April 28, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Rocky Miller Park)
Score: Illinois 5, Northwestern 4
Records: NU (14-25, 5-12 Big Ten), Illinois (24-18, 7-7 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, April 29 -- vs. Illinois (Rocky Miller Park), 1 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning but came up a run short in the end as the Wildcats dropped a 5-4 decision to Illinois Saturday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park.
Facing a 5-0 deficit after six and a half innings, NU mounted a late charge. Freshman John Kravetz had blanked the 'Cats through the first six frames but the hosts finally got to him in the seventh. After a leadoff single by Nick Linne, Walker Moses doubled to left, giving Northwestern two in scoring position. An RBI single by Hamilton Wise got NU on the board. Two more run-scoring hits by Zach Morton and Paul Snieder made it five straight hits for the Wildcats, pulled them within two runs and chased Kravetz from the game.
Ronnie Muck came on in relief with the tying runs on base and got a strikeout for the first out before Kyle Ruchim singled to load the bases. Colby Everett followed with a sacrifice fly to right that plated Morton to make it a one-run game. A wild pitch advanced Ruchim to second, giving the 'Cats the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, but Muck got a groundout to end the inning.
Muck was able to retire Northwestern in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to preserve his third save of the season.
Illinois got to NU starter Brandon Magallones right away in the top of the first as it scored two runs, one on a wild pitch and another on a two-out RBI double by Jordan Parr.
The Illini added to their lead in the second as Kelly Norris-Jones doubled with one out and scored on a single by Reid Roper to make it 3-0.
Magallones settled in after the rocky start, tossing three consecutive scoreless innings. After Northwestern left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Illinois added a pair of decisive insurance runs in the sixth. Back-to-back hits to start the inning preceded Norris-Jones delivering a two-run single up the middle, making it a five-run game.
Northwestern finally cashed in during the seventh inning, but the charge came up just short.
Magallones (6-3) took the loss, despite retiring the final eight batters he faced in a complete-game effort. He allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out five. Kravetz worked six innings to get the win, improving him to 7-3.
NU finished with a 12-7 advantage in the hit column, paced by a 3-for-4 performance by Morton who also drew a walk. Snieder, Moses and Wise contributed two hits apiece.
The teams are slated to wrap up their series beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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