May 1, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Rocky Miller Park)
Score: Illinois 9, Northwestern 4
Records: NU (14-25, 6-9 Big Ten), Illinois (17-22, 8-7 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, April 6 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 2:05 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern fell into an early hole and couldn't recover for the second straight day, dropping its series finale to Illinois 9-4 Sunday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park.
The Illini scored in the first inning for the third consecutive day, as Adam Davis grounded into a double play with Pete Cappetta scoring on the play to give the visitors the early advantage.
After a pair of singles to open the top of the second, NU starter Dan Tyson was lifted in favor of Ethan Bramschreiber. An infield single by Willie Argo plated one run before Cappetta hit a three-run homer to make it 5-0.
Northwestern got six baserunners in the first three innings, including getting three hits in the second, but twin-killings cost the Wildcats scoring chances against Corey Kimes in each of the frames.
Illinois was able to extend its lead in the fourth, getting a two-run double from Josh Parr and a sacrifice fly from Justin Parr.
Injuries have decimated the Wildcats' pitching staff, but NU welcomed back Francis Brooke to the hill on Sunday. Despite being sidelined since April 3, Brooke hurled two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Kyle Ruchim continued his stellar work on the mound, tossing the final three innings, allowing just one run while striking out five.
The Illini scored one final run in the seventh before Northwestern's offense finally got things going in the bottom half. A leadoff double by Chris Kontos was followed by an RBI triple by Nick Linne to get the 'Cats on the board. Linne continued his hot streak at the plate by reaching safely in all four plate appearances on Sunday, collecting two hits and two walks. NU plated a second run when Colby Everett plated Linne from third on a grounder to third that resulted in an error.
The Wildcats should have gone down in order against reliever Will Strack in the eighth, but a two-out error kept the inning alive. A single by Kontos and a walk to Linne loaded the bases for pinch hitter Jack Livingston
who also drew a walk to make it 9-3. Chris Pack then replaced Strack on the hill and was able to retire Jake Straub
to strand the bases loaded.
Illinois closer Wes Braun came on to pitch the ninth inning having not allowed an earned run in 13 appearances this season, but Northwestern broke through against him, getting an RBI triple from Chris Lashmet that plated Trevor Stevens. However, it wasn't enough.
Kontos, Linne and Ruchim collected two hits apiece for the Wildcats. Cappetta had four hits to pace Illinois.
Please note that Northwestern's originally scheduled game for Tuesday against Trinity International has been canceled. The Wildcats return to action at 2:05 p.m. Central time Friday when they open a three-game series at Indiana.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!