hit of the day.
The Buckeyes got on the board in the bottom of the third inning against Zach Morton and ended up chasing him from the game in the process. OSU had runners at the corners with no one out when Morton got Zach Hurley to ground into a 3-6-1 twin-killing with a run scoring on the play. Morton, who threw five innings in Wednesday's victory at Illinois State, was relieved by Matt Diedrich after Ohio State had the next three batters reach. Diedrich entered the game with a 2-0 count against Justin Miller, but got him to fly out to center to allow the Wildcats to maintain a two-run cushion.
Ohio State would again leave the bases loaded in the fourth when Matt Havey got Cory Kovanda on a flyout to center as well.
The Buckeyes closed to within a run in the bottom of the fifth when Michael Stephens stole third and scored on an ensuing throwing error. Ohio State nearly tied the game when Dan Burkhart raced home when Havey's pitch got away from Noble, but the Wildcat catcher was able to retrieve the ball and flip it to a covering Havey in time to nab Burkhart at the plate.
NU extended its lead in the top of the sixth, scoring four times to surge ahead 7-2. Tommy Finn and Vercelli each had two-run doubles in the outburst.
A two-out rally helped Ohio State get two of the runs back in the bottom half of the frame. Three straight singles plated one run and when the Wildcats had Kovanda hung up between second and third, the throw over to third hit him in the helmet and went into the stands allowing him to score as well.
However, Northwestern answered back yet again in the next half-inning. Avila walked and Kontos singled before Paul Snieder moved them both into scoring position with a sac bunt. Avila would score on a wild pitch before Kontos came home on Brant Cavagnaro's fielder's choice to make it 9-4. NU got one final run in the eighth when Stevens singled, stole second and scored on Noble's third run-scoring hit of the afternoon.
Ohio State would push across a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn't enough.
David Jensen (2-2) was credited with the win for the Wildcats after allowing two runs (one earned) over three innings of relief.
Northwestern returns to action at 3 p.m. Tuesday as it hosts North Central College at Rocky Miller Park.